Many of you will rely on some financial support to pay for your international education. For some, a scholarship could mean the difference between studying… and not studying. For others, it just helps with the cost of living, and also provides a bit extra to enjoy student life.
There are many scholarships available, and not all of them require you to prove you’re the most academically gifted person on earth. But they are incredibly competitive. So how do you make sure you get the scholarship or bursary you deserve? Here are the top 10 tips to get a scholarship
1. You usually can’t apply for a scholarship until you have been accepted into the course
This may seem like it’s the wrong way around, but you do need to know you can pay your tuition fees and travel expenses without a scholarship. That way, if you do win a grant, you can pay back your local bank loan or have a bit of extra spending money.
2. It’s not going to cover everything
Repeat after me… you can’t study for free. If you’re lucky enough to get a rare full scholarship, you’ll still have to find the money for your travel, food, books, health insurance, phone calls, and fun.
3. Look beyond your university
You can find a complete list of scholarships on many websites, including those awarded by private foundations (such as a Fulbright Scholarship), or government bodies in the host country (such as the British Council) or your own country (such as the Department of Education). Check carefully to see if you’re eligible – many have nationality, course, or age restrictions.
4. Every little bit helps
Even if it’s just a small grant towards the cost of your books, it’s worth taking the time to apply. It’s one less thing to worry about when you get there!
5. Apply for as many as you can
Yes, it takes time. But it’s free money! So make a list of all the scholarships you are eligible for. Double-check you have all the right documents to prove your case, and get someone read over your supporting essay or letter. It’s always good to get another point of view.
6. Be confident
If the application requires a letter or essay explaining why you deserve the scholarship, don’t be shy. List all your relevant achievements – not just academic results but also community work, career experience, and awards.
7. Avoid scholarship scams
There is no such thing as a ‘guaranteed scholarship’. You should never have to pay an application fee for a scholarship. Unfortunately, some dodgy scholarship companies will just take your money and disappear.
8. Allow plenty of time
You need to think about your finances at least 18 months before you hope to start your course. But once you have been accepted onto the course, you may only have a short window of time where you can apply for a course-specific scholarship.
9. Keep a record of all the documents
You need proof of funds to get your visa sorted, and that includes the scholarship offer or agreement.
10. Have a backup plan
Don’t despair if all those applications come to nothing. There are other ways to finance your education. Student loans, help from your friends and family, and company sponsorships are worth looking into as well.