How to get into a graduate school with full funding in US universities

Fraol Batole
3 min readSep 5, 2020

I started applying for a graduate school (Abroad) one year before my undergrad graduation. I had never thought how hard it would be to land a graduate study with full funding until it took me a whole lot of 11 months to get acceptance with half scholarship. But the enthusiasm I have had to study for my graduate degree won’t let me stop pushing forward to find a fully-funded program.

Long story short, I landed a fully-funded Ph.D. program after two years of endeavoring. What can I say — persistence is the key to everything! In this blog, I will give a clear direction on how to get a fully-funded graduate study at US universities by mentioning points like; what I did wrong and what helped me land this opportunity.

Clearing out the basics

The study, teaching, and research after an undergrad degree is called graduate study. You can do a Master’s degree (MSc) or directly do a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) after undergrad depending on your background, interest, or study location. Even though some universities do not recommend doing a Ph.D. just after an undergrad degree, most universities in the USA still admit students based on the strength of the application submitted.

There might be numerous ways to fully fund your graduate study, but here I’ll try to explain the two most common types. The first is through scholarship, a financial award to help students with their tuition and living expenses. It is mostly awarded by a non-governmental organization such as (MasterCard Foundation) or public institutions. The second, assistantship, is an offer that lets students work on campus like teaching undergraduates or doing research. To compensate, students usually get a tuition waiver plus some stipend. As compared to scholarship, the second one is easier, and I will elaborate more on it.

Before starting any of the processes, there are requirements demanded to pursue your graduate study. To study in the USA, you have to prove your analytical and English speaking skills before applying. How? There are international tests usually provided by non-profit organizations such as ETS. So, a graduate student must prove their analytical thinking by taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and English skills by taking either IELTS/TOEFL.

Furthermore, a transcript for the completed undergraduate degree is a must to apply. Most universities accept unofficial transcripts but request you to send them an official transcript upon acceptance. But some of them require an official transcript even to review your application. To facilitate the application process, I recommend gathering all the necessary documents before starting the application process.

The process

The first year I started applying to universities was unsuccessful because I never knew I had to research the university and its requirements. Instead, my focus was on the number of universities I applied to, so I hastily filled out the application, and most of them got rejected. So make sure you know the details of the university. What are the pieces of information you need?

Firstly, you have to know their minimum score requirement to get an acceptance. To do this, google the university and check if your score is above the minimum score to get an admission. For instance, most universities require more than a 6.5 IELTS score. Therefore, make sure your GPA, GRE, and IELTS scores are above the minimum.

Secondly, an application deadline is the other compulsory information you need. In the USA, universities open their application for the Spring and Fall semester. Make sure not to pass the deadline because it might cost you more time than you can expect.

Moreover, not all universities are equally generous to give assistantship offers. So make sure the universities you want are supportive and accept grad students with an assistantship offer. These might be a little tricky to do, but it is much needed to increase your acceptance chance.

Finally, after getting the universities that you satisfy the requirement, go over their website and find the online application portal to fill out their form. Make sure you have selected the option to be reviewed as an assistant, then finalize by paying the application fee and submit before the deadline.

I hope this will be helpful for people interested in pursuing a graduate degree with full funding. Good Luck!

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Fraol Batole

Hi, I'm a Ph.D. student with a passion for learning. I'm always eager to explore new and exciting topics, and I'm excited to share my journey with you.