Aspire to study abroad, but worried about the high expenses? Fret not, there are a bunch of scholarships programmes and grants to help out with educations costs abroad. All you need to do is just apply to these programmes. Every year a lot of candidates across the world try their luck in reputed universities of US, UK or Australia and hope to get funded through scholarship programmes. According to the 2017 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, 186,000 Indian students were enrolled in universities in the US.
While some international students conduct a thorough research about the scholarship programmes available overseas, there are some who are unable to understand the intricacies of a rigorous application process. If you really want to be eligible for a scholarship, you need to be focused on your search and proceed intelligently. Here are some quick tips that will come in handy while applying for scholarships abroad.
1. Find Out About Scholarship Programmes For Your Needs
The United States boasts of some of the world’s most renowned colleges as well as universities. Studying in those universities is a dream cherished by many, but not everyone’s dreams come true. It is not just the academics, but also the high education costs. Private institutions often charge around $32,231 while public universities charge around $22, 958 per year. Here’s where scholarship programmes come to the rescue.
While most of the students try to get academic scholarships by performing well in their courses and appearing in different competitive examinations, it’s not the only way. Many students search for need-based scholarship programmes as well. Students, who excel in sports, can look out for athletic scholarship while minorities may look out for programmes targeted to meet their needs. Many universities have special scholarship programmes for international students and you can check the eligibility criteria to qualify for those. Country-based scholarship, though rare, are available in some cases.
2. Go Beyond The University
Going through every university website could be a bit tedious. Be smart, and look up websites where you can find the complete list of scholarships, 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). Don’t fail to check the eligibility criteria – keep an eye out for conditions on nationality, course or age.
3. Get Down To The Details
Just finding of the different types of scholarship programmes is not enough. To apply for the right programme, and that too in time, you should know every detail related to the programmes for which you are eligible. If you are eyeing for merit-based scholarships, you will need to work hard and prepare yourself for the ACT or SAT. You will also need to have an excellent academic record. However, if you do not qualify for this, you can search for need-based scholarships on university websites. The criteria may vary from one university to another and you should go through these very carefully before applying for them. Make a list of the programmes you are eligible for and make a note of the criteria as well.
4. Evaluate Yourself Against Every Criterion
Whether you are intending to apply for a need-based scholarship programme or a government-funded one, you should know every criterion well. Once you go through the criteria, assess yourself against each criterion and prepare yourself accordingly. Every year, almost two-thirds of students apply for scholarships or grants to meet their educational expenses. Therefore, to hit the target, you need to prepare well in advance.
5. Pay Attention To The Essay Topic
Once you have shortlisted the scholarships you want to apply for, the next step is to understand the essay topics for each scholarship. Scholarship essays are a mandatory part of almost every programme, and are the decisive factor in sealing your fate. Apart from good writing skills, your understanding of the topic, originality of thoughts and creativity play a crucial role in making your essay stand out from other applicants. One thing to keep in mind while writing the essay is to avoid making generic statements as they could a deal-breaker.
6. Highlight Your Work Experience In Resume
Just applying for a scholarship programme is not enough. To qualify, you need to really work on your your resume. Remember, your resume should support your application, so don’t hesitate to highlight why you need/deserve the scholarship. List all relevant achievements – not just academic, but also community service, work experience and awards, as the practical experience gives your resume a boost.
7. Recommendations Are Important
You may have put a lot of effort into your application, but a glowing recommendation can do wonders for your application. Recommendation letters, also known as reference letters, are a very important part of your scholarship application, as your referee affirms everything you have written in your application. It’s best to pick a professor or a former employer who has seen you at your very best. Reach out to them before you apply for a scholarship, and discuss your plans with them.
8. Keep Applying
Don’t let rejection dishearten you. A lot of scholarship winners meet with rejection before succeeding. The key to success is to keep on applying, as you never know which one will hit the bull’s eye.
9. Timeliness Matters
You are probably tired of hearing this, but most scholarship winners swear by it. Every school has a certain amount of funds available for scholarships; so the earlier you apply, the better your chances are.
10. Get Your Application Checked
Last, but not the least – read your application thoroughly after you are done with it. Make sure to check for facts, grammar, inadvertent plagiarism and typos. But that may not be enough. be doubly sure by finding someone to look at your application before you press ‘send’. A fresh eye could throw and constructive feedback can help you improve your application by focusing on strengths and achievements.