By Stephanie Small
Published February 24, 2012
Graduate fellowships are a great way to finance part – or all – of your graduate school education. While you’re obligated to pay back loans, plus interest, fellowships offer an opportunity to work in your academic field for pay. Some fellowships even offer financial assistance with no work obligations, only academic ones. An institutional fellowship is awarded by the school itself, while a portable fellowship is issued by the government or an independent organization, and can be applied to any institution.
“I had a Diversity Fellowship for three years,” White explained. “During my first year, I got to enjoy my graduate school experience with all expenses paid, including health and dental insurance. Second year, my fellowship still covered my tuition, and I was given a teaching associate position in the College Writing program. Third year was similar to the second, but I taught Creative Writing in the English department.”
White felt strongly that her fellowship was an entirely beneficial experience. “There were no disadvantages I can speak of. I had dental and health insurance as a result of my graduate school fellowship. I got valued college-teaching experience, and I had the support of my department to help with troubleshooting, coming up with syllabi, and guidance in classroom management,” she said.
White was one of the lucky students who didn’t have to go through a detailed application process. “There was not a fellowship application process per se; the fellowship was awarded to me. I applied to the graduate school program in creative writing, which required an essay, GRE scores, college transcripts and a writing sample,” she said.
What advice would you offer to students seeking fellowships?