Some useful Winning International Scholarship Strategies
Some useful Winning International Scholarship Strategies
Tip #1: Look into Scholarships in Any Field of Study and Any Country
Still can’t find a scholarship in your preferred field of study? or a scholarship in the university/country you want to study in? Explore more scholarships by looking into scholars4dev.com’s lists of scholarships in any field of study and list of scholarships for study in any country.
Although it is always best to start your search by looking for scholarships specially dedicated to your specific field of study or scholarships specifically intended for study in the university/country of your choice, it is also beneficial to look into scholarships in any field of study and any country. This gives you added flexibility and more choices.
It is important to remember though that by “scholarships in any field of study”, we refer to scholarships in any field of study offered by the University/scholarship provider and not literally all fields of study. By “scholarships in any university/country” we basically refer to scholarships that can be conducted in any country or any university in any country as specified by the scholarship provider. You should remember that this categorization is not absolute; you should expect limitations and exceptions in some cases.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: When viewing the scholarship profile, you should always remember to see the section “Fields of Study”. In this section, you will find a list of eligible programmes or a link to a list of eligible programmes under the scholarship. In some cases, the University or scholarship provider will not fund certain fields of study or will not allow study in certain countries while in some instances, the scholarship provider specifies only a set of programmes or countries that can be eligible under the scholarship program. Thus, before you apply, you should always confirm first if the field of study you are interested in or the country you intend to study in, is approved under the scholarship program.
Tip #2: Discover School-Specific Scholarships
As you browse scholars4dev.com, you will notice that there are a lot of scholarship programs offered by major international organizations and universities. But did you know that there are other numerous scholarships offered by specific schools of a university that are not listed? Read more to find out about school-specific scholarships.
School-specific scholarships are scholarships offered by a particular school under a University. For example, the Institute of Education – a school/college under University of London offers school-specific scholarships such as Centenary Masters Scholarships for International Students.
School-specific scholarships are good scholarships to apply to because they are targeted to your field of study. As well, fewer people know about these scholarships because they are not as easy to find as university-wide scholarships and not as known as popular scholarships. Generally, because of these reasons, there is lesser competition in applying for school-specific scholarships compared to university-wide scholarships and popular scholarships.
Sometimes the official scholarship page of the University lists school-specific scholarships while sometimes the University has their own scholarship database that contains the school-specific scholarships but most often than not, school-specific scholarships are buried in the college/school’s own scholarship page.
NOTE: Start your search of school-specific scholarships by visiting the website of the specific school of a University that offers the course you are interested in. Browse through their ‘scholarship’ page or ‘fees and funding’ page. You could also inquire directly with the school about the scholarships they offer.
Tip #3: Take Note Of Annual Scholarship Programs
If you missed the scholarship deadline or your scholarship application has been rejected the first time, don’t worry, there’s always another chance. This statement is true if you are applying for annual scholarships. You have taken note of scholarships that are offered annually.
Offered yearly, most annual scholarship programs are well-funded scholarships meaning they have enough funds to sustain the program for a long time and they have ample number of scholarship available. Thus, it is wise to take note of annual scholarship programs.
NOTE: Popular scholarship programs such as Fulbright Scholarships, Commonwealth Scholarships, DAAD Scholarships, Erasmus Mundus Scholarships, and Australian Development Scholarships are examples of annual scholarship programs but there are a lot more.
Tip #4: Ask Yourself “Am I Qualified for a Scholarship?”
In applying for scholarships, it is important to realize certain truths about scholarships as well as truths about yourself. Am I really qualified for an international scholarship? Are my qualifications enough? What can I do to improve my chances? These are the questions that will help you try to answer.
The Hard Truth about Scholarships
One important thing you should know about scholarships is that they are not given out just to anyone who asks, requests, or begs for it. They are not given just because you are poor and disadvantaged. They are not given just because you are from a developing country or just because you belong to a minority group. The truth is scholarships are not given out, they are earned. You earn it by demonstrating your potential and establishing your qualifications.
Am I Qualified for an International Scholarship?
Although it is true that your disadvantaged situation initially qualifies you for a scholarship (that’s why there are minority scholarships, scholarships based on financial need, developing country scholarships), you will still have to satisfy other qualifications set by the scholarship provider.
Let’s look at a general overview of typical scholarship qualifications required by scholarship providers.
Minimum Scholarship Qualifications
– You must be from a country which the scholarship provider specifies
– You must be of a certain age as set by the scholarship provider. Note that this is not always the case, there are many scholarships where there is no age requirement.
– You must hold a High School Diploma when applying for a Bachelors; a Bachelor’s Degree when applying for Master’s; and a Master’s Degree when applying for PhD
– You must meet the academic requirements of the programme you are applying to. In most cases, you have to be accepted in the progamme your are applying to before you are considered for a scholarship.
– You must have good knowledge of English language with TOEFL or IELTS scores as proof. In some cases, proof of English as medium of instruction in your university degree would suffice.
Additional Qualifications of Specific Types of Scholarships
– Entrance Scholarships: you have to meet the high school academic average set by the scholarship provider (usually 90% or above)
– Excellence Scholarships: you have to meet the GPA required by the scholarship provider (usually 3.0 or above on a 4.0 rating system)
– Leadership Scholarships: you must demonstrate leadership potential and possess leadership skills and/or experience
– Competition Scholarships: you must win the competition (i.e. essay competition)
– Development Scholarships: you must go back to your home country after your studies
– Youth Scholarships: you have to be young, atleast below 25
Are my Qualifications Enough?
