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Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

GradFund: What to Expect When You Meet with Us

by | Jul 25, 2016 | Humanities, Nuts and Bolts, STEM

So you have the idea to meet with GradFund. Mayhap your advisor suggested meeting with us to “discuss your options.” You could have come across one of our various emails. It’s possible that your program requires you to participate in one of our summer mentorship programs. Or maybe you just heard from a friend or colleague how wonderful and helpful we can be. Whatever your reason for scheduling a meeting with GradFund, we are thrilled that you have come to us for assistance! So what can you expect in your various interactions with us? Let’s examine the different types of services we offer. First, we need to determine where you are in your funding search.

So I’m new to this whole process.

Let’s assume you are a blank slate. You simply want to explore your options. You have scheduled a meeting and are now waiting for your first face-to-face with a GradFund Fellowship Advisor or Peer Mentor. The first service we offer is an introduction to the world of graduate funding. Here at GradFund, we want to help you plan ahead. So we collaborate with you in order to build a personalized funding plan that projects your needs and interests into the future. We stress the importance of planning ahead and would like to enable you in that endeavor. In this vein, we help you compile a list of relevant awards and plan out the different stages of your graduate career with matching funding opportunities. In future meetings, we can also help to revise this overall plan to adjust to emerging needs and opportunities as your situation may require.

So what if I have already found an interesting award? I’ve drafted an application. How can I expect help?

Then you have taken a monumental step in your graduate career and should be proud of yourself. At this point, we can help you explore the ins and outs of a particular funder or award and help you interpret what the funder is looking for. Basically, we help provide you with insight into your audience. In our experience, these meetings are more productive if you have submitted a draft for us to review. We can critically examine different elements of your application and ascertain how it fits into the funder’s overall expectations. With a draft in hand, we can provide feedback on overall structure, clarity, and completeness of your proposal with specific examples to illustrate how you can adjust these elements to speak directly to the funder. During this process, we attempt to take on the mindset of a reviewer and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your draft. We then work with you to emphasize these strengths while hopefully shoring up any weaknesses. To facilitate this process we encourage a collaborative effort between you, your advisor(s), and GradFund.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at gradfund@rci.rutgers.edu, visit the GradFund Website, or schedule a meeting for more information.

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