3. Take chances
During my search, I received an email from a financial aid officer encouraging students to apply for a new graduate school scholarship from Sallie Mae.
As soon as I received the email, I quickly combed through the eligibility for the scholarship, expecting to be excluded, but I discovered that I was free to apply! Although I figured I had little chance of receiving the scholarship because of its few awardees, I worked on my submission materials for a few weeks, had my sister review my essay, completed any edits, and hit submit.
I’d soon learn I was one of the scholarship winners, but I didn’t know that yet. At the time, I just felt relieved and accomplished because I had finally found a scholarship that could help me pay for medical school. Then I reoriented myself and continued the search for more!
4. Join clubs and organizations
After discovering there were few national scholarships available to me, I began to search in new areas. Luckily, a national organization that I was a member of offered an annual scholarship, so I saw that as another opportunity to help pay for graduate school.
In retrospect, I wish I had joined more national organizations. I was put-off by some because of their high membership fees, but many offer scholarship opportunities that could have been useful.
Take advantage of professional organizations in your field—they might come in handy during your own scholarship search and beyond.
Remember the scholarship motto
In all, searching for scholarships isn’t always easy, and for students wanting to pursue graduate school, the search might be even more strenuous. However, there are corporations that offer national graduate school scholarships, and there are scholarship search tools for graduate students that can help you along the way.
When searching and applying for scholarships, I always treat it like a part-time job because it could literally pay off. Never be afraid to do the extra work that some scholarships take, because with great commitment comes great reward. Speaking from experience, you can’t win them all—but if you don’t apply, you definitely won’t get them.
The scholarship motto is to search often, apply as applicable, and reapply if necessary!