Grad school is a deeply enriching experience. It can also be a period of increased financial strain. Below are four suggestions, from a former grad student, on how to finance your advanced studies.
CREATIVE WORK ARRANGEMENTS
Some students quit their jobs to pursue graduate studies, but there is another possibility: creative work arrangements. Many jobs are amenable to flexible scheduling, telecommuting, or job shares. You may find your employer open to your suggestion of doing part-time work, and of hiring another part-time employee to take over half of your responsibilities. For some, this is a great way to make money concurrently with a full course load.
Grad students have already earned a degree, which means they are a valuable resource for undergrads. Tutoring isn’t always consistent work, but it’s a great opportunity to make additional cash while helping others. Many graduate students can teach both professional and academic topics, and depending on the nature of the work, you can set your own hourly fee.
Most graduate programs are about one thing: writing, writing, writing. Even if you are not in a humanities program, you will likely find yourself writing more than you ever had before. This is excellent experience, and it will hone your compositional skills. Depending on your time and interests, you may be able to earn money through freelance writing. Though most popular magazines aren’t interested in your seminar papers, you may be able to write articles that translate your research for the public. Not only will this help you earn money, but it will help bridge the divide between academia and â€œthe real world.â€
FELLOWSHIPS & SCHOLARSHIPS
It’s not generally a good idea to fund your own graduate studies. Though this may be inevitable in some fields, such as medicine, it’s wise for incoming students to pursue fellowship and scholarship opportunities. With a fellowship, you’ll receive stipend and tuition benefits in exchange for working as a teaching or research assistant. Scholarships can also be used to support internships and practicum work. For example, some law students gain the opportunity to participate in the California Innocence Project, where they accrue invaluable experience by working with teams to help release wrongfully convicted inmates.
Grad school is wonderful, and it will enhance your career. If you earn money during your studies, you will avoid unneeded financial stress. Trust me on this one: with some creativity, it’s possible to earn an advanced degree debt-free.