blog postsFinding Funding Opportunities: Insights from a Current PhD StudentMar 20, 2019 6:30 pm661 views Funding is one of the biggest factors in determining what kind of financial decisions you make as a graduate student. Taking on federal student loans, using your employment to fund your degree, using your savings, getting help from family members, etc. We all want to make decisions that will benefit us most - and while the above are all good options depending on your individual situation, nothing beats “free money” like fellowships, assistantships, grants and scholarships. As a former fourth time Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Fellowship recipient, current Illinois Distinguished Fellow, and Graduate Assistant, I have searched and applied for many funding opportunities during my college career. It is a long but worthy process. Below are six tips on how to find and secure funding.Grad School 101 – Funding Graduate SchoolFeb 20, 2019 6:30 pm683 views Graduate school is one of the most important investments in your future you can make, To ensure that you invest wisely, it's essential thatyou identify your main expenses, as well as develop a funding plan and a budget. Think of this as planting the seeds for a successful financial future in graduate school. It’s important to start thinking about these financial questions early and to seek out University resources that can help answer your questions. Meet Our Fellows: Nubras Samayeen, American Association of University WomenJul 20, 2018 1:45 pm579 views When she finishes her degree at Illinois, Nubras Samayeen may be the first woman in Bangladesh to hold a PhD in Landscape Architecture. This is the realization of a goal she's had since she was a child and is, in no small part, something she's doing for her own two young daughters and for other Bangladeshi women who, like her, have unconventional dreams. Here’s her story.Letters of Reference for Fellowship ApplicationsSep 14, 2017 11:45 am1356 views “Applications must include three letters of reference…” If you’re applying for graduate research fellowships and grants, you will likely find something along these lines in the application instructions. These letters are absolutely critical to the success of your application, yet you have no control over them — or do you? There is no “one-size-fits-all” set of guidelines on this topic. Letters of reference are by their very nature highly personal. Ways of building relationships will also vary according to discipline, the nature of the research, and the applicant’s career goal. That’s why it’s essential to get advice from your advisor and talk with other students in your program about their own successful strategies. However, there are a few overarching points to consider.Meet Our Fellows: Ford Fellows on CampusJul 26, 2017 10:00 am1734 views To increase diversity in higher education, the Ford Foundation offers predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships. The goal is three-fold – increasing university’s ethnic and racial diversity, maximizing the educational benefits of diversity, and increasing the number of professors who use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. We talked to three University of Illinois graduate students from across campus who received a Ford Fellowship to learn more about the program.Get an Early Start on this Year's Fellowship ApplicationsJul 11, 2017 11:30 am865 views Are you thinking of applying for an external fellowship or grant this fall? If so, summer is a great time to strengthen your application’s foundation. There are many things you can do over the summer to give yourself an all-important competitive edge. The Art of Proposal Writing: Proposal as RoadmapJun 22, 2017 4:00 pm1948 views In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the proposal as a genre — the story of your journey into uncharted intellectual territory, driven by a vision of your contribution to your discipline and beyond. Your reviewers are excited! They want to help you complete your journey! But, they want some details. The proposal is the roadmap you provide. There is no right or wrong way to structure a proposal. There may be disciplinary norms or funder guidelines, which is why it is essential to look at successful proposals in your discipline and read the program solicitation carefully. Regardless of the structure, there are some commonalities in proposals across all disciplines and funders. Here are some tips for putting together a good roadmap for the reviewers...Sloan UCEM at Illinois Helps Underrepresented Students Pursue Advanced Degrees and Career PathsMay 31, 2017 11:30 am246 views “Illinois is committed to the goal of achieving diversity and excellence,” says Dr. Ellen Wang Althaus, director of Sloan University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM). The Sloan UCEM at Illinois is one of the eight centers in the country funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. With a one-million-dollar, three-year grant, the Illinois UCEM was created to broaden participation and provide support for underrepresented minority graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. It provides activities designed to support students toward doctorate completion, such as professional development opportunities, mentoring, research opportunities, workshops, and seminars. The Art of Proposal Writing: Proposal as GenreMay 15, 2017 3:30 pm1621 views Mystery and suspense, a hero going on a quest…why am I talking about this in a blog post about proposal writing? Because when you write about your research, you’re writing a story of ideas that explores uncharted intellectual territory. As you’ve developed your skills and knowledge of the field, you’ve identified a gap in what we know and a means by which you believe you can fill it. That’s what makes proposal writing a special genre.Applying for Fellowships: Telling the "Story of You"Mar 29, 2017 4:30 pm1339 views When applying for fellowships, you may be asked to provide a personal statement, professional goals statement, or something similar. A personal statement gives you an opportunity to elaborate on and offer context for information contained in other documents, such as a résumé, CV, research statement, or letters of reference. It gives you a chance to write the story of you: experiences that have motivated you, people who have inspired you, ideas you’ve pursued, and choices you’ve made. I’ll offer some strategies for approaching these kinds of statements, but first are some suggestions for what to avoid.Grad School 101: How to Find Fellowships That Are Right for YouSep 6, 2016 2:15 pm4608 views Let’s talk funding. Maybe you've heard someone say, “There’s a lot of money out there, you just have to look for it,” and thought to yourself, "Great, but where do I look?" Don't worry - we've got you. Our brand new Fellowship Finder database is now live. It showcases over 1,100 fellowship and grant opportunities that help students fund their graduate studies, and it features a new search process, with lots of options to make your search quicker and more precise. Fellowship Finder specializes in awards offered by external funders: government agencies, private foundations, corporations, and other entities outside of the university. We also include a handful of campus opportunities such as those offered by the Graduate College. Best of all, Fellowship Finder is a curated database, meaning that real people (we here in the Office of External Fellowships) make sure that the listings we include are truly useful to graduate students. How does the database work? Let’s take a look.