A scholarship is a very good way to finance your studies and enables you to fully concentrate on getting your degree instead of worrying about money issues. This article gives you an overview on how to succeed in applying for a scholarship.
Start as soon as possible!
The application process for many scholarships takes quite a long time and application deadlines finish early. As soon as you know what you are going to study, you should start with the preparation straight away! You don't know yet what and where to study? Check out BachelorsPortal, MastersPortal or PhDPortal in order to find out!
Find the right scholarship
There are thousands of scholarships out there as well as other types of funding like grants, prizes, studentships, competitions, fellowships and many others! Luckily not all of them are just dependent on your grades. Do you come from a certain country? Do you study a specific subject? Are you a member of a religious organisation? All those factors for example, can qualify you for a financial support for your studies! ScholarshipPortal can help you find a suitable scholarship for your needs.
Before you start preparing your application make sure that you have chosen the right scholarship. Do you match all the eligibility requirements? Carefully check all the scholarship information provided on ScholarshipPortal.com, but also visit the website of the scholarship provider. Do you match the profile? You will be investing a lot of time in this application and you will want to prioritise.
If you have made sure you have picked the right scholarship, it is time to prepare your application. Most of the time you will need to prepare the following documents:
- Certificates of your previous education (first degree, school leaving exams etc.)
- Letters of recommendation (work/academic)
- Language certificate (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS)
- Motivation letter
- Curriculum Vitae (resume)
- You sometimes need to provide examples of your past work (an essay etc.)
Make sure all of the documents you need to apply for the scholarship are in order before you start to write. You won’t want to go back to them after writing your letter, only to discover you are missing an important document. Also, and we cannot stress this enough, start in plenty of time. This will give you the opportunity to make your letter stand out and you will not have to rush with the deadline. You also want to make sure the application forms are filled in neatly and that nothing is missing. Make sure there are hard copies of every document you are sending, because if anything goes missing you won't want to start all over again.
Certificates of your previous education
Depending on your university it may take some time until you receive your transcript of records, diploma etc. Try to get them (and some certified copies) as soon as possible. Ask the university as well as the scholarship provider for the possibility of using preliminary documents in order to meet close deadlines.
Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation are an important part of every scholarship application. Since your professors and employers might be busy, try to get in touch with them as soon as possible. However, carefully read the requirements of the scholarship you would like to apply to. Some of them have very specific rules about the letters of recommendation and do not accept general ones.
Who can you ask for a referral?
The best place to go for letters of recommendation is teachers that have taught you for a while or your personal tutor. They will probably know you best and can give you a strong letter of recommendation. Some scholarships may allow you to have non-academic references as well (from an employer or community leader etc.). If this is the case, and they know you well, you can ask them.
What to do?
Ask your potential source if they would be able to write a letter of recommendation for you. You should also give your source more than enough time to complete the letter.
Make sure you provide your referee with the following:
- the scholarship application information;
- an updated version of your CV;
- the most recent versions of the samples required for the application;
- a short paragraph on your accomplishments.
You may wish to check with your referee if it is ok for you to suggest certain qualities to highlight in the letter - in some countries, this is the norm, whereas in others this is frowned upon, so check before you suggest anything! Remind them when the deadline is approaching; do not assume the letter will be sent by them once they have agreed to write it. Some scholarship applications allow your referee to send the information straight to them by email / online form, but others will require a printed letter. If you need a printed letter, collect the letters from your referee personally. In some countries, you will need your referee to put the letter in an envelope and seal it with a signature to ensure that no one has tampered with it. Your scholarship provider will be able to advise you about this.
If the language of the program you apply to is not your native language you are usually required to obtain a certificate showing your language skills. For English, TOEFL and IELTS are the most widely accepted among scholarships and universities worldwide. Be aware that it takes some time to prepare, take the test and receive the results.
The motivation letter is a crucial part of your application. It gives you the chance to really let your personality shine through on your application. It should include the reasons why you think you should receive the scholarship, why you want to study at the particular university and course as well as details of any other relevant information. Different scholarship providers may require different information in your motivation letter; they usually list details of what they need on their application pages.
Need help writing your application letter? See our handy guide: How to write a scholarship motivation letter.
Send it in and fingers crossed!
Hopefully, all of the above tips have helped you while you were working on your scholarship application, and you'll want to tell all your friends about ScholarshipPortal.com. Now all that is left to do is send it in and wait for a response. Exciting!