NORTH ANDOVER — Graduate school is expensive, but what if there was a way students looking to further their education could do it at a discounted price?
Merrimack College offers various graduate fellowships in their offices on campus, thus giving students the opportunity to gain professional experience and get their master’s degree all while saving money.
There are three types of fellowships students can choose from, Presidential, Provost, or K-12 teacher education, however most students have a Presidential or Provost one.
“The process of applying for a fellowship is pretty easy,” said Syandene Inniss, a graduate fellow working in the Admission Department. “You express interest in a fellowship and then the school will send you a list of both Presidential and Provost options. From there, you apply to the fellowships that interest you the most.”
Inniss continued to explain, the supervisors in the offices will review the applications and set up interviews with the candidates that peak their interest. From there, students will rank their top five choices for fellowships and supervisors in each office will rank all the candidates they met with. Preferences will get taken into consideration, but ultimately if a student matches with an office on their list that becomes their placement.
Most people tend to get their first or second choice, however that is not always the case.
“I originally listed a different fellowship as my number one choice, but the form got mixed up when I submitted it,” said Jill Joyce, another graduate fellow working in the Admission Department. “The admission fellowship got moved to my number one when in reality it was my second or third choice.”
Joyce went on to say even though there was a mix up, she has been enjoying her time in admission. She has met so many people through this experience and is rather happy with the outcome.
One of the many benefits of a fellowship is the discounted tuition. Presidential fellowships cover 100% of tuition as students are actively working 25 hours per week in an office on campus along with their school work. Provost fellowships cover 50% of tuition as students only work fifteen hours per week.
“I definitely needed assistance paying for school, but I also wanted to work on skills that weren’t necessarily my strong suit and this fellowship allows me to do so,” said Inniss on why she decided to do the fellowship program.
While fellowships are an exciting opportunity for students, it can come with challenges.
“The most challenging part is how much work it is,” said Joyce. “You are working 25 hours a week and still have to go to class, so time management is essential.”
“My biggest challenges are traveling and time management,” said Inniss. “In my role, I had to visit high schools and attend college fairs, often more than one in the same day, so timing it all out was very stressful.”
Every student with a fellowship is going to have a different experience and face their own set of challenges, therefore, it is up to them to make the most of the opportunities they are given.
“I really enjoy my experience here, especially because this fellowship is applicable to the field I am going into,” said Inniss. “I am building relationships with people I don’t know, which is something I have to do in my future career as a mental health counselor.”
Inniss went on to say this role allowed her to grow her professional network, especially when traveling on the road. She met people at events who worked in the same career field she is looking to go into, or knew people they could connect her with.
“I am a big fan of Merrimack and wish I went here for my undergrad,” said Joyce. “But I might just feel this way because I am selling the school to others so it gets me excited.” Joyce continued to express she also met wonderful people on the road traveling and this fellowship has provided her with an experience she would otherwise not have chosen for herself