Want Funds for Your Education? Flex Your Grad School Skills and Apply for a Scholarship

iStudent Blog

Published: March 2, 2016

The trees are blooming early and pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training. What season is it? You guessed it! It’s scholarship season at the iSchool. That is what you were thinking, wasn’t it?

Like most, many (all?) of you, I’d like some help paying for my graduate school experience at the iSchool. Scholarships are a great way to examine all that you’ve learned so far at the School of Information and provide an excellent opportunity to connect with people and organizations to demonstrate how awesome you really are. Get started now, because the process is not unlike an iSchool course project and you’ll want to get it right if you want the money. The deadline for most of the scholarships listed here is March 31, 2016. To help you get started, I’ve highlighted a few steps here.

Preparing for the Scholarship Application
The application for iSchool scholarships requires a resume, a personal statement, and a short multimedia presentation that supports your statement. Throughout this post, I’ll outline my approach to help guide you through the process while highlighting various scholarship resources for you.

Step 1: The Resume My resume in no way proved my worthiness, so I contacted the iSchool’s Career Center Liaison, Jill Klees for help. She’s awesome. She went through my sad, sorry excuse for a resume and made some suggestions that helped me see how far I’ve come in grad school. She also pointed out some great pages on the iSchool’s Career Development pages that could polish up my resume and provide insight on how to link my coursework to relevant experience. I have very little on-the-job experience (this mom thing keeps me pretty busy already) so adding the coursework was encouraging.

Step 2: The Personal Statement The iSchool scholarship application form asks that you use no more than 500 words (or a personal blog post if you are loquacious type) to describe why you are exceedingly qualified to be funded and what makes you the best choice for a particular scholarship (or two or three). Be precise, be original, and be a little bit proud, but be honest. You are representing the organization that will help you pay for school, and you want to look and sound your very best.

Step 3: The Presentation My next step was the presentation. The iSchool suggests using a single narrated slide recorded in Jing, a video, a Pinterest board, or maybe a Prezi presentation. Just keep track of that URL for your presentation and paste it into the application form.  

Which Scholarship Speaks to Your Interests?
When you’re all done with that, it’s time to connect your skills and experiences to the right scholarship. What is your focus of study? Are you an MLIS student or a MARA student? Will you be graduating this semester?

Scholarships Offered by the iSchool The main iSchool scholarship page lists scholarships for new students starting the fall of 2016 semester, scholarships for current students, and awards for graduating students. If you’re a new student, the iSchool would love to give you the opportunity to prove your desire to study information and library science by applying for the Director’s Scholarship of Excellence. This unique application process entails putting together a Pinterest board that illustrates your desire to attend the iSchool and become an information professional. It’s a chance for entering students to get creative and dig really deep for information, images and resources that really describe who they are and what they want to do. You can find the application form here.

For current MARA students, several chapters of ARMA are offering scholarships, including the Golden Gate (San Francisco Bay Area) chapter, the Silicon Valley chapter and two scholarships of $500 each offered by the ARMA Pacific Region.

There is an iSchool Alumni and Friends Scholarship endowed by the Alumni Association and awarding $1000 to one lucky and qualified student. The iSchool faculty also have an endowment that provides an annual scholarship. If you’re interested in medical librarianship, then check out the Kaiser Permanente Medical Librarianship Scholarship. For those students who have completed a cataloging course (Info 248) there are two scholarships of $1000 each awarded in honor of former iSchool lecturer Robert Ellett. The due date for all iSchool scholarship applications and awards (with the exception of the Ken Haycock Award for Exceptional Professional Promise for those graduating in May) is March 31, 2016.  So, like I said, get started now if you haven’t already.

Other Scholarships Available to iSchool Students San José State University has a long list of both general and specific scholarships that some iSchool students might be eligible for. Be sure to check the qualifications for these scholarships carefully as many of them are for undergraduates or specifically for students in other areas of study. Note that the due dates for these scholarships may also vary from those offered by the iSchool.

The San José State University, the School of Information, and the field of library and information science all have a strong commitment to creating an environment rich in diversity, and including people from all backgrounds and walks of life. If you are a part of that diversity, check out the scholarships offered on this page, which are offered both nationally and to California students specifically.

A few of the scholarship opportunities listed include awards from the Asian Pacific Americans Librarian Association with applications due April 4, 2016, and the George A. Strait Minority Scholarship offered by the American Association of Law Libraries and due April 1, 2016.  The California Library Association (CLA) and the California Librarians Black Caucus (CLBC) both offer scholarships to minority students and they have April and May due dates respectively.

The iSchool also lists a wide variety of scholarships offered by outside agencies which have varying deadlines both in spring and at other times of the year, so be sure to check each individual organization’s website for specific deadlines—and make sure their website has the most current information.

Filling out scholarship applications is not unlike working on a class project. Think of it this way—the work you do to fund your education will hone your skills to do more work for the classes the scholarship work is paying for. It’s a happy financial cycle!

For other posts related to funding, finances and general fun check out:


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