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My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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10 Tips on how to find scholarships and funding

10 Tips on how to find scholarships and funding

One of the main problems that troubles both students and scholars in the academy, is how to find scholarships and funding to their studies or research projects. This is not a simple problem since it seems that there are many possible scholarships and grants to apply to, however, time is limited and in these days the competition is great. Even if you have the best research proposal, without funding, you may find yourself in great difficulties when trying to devote yourself to your studies. Finding funding for your academic work can be a major project in itself and you must be patient and systematic during this process. In this post I will suggest a few tips that might help you find scholarships, grants and other types of funding in a systematic, fast and efficient way.

1. Prepare in advance

It takes time to find all the potential scholarships, grants and fellowships that might fund your studies. Preparing in advance will help you not miss the deadlines. If you miss a deadline, you will probably have to wait a whole year before being able to apply.

            Another reason why preparing in advance is important, is because you might be dependant on other people for completing your application form or getting them to write for you recommendation letters. People in the academy tend to be very busy or they simply might be on vacation when you need them. Approaching them in advance will help you avoid begging them to help you, putting them in an inconvenient situation where they are being rushed, or simply missing the possibility that they will cooperate merely because the cannot adjust themselves to your irresponsible time table. 

2. Find web pages that have lists of relevant scholarships

The first place to find scholarship is on the web pages of the university that you plan to attend. These days I am desperately looking for funding sources for a Post-Doctorate in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Here is the web page that contains a list of scholarships. The Hebrew University has a scholarship database where you can look for funding according to your degree and research field. Other Universities have similar sites and databases. I have collected here some scholarship links for Post-Doctorate students (you can find here also pages that list many scholarships and grants). 

3. Contact people who deal with scholarships on a regular basis

One of the best sources for finding grants and scholarships is to ask your (potential) supervisor or other professors that have taught you in the past, two questions: (1) What scholarships and grants do you know of (make sure you write down their answers!). (2) Where can I find people who might know about such funding sources?

            Each university usually has a body that is in charge of research and development (here is the website of The Authority of Research and Development in the Hebrew University and here is a link to Humanity scholarships there). Learn the website of the equivalent body in your university and do not forget to call people that work there and ask for more information about scholarships (and other people that might help).

            It would be wise to approach people who already went through this process (experienced students or scholars who are 1-5 years head of your stage in the academy).

            Another good thing to do is to use the internet in order to find the information. It is obvious that you could use search engines. If you have a blog, write a post that will tell the world what you plan to do and that you need funding. Use social sites such as Facebook and Twitter that can further spread your message. I can tell from personal experience that I have found a potential funding via Facebook.

4. Make a list of potential funding sources

It is important to by systematic in your search for funding. Open and excel file or google doc spreadsheet and make a list of all scholarships, grants, fellowships and other funding sources. Make a column that will say what is the deadline and other columns that will say if you have filled all the forms, attached all the documents that were requested, and approached that people that will send you recommendation letters.         

5. What is the deadline?

This is a very important question. Preparing in advance (see tip no. 1) is useful for noting the deadlines of scholarships in your diary. I recommend that you will use Google Calendar or any other machine that will give you a reminder when to start preparing the material for the scholarship. Such preparation takes its time and spreading the work is the most reasonable thing you would like to do in order to make life easier. 

6. Read about the body that grants the scholarship and understand their aims

Before filling the forms and approaching people for recommendation letters, it is highly recommended that you will spend time to learn the website of the body that grants the scholarship. Understanding their aims is important for adjusting your form and your CV. There is nothing wrong in doing so. Some grants want to know what kind of voluntary social work you have done during your life. You might not be interested in emphasizing this to other funding sources, yet it would be very wise to do so if you know that this is one of the goals of the people that decide if you will be granted the funding.

7. Make sure you filled in all the forms as requested

Take time to read the form before starting to fill it. After filling all the requested information, go through the form again and make sure that nothing is missing. Missing information is one of the main reasons why applications are turned down.

8. Make sure you added all the requested documents

For the same reason it is important to make sure that you have attached to your application all the documents that were requested. Such documents might include a list of grades from previous degrees that you did and your diplomas.

9. Write as clearly as possible

A scholarship candidate is often requested to write an introduction letter, a research proposal or an abstract of it. Make sure that you write as clearly as possible. Keep in mind that such documents might be read by various people. Some of them are from your field and some are not. The content of such documents should be directed to the type of audience that will read them. If you will write in a highly sophisticated manner, using terms that are known only to people from your field, while the readers of your application are people who know nothing about such academic words – you will loose your audience, and the scholarship. One the other hand, if your readers are from your field, make sure that you prove that you are part field by emphasizing the main problems and issues that might interest all of you.

10. Do not close the door before others do it for you

If you think that a scholarship might not be for you, do not automatically desert it. I recommend calling the people who are in change of the scholarship and make sure that you are really not eligible for approaching it. I can tell from my own experience that I found a potential scholarship after calling the organization that grants the scholarship and finding, to my surprise, that also I can send an application.

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