Published On: Tue, Jun 14th, 2016

How to Be a Strong Candidate for a Graduate Nursing Scholarship

Advancing your nursing career with a graduate degree can take a lot of time, effort, dedication and money. Many graduate nursing programs such as a Doctorate in Nursing Practice take around two years to complete, and requires students to have tremendous work ethic and stay focused. However, the financial burden of study can often put registered nurses off when it comes to enrolling on a graduate degree course to further their career. If you are a nurse who is considering taking a DNP online course or similar, there is funding out there in the form of scholarships and grants to help make it more affordable.

Finding Funding

Marta Okoniewski, Associate Director of student initiatives at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing says that there is definitely funding out there which can be offered to nursing graduates who wish to complete further study to gain a masters of nursing or become a Doctor in Nursing Practice and further their career. She advises graduate nursing students to first start at the institution which has accepted them onto a graduate nursing degree course, as many colleges have merit-based or donor-funded scholarships available for students at that particular school. Universities like offer both traditional and online courses can offer a range of graduate degree courses for nurses, with the chance to apply for financial aid.

Applying for a Scholarship

When it comes to applying for a scholarship to help you financially through a graduate nursing degree, it’s important to know what it is that the college is looking for. Shane Hoon, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Diversity at the University of Colorado’s school of nursing, says that first and foremost, colleges look for applicants who are humble and show a genuine passion for the profession when deciding who to award scholarships to. The level of financial need of the applicant will also be considered, along with a range of other factors such as past achievements and career plans. Hoon says that attitude is also taken into consideration, and what they’re looking for is passion, focus and drive.

Outside of School

Experts in nursing school are also encouraging graduate nurses to look for resources outside of their particular school when it comes to gaining funding for a nursing graduate degree. Okoniewski says that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing themselves offer more than twenty scholarships each year for graduate students. Students can also seek financial aid from other organizations which are invested in nursing, for example the military or the American Cancer Society. Experts recommend that graduate nurses research and apply for funding as soon as possible to be in with the best chance of getting it, although it’s possible to find and apply for financial aid even after enrolment. Okoniewski says that as a registered nurse, you should start thinking about funding as soon as you consider graduate options. Taking a graduate degree to further your career in nursing can be expensive, but if you know where to look and how to apply for funding, achieving your dream job can be much more affordable.

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