Top 10 Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Applying for scholarships can sometimes be stressful and confusing. But have no fear, we’ve got you covered! Here is a list of our top 10 tips for applying for scholarships.


1. Use scholarship search engines. Search engines such as International Scholarships, IEFA and ScholarshipPortal can be helpful tools to find scholarships available all over the world. These search engines allow you to customise your search based on country of origin, country of study and field of study.

2. The more work, the fewer the applicants, the better your chances. Most students avoid applications which require a lot of work such as essays or projects. Because of this, the number of applicants is much smaller and your chances are better as a result. Scholarship applications with essay requirements that are greater than 1,000 words often have fewer than 500 applicants compared to the 5,000 applicants who apply for easier scholarships. Hard work definitely pays off!

3. Stay organised. A great way to save time and decrease stress when applying for scholarships is to stay organised. ScholarshipPortal provides a helpful tool for keeping track of the scholarships you have or want to apply for to keep you on top of things.

4. Ensure you are answering the essay topic properly. While it may seem to be efficient to have a general essay written for each scholarship you apply for, this is not the case. Ensure that you are answering each and every point that is required without leaving any out. Missing out on a point or two in the essay can have you disqualified. Top Universities provides helpful tips for writing a winning scholarship essay.

5. Proofread, proofread, proofread! Scholarship essays are used as a reference of the quality of work you produce. If there are grammar or spelling mistakes, you will have much less of a chance in receiving the award. Ask teachers, friends and family to look over your essays before submitting them to ensure that the quality of work is up to par. You can also have your work proofread online for free by Grammarly to check for issues with spelling, punctuation, style and word choice.

6. Select and notify your referees. Many scholarships require references as part of the application process to ensure information you are providing is true and that your academic standing is acceptable. Carefully select referees based on your academic and employment history. Make sure to notify your referees that you would like to provide their information on your applications to get permission and avoid surprises on their part. The University of Kent provides more in-depth tips for selecting referees in the world of academia.

7. Pay attention to deadlines. There is nothing worse than finding a scholarship you are eligible for and missing the deadline for the application. Send in your application as soon as possible to avoid being late. Keep track of all deadlines on a calendar to ensure that they are submitted on time. Wunderlist provides an excellent way to keep track of deadlines on your computer or phone.

8. Don’t be afraid to brag. Scholarship essays should be written in a way to set yourself apart from the competition. Are you graduating with a first-class degree? Tell them! Do you speak four languages? Include that too. Highlight all the relevant accomplishments and skills you’ve acquired to impress the sponsors! Which? University gives great advice on how to sell yourself in your personal statement and highlight your achievements.

9. Apply for every scholarship you are eligible for. The more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are to be awarded one! Apply for every scholarship that applies to you including those based on merit, athleticism, circumstances, etc. Scholarship search engines such as International Scholarships and the others listed above allow for you to search for scholarships based on keywords. You may be surprised how many scholarships you are eligible for if you do some digging!

10. Never pay for a scholarship. If a scholarship requires a form of payment for the application, it is very likely a scam. If you are ‘guaranteed’ a scholarship after submitting a processing fee, that also is very likely to be a scam. Scholarships are supposed to be giving you money for university, not taking it away from you. Don’t be discouraged, there are many legitimate offers out there, just make sure to do research and be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true.

While applying for scholarships can seem overwhelming and challenging, these 10 tips will help the process be a lot less hectic. You may be rejected for some scholarships, but don’t give up! The scholarship possibilities are endless and if you work hard and stay positive, you will have a much better chance in receiving an award. Good luck!


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