It’s no secret that scholarships are one of the best ways to finance university education, but applying for scholarships can be a stressful and daunting task. Which is why we have created this helpful page with our top 10 tips for applying for scholarships.
But, have no fear, because we’ve got your back!
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. More work = Fewer applicants = Better chances. Most students avoid applications that require a lot of work such as writing essays or doing extra projects. Because of this, the number of individuals applying for the scholarship will be much smaller, which means you have a better chance of getting the scholarship. Statistics show that in scholarship applications that require en essay with 1,000+ words there are less than 500 people who apply compared to the 5,000+ who apply for no essay scholarships. Hard work pays off. So, write that extra essay and get that scholarship!
3. Stay organised. A great way to save time and decrease stress when applying for scholarships is to stay organised. Keep a list of the scholarship name, due date and any requirements so that you don’t miss any part of what’s required. ScholarshipPortal provides a helpful scholarship planning tool to assist you in keeping track of the scholarships you have or want to apply for to keep you on top of things.
4. 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 your scholarship deadlines on a calendar to ensure that you submit them on time. Tools like Todoist or Google Calender provide an excellent way to keep track of deadlines on your laptop or phone.
5. Ensure you are answering the essay topic properly. While it may be easier to write a general essay to attach to each scholarship application, sometimes the general essay is not applicable. Read each and every essay prompt carefully and thoroughly to ensure that you are answering and tailoring each essay to fit the question, thus giving you the best chance at being awarded the scholarship. Top Universities has a list of helpful tips that can help you write a winning scholarship essay.
6. Proofread, proofread, proofread! Scholarship essays are used as a reference for the quality of work you produce. If there are simple grammar or spelling mistakes, you may have a much less chance of receiving the award. Ask teachers, friends and/or family to look over your essays before you submit them to ensure that the quality of work is up to par. Sites like Grammarly can be useful to use to proofread and check for any grammatical (spelling, punctuation, word choice etc) errors. Another tip is to copy and paste your essay into Google translate and click to voice button to listen to your essay. If you miss mistakes while reading you can catch them when it is being read to you.
7. 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! 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. And don’t forget to proofread your essays!
8. Select and notify your referees. There may be scholarship applications require you to provide reference letters, if you need to carefully select your referees based on your academic and employment history. Remember to ask their permission and give them enough time to write your letter (2+ weeks). Providing them with additional documents like your CV or your essay will allow them to write in more detail about you. CareerFAQs and Indeed UK provide a great rundown and tips for selecting and notifying referees for any needed letters.
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 using 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 application requires/asks for a payment, it is very likely a scam. If you are promised and ‘guaranteed’ a scholarship after paying a processing fee, that is also very likely a scam. Scholarships are supposed to give you money for university not take it away from you. Don’t be discouraged by this, there are many legitimate scholarships offers out there. Be careful and cautious of offers that are too good to be true and remember to research the scholarship or organisation offering it.
While applying for scholarships can be overwhelming and challenging at times, we hope these 10 tips will make the application process less hectic. There are a multitude of scholarships out there waiting to be collected, so don’t give up if you get rejected. Keep your head high and continue working hard and you’ll have a good chance of receiving an award. Good luck in your scholarship hunt!
What are your best tips for finding scholarships? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!