How to win a scholarship to your dream University

  • Gradstar
  • December 1, 2022
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Ever thought of studying abroad on a low budget? Yes, this is possible. Scholarships are a pathway to studying abroad in top schools without spending a hefty amount. Scholarships come in many forms but ultimately, they are a form of financial support for your undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Scholarship money is not a loan that a student has to repay. Once you have been awarded the scholarship you don’t have to pay it back. But, with all the accolades and the prestige it brings, there are certain points you need to know, to prepare for your scholarship application. To find out how to make your application stand out from the crowd, keep reading!

1. Accurate application

Scholarship committees are very particular about their selection of candidates. They look for candidates who are detail-oriented and have completed the whole application process. So, ensure that your application is complete and flawless and all the required information is provided. Keep in mind the deadlines of different universities which often depend on the start dates of the academic year in the country you are applying to. Read all the details on the university website before applying, as a lot of documentation is required. Ensure that you have procured and thoroughly read all the necessary documents before you begin your application. Accuracy is key!

2. Outstanding academic records

If you have been getting exceptionally good grades, a scholarship is recognition for all of your hard work and something for you to be proud of. Being a successful scholarship winner can also open many other doors as well, so start working hard from the secondary level and you will increase your chances. While applying for a scholarship highlight your awards, grades, accolades, and recognitions that you have earned till date.

3. Letter of recommendation

A letter of recommendation is written proof of your capabilities, character traits, and overall personality. Make sure that you reach out to your mentors to write you a letter of recommendation which can provide insight into who you really are. Maintaining a good record while you are in high school is important not only for your academic achievement but also for personal recommendations.

4. Strong scholarship essay

The scholarship essay you write is a reflection of your unique personality. The essay may have a topic to address or require your own creativity. Apart from highlighting your achievements, experiences, and your future goals, also mention your contribution to your community and broader society. You need to showcase your authentic personality through a strong scholarship essay, and therefore do a lot of research before writing. Use real-life examples and experiences to personalise your essay. Decide which information is relevant and always stay on topic. Write, edit, rewrite, and proofread. Ask someone else that knows you well to read your application and give you feedback. Keep within the word limit and showcase who you really are.

5. Testimony of leadership skills

You are one of many students pursuing your studies abroad and applying for a scholarship. How will you stand out from the crowd? One way is to demonstrate your leadership skills and extracurricular activities. What extra have you done, beyond your academic achievements at the secondary level or undergraduate level? How have you been a problem solver? How did you manage certain situations in the past? What initiatives have you taken to bring about the desired positive change around you? Think about all the incidents in your life which have been answering these questions. Scholarship committees often look for candidates who have demonstrated leadership potential and have added value to their community. Examples of activities or events where you have taken on a leadership position or volunteered your time can help strengthen your case.

6. Extra-curricular activities

Academic excellence is not the only thing scholarship committees are looking for. You need to be an all-rounder. Get involved in extracurricular activities. Scholarship committees appreciate candidates who are well-rounded and have participated in a variety of activities outside of school. This demonstrates your dedication and commitment to learning new things and makes you stand apart.

7. Show your financial needs

Many scholarship programs are for students who come from low-income families or who face other hardships. If this applies to you, ensure to highlight it in your application documents. Proof of low income and official financial statements are among the documents you need to attach during the application process. If the scholarship is for students experiencing financial hardship you need to be able to provide proof as part of the application.

8. Know what is not covered in a scholarship

There are many varying types of scholarships. Including tuition fees, bursaries, stipends and accommodation. Each university will offer many different options. You need to check what you are eligible for first and this will differ between universities. Ensure to do your research and check that you meet all of the criteria before submitting an application. It’s better to be prepared than be disappointed.

9. Work experience- an added bonus

Apart from your test scores, work experience carries an added advantage with it. Scholarship committees prefer applicants who can demonstrate that they work hard and can still maintain good grades. For high school graduates who may not have had paid employment you can demonstrate your capacity to work in the form of volunteering, taking up special tasks, assisting in organizing events, contributing to a community cause demonstrates that you are a good citizen and have additional soft skills.

10. Community service

It is not a fad but a fact that apart from being a pious act, community service can help your scholarship application. Associate with NGOs, or companies involved in Corporate Social Responsibility. Remember one thing, have evidence that proves that you have been involved in community service. You may be all for society but if you don’t have a document to support your beliefs and actions then your case might not be as strong as someone who has the required documents.

11. Register, submit, accept

Be extremely aware of the entire application process and deadlines. Register online carefully. Submit the documents required and check the confirmation mail from the university/institution. Once you have received your program offer, notify the scholarships office that you have been admitted to your program. This will activate the scholarship assessment process. Scholarship committees meet at various times throughout the year but hopefully soon you will be notified about your outcome.

The most important thing is to make sure that you are well-prepared and have put in the effort to stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Our Gradstar Dream Maker’s are there to help you stand out from the crowd. Contact Gradstar today and get all information you need on Scholarships abroad. Because dreams deserve a helping hand.