How can I financially support myself in grad school?

frequently people ask me how they can financially support themselves while they are in grad school. It sounds like a daunting prospect, but it’s actually not as hard as you might think. In fact, I’ve compiled this list of seven ways to help you out!

1) Work part time: This is by far the best option for most grad students. You can usually work up to 20 hours a week while still fitting in your studies and other responsibilities.

2) Take on a part-time job: If you are willing to take on more responsibility, you can try to find a part-time job that will allow you to work during the day and attend school simultaneously. Along with this option, make sure you plan ahead so that you don’t work during class times or get behind in your studies.

3) Attend summer classes: Many schools offer various summer programs where you can take classes alongside other undergraduates. This is a fabulous way to make up for lost time and get ahead on your coursework. You should also check with your school as to if there are any linear programs that would allow you to complete the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in three years.

4) Embrace the slow pace: If you know you won’t be able to focus on studies without taking summer classes or taking a part-time job, then it is perfectly fine to take some time off from school. Obviously this is different for everyone. It is important to be realistic about your needs and wants. If you are simply in grad school because you want a degree, then it’s okay to work full time and not be a full-time student.

5) Save on tuition costs: Always check with your school as to if they have any grants or scholarships available! Many schools offer a tuition waiver in exchange for working as a TA or RA (Research Assistant). Make sure you apply! The same goes for grants and scholarships, even if you have to take some out.

6) Gobble up as many grants and scholarships as you can: Many countries offer student aid as well, so look into applying for those. Again, your school is a great source of information regarding the various possible ways that you can fund your education.

7) Get prepared: Of course, it’s always best to start planning BEFORE you enter grad school. Have a good idea of where you want to go and what you want to study. If you can’t code, learn it now! You never know when you will have to take a coding class or get a job as a developer! You can also put together a list of people who will help your transition into grad school if necessary (family members, possible roommates, etc.).

Do you believe it’s possible to graduate debt-free? 

Yes, it can be done. The first thing to figure out is how much you will need to finish your bachelor’s degree. Since the average college graduate owes around $29,000 USD, I think it’s definitely possible. If you are just a few credits short of finishing, then you might be able to share an apartment or ask a roommate for some extra money if they are willing. It all depends on how hard you’ve worked in the school. Many offer scholarships or grants that can help you out. If you do go into debt, tell yourself that it was worth it! You will have a big weight off your chest once you get a job and start making an income.