Even if you meet the minimum qualifications of the scholarship, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a scholarship. Yes, good qualification improve your chances but still, there will be hundreds or thousands of you with the same qualifications applying for the same scholarship. Thus, scholarship providers set up scholarship criteria to filter out the best students who will get the scholarship. Here are some of the scholarship criteria used by scholarship provider:
• The student’s academic excellence and potential in his/her proposed field of study – applicants must be able to demonstrate a connection between their subject of study and their longer-term career objectives.
• The student’s academic performance – as evidenced by grades, test scores, publications, letters of recommendation from his/her previous education.
• The student’s motivation letter (or in some cases, a motivation essay)
• The quality of the scholarship application submitted (completeness, accuracy, consistency).
• In development scholarships in particular, students are assessed based on their potential to contribute to the development of their home country.
• In the case of research students, students are assessed based on the merits and relevance of their proposed research study.
Knowing these criteria, you can find ways to gain advantage over your competitors. For example, if you don’t have very good academic grades, the personal motivation letter is your chance to show how you deserve to get the scholarship. In another example, you can do a little extra research about the current areas of focus of the scholarship provider because sometimes, students are chosen based on their chosen field of study or research – if it aligns with the scholarship provider’s core mission/themes. It is also useful to know the profiles of previous scholarship recipients; it will give you an idea of the kind of student that the scholarship providers are looking for.
A Simple Test
Here’s a simple way to test your chances in getting a scholarship. Answer truthfully: have you met at least the minimum scholarship qualifications outlined above? If yes, then you have a good chance in getting a scholarship. If no, then you would have tougher chances in getting a scholarship; either you find a way to meet the qualifications set by the scholarship provider or find other scholarships that don’t require strict qualifications.
Hopefully, this post helped you to gain new perspective about applying for a scholarship and what it requires from you.
Tip #5: Tap Into Other Scholarship Resources
While we strive to list all relevant scholarships for international developing country students, there are still more scholarships out there that are waiting to be discovered. In order to help you find more scholarships, we listed other relevant scholarship sources on the web today.
Scholarship Portal EU
This massive portal of scholarships lists 1,559 active scholarships in Europe for international students. Using their database, you can search scholarships according to level of study, discipline, and country of origin.
Education USA Financial Updates
The EducationUSA network is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Though their financial updates page, they help international students find updated scholarships provided by US Universities and colleges.
Scholarship Search UK
About £250 Million worth of scholarships in UK are found in this comprehensive database which lists all available scholarships offered by UK Universities.
DAAD Scholarship Database
In this database you can find information on various kinds of DAAD funding for foreign students, graduates and postdocs as well as on funding offered by other selected organisations for study in Germany.
JASON: Postgraduate Scholarship Database in Australia
The Joint Academic Scholarship Online Network (JASON) is a postgraduate scholarship search engine developed jointly by a number of universities. Scholarships in the database apply to Australian students wishing to study at home or abroad, and to international students wishing to study in Australia. The subscription service offers students the opportunity to create a personal profile of their funding requirements. This service will automatically alert students, via e-mail, to any new scholarships.
CampusBourses: Grant Search Engine in France
CampusBourses delivers instant information on financial aid by allowing you to perform searches customized to your needs. From the licence (bachelor) to the postdoc levels, CampusBourses contains data on grant and scholarship programs of national and local governments, corporations, foundations, and institutions of higher education.
Scholarships Bourses Canada
This is Canada Government’s official scholarship website where you can find scholarships, bursaries and grants for international students by country of origin.
Tip #6: Improve Your Chances In Winning A Scholarship
Winning a scholarship is not a simple thing to do considering there are a LOT of scholarship seekers and there are only a FEW scholarship awards out there. In numbers, we are talking about millions of students vying for only thousands of available scholarships. How then can you improve your chances in winning a scholarship?
Find scholarships that only few know about
Sometimes, knowledge is key in winning a scholarship. In your months of searching, you must have come across popular worldwide scholarships and flagship scholarships of popular universities. These scholarships are great to apply to but extremely competitive to get. There is one type of scholarships that you might have better chances of winning: school-specific or department-specific scholarships. School-specific scholarships are good scholarships to apply to because they are targeted to your field of study and more importantly, fewer people know about these scholarships because they are not as easy to find as university-wide scholarships and not as known as popular scholarships. Generally, there is lesser competition in applying for these scholarships, thereby increasing your chances.
Apply only for scholarships that are best matched to you
This advice involves finding out which scholarships are best matched to you. In an ideal situation, you would want to apply to a scholarship program that is targeted to your country of origin, whose eligibility requirements matches your qualifications, and if possible, whose priority fields of study are related to your degree/research/experience.
Stand out in your scholarship application
Since scholarship application is quite competitive, your application must stand out above the rest. This means you must not only meet the scholarship criteria set by the scholarship provider but exceed it. The key here is to know the specific criteria set by the scholarship provider and make it work to your advantage. Once you know their criteria, you can find creative ways to to highlight the strengths of your scholarship application.
For example, if you don’t have very good academic grades, you can highlight relevant extra-curricular activities in your personal motivation letter. In another example, you can do a little extra research about the current areas of focus of the scholarship provider because sometimes, students are chosen based on their chosen field of study or research – if it aligns with the scholarship provider’s core mission/themes. It is also useful to know the profiles of previous scholarship recipients; it will give you an idea of the kind of student that the scholarship providers are looking for.