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What Is the Difference Between a Scholarship and Fellowship?

by | Nov 1, 2021 | 0 comments

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If you’re worried about paying for your college education, you are definitely not alone. The cost of going to college is so high and figuring out how you’re going to pay for it can be very stressful.

Financial aid can help you offset some of the costs of college. Some of the most popular forms of financial aid are scholarships and fellowships. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different from one another.

Keep reading to find out the key differences between scholarships and fellowships. It’s important that you understand how they differ before you start applying.

What Is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is a financial aid that you can win to help pay for your college expenses. Winning scholarships is the best way to pay for college, as you don’t need to worry about paying back the money later on. You can apply for scholarships to pay for your undergraduate and graduate studies.

You do not need to be a high-achieving student to win a scholarship. While there are plenty of merit-based scholarships there are also many needs-based scholarships. There are scholarships that award students for volunteerism, leadership, or athletics. 

Colleges, the government, private organizations, and non-profit organizations all award scholarships. Students can use scholarship money to pay for tuition, books and supplies, and room and board.

Scholarship awards range from as little as $100 to full-ride scholarships. You should apply for as many scholarships as you can. You can combine scholarships to create a generous financial aid package for yourself.

What Is a Fellowship at a College?

Fellowships are grants awarded to students for graduate study, professional development, and research. They allow students to pursue a specific academic interest in depth.

Whereas scholarships may take financial need into consideration, fellowships are always merit-based awards. Fellows show academic achievement and potential in their field.

The majority of fellowships are for graduate and postgraduate students. There are also some fellowships at the undergraduate level.

What Is a Fellowship Program?

Fellowships can refer to a number of things. They may refer to merit-based scholarships. The word fellowship may also be used to describe a job for recent graduates. In large, fellowships are awards that help scholars advance their education. 

Fellowship programs may help students pay for their education, including tuition and books, and supplies. Others may only pay funds for research. Some fellows may have to complete an internship or volunteer work.

What Are the Benefits of a Fellowship?

There are many benefits to doing a fellowship. For starters, getting a  fellowship is an honor, as it is a very prestigious award.

The following are some benefits of a fellowship:

  • Hands-on work experience: Fellowships provide students with an excellent way to gain hands-on work experience. Fellows take on a lot of responsibility from the get-go. This is not usually the case with an entry-level job. This is a great way to prepare for a first job after graduating. 
  • Financial support: A fellow’s paycheck or stipend likely won’t make them rich. But, it is nice to get a stipend while doing research and gaining experience. We’ll discuss more about the financial side of things later.
  • Sharpen professional skills: Fellows have plenty of opportunities to develop and enhance skills. These may include public speaking, community organization, and leadership skills.
  • Build connections in the field: Fellowships provide a lot of opportunities for networking. This of course is beneficial when trying to secure employment after graduating.
  • Professional development: Fellowship programs invest in their fellows and offer opportunities for professional development. Fellows may attend conferences, seminars, and various training sessions, and receive mentorship. All these opportunities allow fellows to achieve a lot in a short period of time.
  • Resume boost: Fellowships are an awesome way to give your resume a boost. They increase your attractiveness as a candidate for future jobs.

What Types of Fellowships Are There?

There are many different types of fellowships. Here are the main types:

  • Graduate Fellowships:  These fellowships are for graduate students. Colleges or educational organizations may award the fellowships. Fellows may receive subsidized tuition, a monthly stipend, and health insurance. They also may have opportunities for professional development, like attending academic conferences.
  • Medical Fellowships. After doctors finish medical school and residency, they can do a medical fellowship. Medical fellowships allow them to further their medical training in a specific area. For example, an orthopedic surgeon can do a fellowship in pediatric orthopedics.
  • Research Fellowships: Research fellowships award students to do research. Fellows are graduate or postgraduate students, scholars, or scientists. In some cases, they may be undergraduate students.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowships: Students who have completed their doctorate degree can apply for postdoctoral fellowships. These fellowships allow them to continue their research. As part of their postdoctoral fellowship, fellows are usually required to teach courses.

Is a Fellowship Considered Financial Aid?

Most fellowships come with a monetary stipend but some are unpaid. Fellowships that are funded may offer a monthly living stipend. Others may offer a salary that is comparable to an entry-level job. Some may also offer health coverage, housing stipends, and cover travel expenses. Fellows are not required to pay taxes on the money they earn from their fellowship.

More important than the monetary award is the prestige of the position. Also important is the work experience that fellows gain from the fellowship.

How Long Is a Fellowship?

The length of a fellowship varies and depends on the type of fellowship. They are generally one year but can be as short as a few weeks or up to a few years. Fellows may be able to renew shorter fellowships if they meet eligibility requirements.

Final Thoughts

Scholarships and fellowships are often thought of as the same thing. But, they are different from one another. Scholarships are a form of financial aid that students can use to pay for college expenses. There are a variety of scholarships for students of different backgrounds and ages.

On the other hand, fellowships are only merit-based awards. The grant money to students mainly to do research in their field. Fellows are typically graduate students.

Scholarships or fellowships can help you achieve your goals while saving money. Now that you understand the differences, it’s time to start applying.

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