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You do not need a scholarship
Posted On : Sep 19, 2016

It is counter intuitive that you do not need a “scholarship” to study an advanced degree in the USA

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In chapter 9 of PhD in the USA I have included an exercise that should help you get funded to study an advanced degree in the USA.

Surprisingly, most graduate students study without the typical “scholarship”. That is, the type of scholarship granted by a cooperation agency, the foreign affairs ministry of your country, a private foundation, etc. Most of us, studied for free after obtaining a job within the university were we were admitted. That is what most students, especially from countries such as China and India are doing. In other words, we studied without “scholarships”.

Clearly this is not obvious, even for the professors and educational authorities in developing countries.

Could be possible that the bottle neck resides in that most people want something without uncertainty?  But let me tell you that the certainty of one of those typical scholarships is fictitious. Why?, because regardless of funding, you do not get admitted into a graduate program unless you fulfill the requisites, like good grades in the TOEFL and GRE.

Moreover, the typical scholarship comes with strings attached. That is, like having to go back to your country to work for the university or government. Here again it is the seductive idea of having something secured, like a tenured position. However, as I explained in another blog (Should I go back to my country?) and my book (PhD in the USA), it is best if you stay for a few years in your host country or another developed country. Most students need the additional experience, working in academia or the industry after finishing graduate school. If you go back immediately, you will become a big fish in a small pond. You may feel good for sometime; but ultimately, you will end up doing administrative work or something else. But not exercising your profession at the world class level that your country needs to advance.

It has been said that the definition of insanity is to do the same over and over, expecting a different outcome. Studying an advanced degree in a developed country and returning immediately after graduation is a form of insanity. And so it is waiting for one of those typical scholarships, when most people do not study advanced degrees in such way.

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