Funding Professional Development Opportunities
in Graduate School
One of the most obvious challenges of graduate student life is learning how to operate on a simple budget. Whether or not you are working your way through graduate school, you have less time to make money while you also have more money leaving the bank to pay for tuition and books. As a result, when the opportunity to take advantage of a professional development event in your field comes up, the immediate response is, "Is it free?" and then, if not, "Can I afford it?"
There is no doubt that professional
development events can be expensive, especially those offered by state and national professional organizations. Don't let that reality drive you away! In fact, let it challenge you to be creative. While you still qualify as a student, many professional organizations offer reduced fees for both membership and event registrations. If it isn't clear on the website, never hesitate to reach out to the event coordinator to ask about a reduced fee for students -- many will oblige! Even more, if the cost of the event is still prohibitive, many professional organizations will reduce the cost of attendance if you agree to work as a volunteer during the event. Not only does helping out behind the scenes save you extra money in the long run, but it can present a great opportunity to network with others! If volunteer opportunities aren't explicitly identified on the website, don't hesitate to inquire -- the worst they can say is no and, in most cases, the answer is a resounding yes. Finally, find power in numbers. If you and your fellow graduate peers all share an interest in a particular topic, consider reaching out to a particular professional to come speak to you and your group on campus! Professionals love to talk about what they do and will often offer to speak for free if it is a campus related event.
Want to Maximize Your Professional Development Opportunities?