It’s been a really long time…

…since I posted something, but believe me I have good reasons: I have been really busy completing my last (for now) semester as a teacher at my University, keeping up working hard as SysAdmin, preparing two scholarship requests and taking care of my family. It has been a hard time but fruits of these efforts will come hopefully, and allow to prepare my studies.

During this time, I did my best with the scholarship processes, and just thought about some things that may be useful when you are trying:

* Search for scholarships. Find those related to your studies / location / desired university and check the requisites, which may vary but will usually have to do with languages, academic proficiency, etc. If you can’t get any obligatory requisites, move on to the next.

* Be a good writer. This is not something you will get in a short period of time; instead you must train yourself all your life by reading a lot and writing a lot, in order to know what is good writing, what is not, and how to edit your own writing. The trick, if you ask me, is to have ideas, organize them, be able to explain them clearly and do not tire of checking what you have written. And of course you need to write well: your academic career depends on your skills to communicate this way.

* Get a good editor. Most of the times you will be condescendent to your own writing, so you need people who can criticize it with no mercy. I was lucky that my father is a retired professor and spent many a year doing research and teaching writing in college, so he had experience and time to check whatever I sent him. Also, my soon-to-be professor helped me a lot editing my texts and throwing a couple of ideas in.

* Read, read, read, study, study, study. At some point, specially for doctoral studies, you will need to show at least a little knowledge concerning your study area, and perhaps even specifics about your project. The only way to do so is by understanding what has been done on that area, studying and reading papers, reports, talking to people working on the field, etc. You will not know everything in depth, but you should understand the basics and be able to explain them during an interview and/or project proposal. The depth will vary.

* Make time for your writing and have your own process. There are many things that will try to keep you away from the white sheet (or screen), so better get used to just make time for it and work hard. My process usually involves reading the articles which fuel my interest and get the main points, prepare an outline of the subjects I will address, follow a funnel model where you first explain general information about the subject and begin building towards a deeper explanation of the issue, share with your reviewers and edit tirelessly.

Funnel Model, taken from the University of Victoria.

* Get ALL the requisites. Period. Scholarships are usually contested, and you must show that you really deserve one and that you are trustworthy of receiving such honor. Show this with your documentation, this is how the committee will get to know you.

I hope you find this information useful; it is not all that I figured out by myself, but I think it can help you. Good luck.

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About miguelroyo

Catholic, computer science PhD student, computer science college teacher and former Windows sysadmin. Sports fan, amateur writer, book/movie/music lover. My favorite job is father to my beautiful children and husband to my beloved wife.
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