As if completing my undergraduate degree, working on group research, conducting independent research and staying on top of my GPA was not enough; I recently learned that preparing for graduate school entails more, much, much more! The much more to which I am referring is fellowship applications. I stumbled upon this concept while researching graduate school opportunities, and decided I should probably understand more about what a fellowship grant is, what it might mean for me, and how to approach applying for them.
According to the IRS, a fellowship is a grant or a scholarship that is usually tax-free, and is given to a student for the purposes of research. It can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and research equipment. Additionally, grant monies can also be used for room and board, and travel (for purposes of research and schooling), (irs.gov, 2014).
Yay, free money for research and graduate school, right? Not so much, there is more to it than meets the eye. The process of applying for and obtaining fellowship grants for graduate school is lengthy and detailed. However, the effort is well worth it since in doing so you will learn valuable skills for writing grants, scholarship applications and more. Additionally, if you write the application well, you will have research funds that will not only benefit your research, but help to make you a stronger candidate for graduate schools.
Most Universities offering graduate degrees in Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, and similar fields are more than happy to support graduate students through stipends, teaching assistantships, and other opportunities. This is because much of your time while in graduate studies will be spent researching, teaching, and working at the University. Depending upon your schools of choice, obtaining a fellowship grant, could be the difference of whether or not you are accepted.
As I begin the process of working through my first few fellowship applications, I will update and share my new found knowledge, point out pit falls others might fall into, and share the mistakes I may make in the process.