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How to Get a Full Fellowship to Graduate School When Your Grades Are Only Average

Updated on May 23, 2018

The Problem

Can you obtain a full fellowship or scholarship to graduate school in spite of having only average grades as an undergraduate? Yes--and it's not that difficult.

Keep in mind some of your fellow undergraduate students did not work and they had all day to study. Others worked. The author of this article worked part-time, and saw no need to get "A" grades. (You "A" students may not understand this, but it is true.)

After the author had her lab book "stolen" and after watching some fellow students "sucking up" to the professors for a grade, the author was disgusted and did not think it was worth going for that "A". Be that as it may.

But it turns out one does not have to have been that "A" student in order to get graduate funding.

Laying the Groundwork

What schools today are looking for (often) is DIVERSITY, not scholarship.

This is how to handle this. If you are a student from the east coast who attended a public school, you should apply to a west coast private school. Now the other thing to do is to make sure the schools you apply to have sizeable per student endowments. That way they can pay your way through grad school because they need you to "round out" their diversity profile. So here is a list of schools and their endowments:

Here is a list of universities and their research funding:

Creating a Strategy

Now- pick ten schools to apply to. Start making contacts at the schools. Identify the admissions person for the department of interest in the graduate school, the graduate adviser in the department of interest, and the SECRETARIES along the way, who make great contacts.

Make a chart for these schools. Ask the department adviser for a list of projects the professors in the department are working on. Identify topics of interest and start researching articles by those professors. This is the completion of STEP ONE.

STEP 2. Become a volunteer in the area of interest. How? Go to a famous university, foundation, company, whatever,and ask who knows which person might need someone do help them out with a project...explain that you are a volunteer. Make sure it is somewhere famous.

STEP 3. Become a dedicated and upbeat volunteer and help out and blend in . Be diligent. Get along with people. Contribute.

STEP 4. Stay in contact and continue communicating with the professors at the schools of interest. Email them. Ask if they are going to be presenting a paper at a symposium. ATTEND THE SYMPOSIUM. Send them an email. Tell them their work has your attention and you have read their papers.

STEP 5. Join a professional association. You are going to put this on your resume. Join another group, but this time join one that is related to a hobby. This will go on the resume to show a well-rounded personality.

STEP 6. Sign up for a university extension class in the subject of interest at a school of the caliber of the graduate program to which you want to apply. Before doing so, check out the professor who will be teaching the class by reviewing them at You need an "A" out of this along with a recommendation. Choose the class with care.

Pay the money. Take the class. Yes---pay the $850--remember this will help you obtain the fellowship or scholarship for the 2-6 years of FREE FELLOWSHIP grad school.

STEP 7 Study for the GRE math at the West Texas A&M website. it's a great review. Study for the reading part using review materials of choice. One needs to do better than average on the math and average on the reading. One does not need a perfect score, but it needs to be better than average.

STEP 8.. get another volunteer research position. You will now have done work in two areas of your proposed area of study. Variety is better than just one area. Now one has more skills and more perspective which adds to the "mature view' of the potential graduate school applicant.

That just about does it. You now have the class with the 'A", you have repented, you have volunteered and forgone income by showing dedication to your proposed area of study, and

You have probably met your future major professor.

STEP 8. Get 3 letters of recommendation. Ask your 3 references if they want you to write the recommendation letter for them...many would prefer you write it for them. (Not kidding.)

Final Steps to Getting a Fellowship to Graduate School

If you have not changed your mind about applying to grad school after reading this article, then go ahead and get ready to apply.

Now apply to your 10 schools. Then send an email to the professor(s) that you have been communicating with. Tell them you have just applied to their department through the graduate school. Remind them of your volunteer projects and repeat again what the projects were.

That's it. You will get admitted based on your mature attitude, diversity, hard work, great references, and personal contacts. Good Luck. This takes about a year to do a great job. Look at it as a down-payment on your future!

Copyright 2018


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    • Doodlehead profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Northern California

      Janhorner--sorry for takiing so long to respond. It was infuriating that someone stole my work but not really all that surprising. The pre-med students were without boundaries doing anything at all to get ahead/stay ahead whatever. Today one of those "docs" is a doctor and I found reviews on Google that she has high "dislike" ratings!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You have written this well and I enjoyed the beginning very much. You must have been mortified that someone stole your work!

      You then go on to outline a perfectly good procedure for those wanting to go to graduate school. Some good, sound advice.



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