Are those big scholarship books of any use to prospective grad students?
March 24, 2011 6:12 PM   Subscribe

Are those big scholarship books of any use to prospective grad students?

I got my Bachelor's degree a few years ago, have thought about grad school off-and-on. I have considered buying a scholarship directory (like The Ultimate Scholarship Book or Kaplan Scholarships), but am not sure if they would be of use to a post-grad like myself. I'd be willing to give this a try instead of aimless internet searching. I don't have a specific program targeted.
posted by lankford to Education (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A good graduate program will pay for their students (both tuition and wages), making scholarships unnecessary; however, faculty paying for students out of grants do appreciate it when their students get scholarships because then they can spend that money on someone else. As for those books, I can't tell you specifically how useful they will be.

Basically, it won't hurt and it won't help.
posted by yeolcoatl at 6:25 PM on March 24, 2011

A lot of sources of funding for graduate programs are going to be targeted to people in a specific field. Thus I would look at the relevant disciplinary associations. For example the American Mathematical Society puts out a book entitled "Assistantships and Graduate Fellowships in the Mathematical Sciences". This book wouldn't be exactly what you're looking for in that context -- it is actually a list of graduate programs in mathematics, combined with information on how well they fund their students. But still starting with the disciplinary association might be a good idea.

(In particular, it matters what subject you're in! So tell us. If you're on the border between two subjects, tell us both of them. If there are more than two subjects you're thinking of, maybe it's not time for grad school yet.)
posted by madcaptenor at 6:27 PM on March 24, 2011

yeolcoatl says:

A good graduate program will pay for their students (both tuition and wages)

This is true of a good PhD program. Is it true of a good Master's program as well?
posted by madcaptenor at 6:28 PM on March 24, 2011

madcaptenor: I'm sure this works differently for other programs, but I know in Philosophy it holds for the MA.
posted by SollosQ at 8:00 PM on March 24, 2011

madcaptenor: This is true of a good PhD program. Is it true of a good Master's program as well?

Yes, at least for research-based Master's programs in North America.
posted by mostly-sp3 at 8:05 PM on March 24, 2011 the sciences, I should say.
posted by mostly-sp3 at 8:07 PM on March 24, 2011

They do have some stuff for grad students. You really just need to see the book once, to copy the few relevant bits. I browsed through one of those big books in the library.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 9:27 PM on March 24, 2011

"External" fellowships and grants (that is, external to the school you're attending, as opposed to "internal" funding that comes from the school) will vary by field. For example there are different sources if you're in international relations from what there would be for poetry, etc.

You can find the books at the library, too, if you want to check it out to see if there are sources for your proposed field or for any other groups you may belong to (racial, religious, place-of-origin, etc).
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:27 PM on March 24, 2011

Can't hurt... but how much do they cost? I've never heard of them; the equivalent information should be available online.

Do you have a list of prospective schools you want to apply to? The grad secretaries at those schools should have a massive list of scholarships which would be applicable to students in those departments. Even if the grad secs aren't organized, they have Outlook and the search function, right? All of those annoying "scholarships and grants available" mass emails could be found easily.

Email the grad secs, say you want to apply to their school and their department, and ask if they could forward you all of the scholarship notices that they've sent out to their students in the past year.

I bet you there's a whole bunch of stuff that's available at your potential school (which might not be at another) which the "books" have zero idea about. Whether or not you're eligible for them is another matter.
posted by porpoise at 9:42 PM on March 24, 2011

I'm in a fully-funded PhD program, but I still applied for external fellowships. When doing so, I found a free guide published by Caltech's fellowships & study abroad office to be very useful. It listed many reputable sources of money for various post-grad educational options.
posted by Metasyntactic at 10:59 PM on March 24, 2011

I almost launched into a rant about whether or not you should go to grad school, but I didn't.

You shouldn't pay for those books. You can get most of what you want- which will be basically a list of websites- in an hour of browsing at your local library. I know the academic library I work at has a half-dozen of them in the reference section that we replace every year or so. It is also exactly the type of thing your local public library will have as well.

You might also check out your school's career center, if you are nearby- they often have lots of such books, as well as curated lists that they have put together of scholarships/fellowships that alums have received.

Others have noted that once you have a better idea of what type of program you are interested in, you will have a better idea. Farther down the road, asking a potential mentor for ideas of fellowships to apply for is completely kosher.
posted by rockindata at 11:49 PM on March 24, 2011

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