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Graduate school funding - any tips for students with gap years caused by covid-19/family responsibilities?

I wish to go to graduate school, hopefully finishing my PhD one day, returning to universities to teach students and research further into what intrigues me. However, financially, I am not capable of funding my studies while supporting my family as well. Do you have any advice for those who are looking to get into graduate school after gap years, and how to fund graduate schools if accepted?
Thank you.

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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Jeongmim, that's a great question. I have come in contact with a lot of students who have had to request additional financial aid due to covid. They started with their student advisor. Your advisor may be receiving information from a financial lender you may not be getting, you could also check into scholarships. Because of covid most schools will work with you just get your paperwork started don't wait until you run out of money. Best of luck
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Rebecca’s Answer

Hi Jeongmin - I agree with what Pete said , finding work in a company that offers tuition assistance in order to get some or all of your education funding is a brilliant idea. I would also add that you might want to focus on looking for work in a company that allows you to continue researching what intrigues you, that way you will be getting experience in your field while getting your education.
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Peter’s Answer

Hello Jeongmin,

I can fully relate with the challenge of funding for education.

I am finding several companies contribute and/or fund the education for their employees. If you are unable to obtain a scholarship/grant, this may be something to consider.

Best of luck!

Pete
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Lisa’s Answer

Hi Jeongmim,

Kudos to you for considering the great undertaking of a PhD degree.

Concerning time gaps or COVID, most colleges expect that students may have opted to take a break or forgo working to gain some experience in their field of interest before pursuing a doctorate degree.

However, it’s never too late to look for volunteer opportunities, a job, internships or externships to build your candidacy for the application if needed.

Overall, depending on how competitive or selective the PhD program is, you may need to prepare employment, taKe courses, GRE/ GMAT, recommendation letters to support your application if needed.

Also, depending on your degree, major or field, such as STEM or Creative Writing, for example, there are many PhD programs that are fully or partially funded for a year or every year of your study. Some of these schools may only accept a limited number of students each year, but it’s not impossible to prepare yourself well to be competitive and apply. Also, many of these programs offer scholarships or assistantships to help students reduce costs.

Tip: one of the best things you can do is create a list of schools that you’re interested in pursuing. Then, sign up for a virtual orientation and ask these questions about a break in your learning/ work experience and possible funding. Each school may have a different response but you’ll hear it directly from them before you expend your energies and resources in applying to that school.

Sign up for these virtual orientations are usually accessible online (the school’s website) and open to anyone.

I hope this helps and all the best!
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