What is a fellowship? When it comes to fellowships, the term is related to various short term work or professional opportunities that students get in college or university. The program can last from a couple of months to several years and may be provided by certain organizations that are there to help undergrads to:
- Do in-depth research on a given topic
- Complete their college programs
- Get real-world experience in a particular area of study
- Initiate a new community outreach program
As a rule, fellowships are provided to college students that are in the process of pursuing under- or postgraduate degree programs in various academic institutions. If you’re majoring in a nonprofit field of study, like education, arts, education, or public policy, you may receive fellowships right after you complete your program as well.
The awards are generally known as prestigious scholarships that are typically provided to talented students with solid academic skills as a form of appreciation of their efforts. It is important to note that most fellowships require nominations from the college’s fellowship office or faculty members.
Although the fellowship programs aren’t easy to get, they include many benefits:
- Professional development. Enjoy loads of professional development opportunities offered to graduate students. For instance, you may learn grant writing, public speaking, as well as polish up your leadership skills.
- Monetary benefits. Fellowship programs also include financial support. The majority of college and university students get $10,000- $25,000 for a program that lasts 9-12 months.
- Practical skills. If you’d like to get ready for a real job, the fellowship program will include unique project work and responsibilities that will help you develop the set of skills that you’ll need in the future.
- Tax options. As a citizen of the US or a permanent resident, you aren’t required to pay taxes on your fellowship income.
- Research in your field of study. If you seek to keep on conducting research in the chosen field of study, the scholarship will not only boost your financial situation, but it will also make your research more credible in the specific area.
What is more, the award will also inspire other foundations and organizations to provide you with financial support as well.
- Personal benefits. Together with financial assistance, you get a unique chance to introduce significant changes to your education. The funds that you receive from a scholarship enable you to become more selective when it comes to your free time. You have an opportunity to boost your academic experience through volunteering, service learning, and internships.
If you don’t get a chance to get a huge award, and you still need to get a part-time job while attending college, ensure to use your time wisely. Rather than choosing a job with a minimum salary, make sure to give your preference to the position that is meaningful and enables you to get a much more valuable degree.
- Boost your confidence. If you are lucky to win a prestigious scholarship, you will eventually take your personal confidence to the next level. This in turn will encourage you to take up leadership positions at trusted institutions or companies.
- Keep you away from debt. The reality is that the majority of college and university students graduate with massive debts. The mere thought of paying your debt makes you cold. At the same time, that is one of the reasons why so many students can’t pursue careers that aren’t associated with high salaries at entry-level.
Then again, a scholarship provides you with free funds, as well as gives you an opportunity to chase your professional dreams. As a result, all the financial barriers are successfully removed from your academic and career path.
- You do some network. This is one of the lesser-known privileges that are associated with getting a fellowship. When you’re provided with a scholarship, you also get a unique chance to network with other people who are in your shoes. And you’re likely to be engaged in the same area of study.
Taken together, all this can serve as a great source of networking options that you will benefit from after graduation. For example, if you get a business administration fellowship, you will get an opportunity to keep in touch with seniors and sophomores who were rewarded as well.
When it’s time for job searching in the current job market, you will already have loads of contacts in your area. This, in turn, will provide you with a clear advantage over the rest of the candidates.
Networking will also work well for your research opportunities while granting you some close-knit friendships in your field.
The reality is that the application process for a prestigious fellowship is a complex process. In a competitive culture, it is difficult to battle for your place in the sun, especially due to the fact that most organizations and foundations deal with dozens of applications. For that reason, it is crucial that you focus on your grades and exert every effort to take the top positions in your class to increase your chances of getting a scholarship.
It is also worth noting that scholarships alone do not guarantee absolute success in college. Prestigious awards often do not cover 100% cost of fees and tuition, even if you can accrue various types of private and public aid. Depending on your educational background and financial situation, you may need more types of support in order to succeed academically.
When it comes to the other types of support, they may manifest themselves in various programs that are aimed at supporting college and university undergrads from underserved schools or first-generation students with a range of benefits. The latter include special tutoring services, childcare provision, or smaller class sizes for certain courses that typically have hundreds of undergrads in a section.
In general, fellowships play a major role in making higher education more affordable and accessible for young people. Scholarships make it easier when it comes to becoming successful in both your pursuit and completion of your degree.
When a student has an opportunity to earn an academic degree successfully, and s/he don’t have to postpone the process due to certain burdens, both the undergrad and the society are benefited.
When undergrads and graduate students are free to focus both their means and energy on their academic journey instead of figuring out how to pay off their loans or re-enrolling in college after dropping out due to financial issues, we have a more efficient, happier, more motivated, and healthier working society.