Grad school  |  June 20, 2022  |  Cody Sain

4 Tips on How to Find Graduate School Scholarships

What you'll learn
  • Some undergrad scholarships can be used for grad school
  • Clubs and organizations often offer grad scholarships
  • Ask around for grad school scholarship opportunities

I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. However, thinking about paying for that education didn’t cross my mind until I got accepted to my first medical school. Then reality set in, and I had to figure out how to pay for it all. I needed to start with finding graduate scholarships. The easy part was finding scholarships for graduate school; the challenging part was finding the ones that I was eligible for.

Here are my tips for how to find graduate school scholarships

1. Use undergrad scholarship money if you can

When I first started thinking about how to pay for graduate school, I got lucky—one of my undergraduate scholarships could be used for graduate school within ten years. However, it wouldn’t cover the whole bill and I knew there had to be more opportunities out there. The next step in paying for graduate school was searching for graduate school scholarships.

2. Find graduate scholarships you’re eligible for

My search for finding scholarships for graduate school wasn’t as easy as it had been four years earlier when I was applying for college. Back then, I could find several scholarships within minutes that all seemed to be applicable to me, but the search for scholarships for grad school (and professional school on top of that) was more difficult.

Graduate school scholarships do exist, but how to find them was difficult. Many are limited to students already in graduate school or they’re state- or region- specific. Still, I continued to spend my extra time trying to find graduate school scholarships that fit me.

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3. Take chances and apply to many graduate scholarships

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 could 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 graduate school 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’d 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.

Pro tip:
Take advantage of professional organizations in your field—they might come in handy when you’re wondering how to find graduate school scholarships.


Remember the graduate scholarship motto

In all, finding graduate 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!

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