An overview of Scholarships for International Students
Are you looking for a scholarship and don’t know where to start? There is a lot of information on the internet. Many universities, many countries, many requirements, and many scholarships for this year 2021. Sometimes it looks impossible to follow up, right? Don’t worry! We know exactly how you feel. We went through the same process before we got our international scholarships and study abroad. In this post, we will tell you how to approach this difficult process for you to apply for the scholarship you are dreaming of. Of course, there is no magic trick here, you will need to work hard and be perseverant. But believe us, once you get to study abroad with the sponsorship of a scholarship, all the hard work will pay back.
There are two things you should know before we go through all the steps. First, this is not a fast process, it is not just a search for scholarships on Google. It takes time to research, read, get your requirements together, and apply. Normally, you will need to apply for a program and a scholarship 6 to 12 months in advance, before you actually start your studies. So be aware of that to make your plan correctly. Second, there is not a specific order to do this, you could either start checking a country, then a university program, and finally a scholarship, or the other way around. However, for this blog, we will go from the wider to the narrower. Now let’s get started with the process: How I get a Scholarship?
Find a country
There are countries where everyone dreams of studying in. But when looking for scholarships, it would be a good start to identify your priorities and to be strategic.
When choosing a country, remember that that country might be your home for a while, and maybe for a long time. Therefore, it will be useful to research some details related to the living status of the country. First of all, you should find out the average budget that you will need per month, regardless you are looking for a partially or a fully-funded scholarship. This is a very important factor. Many universities provide information on their website about how much money you will need on average in their city or country. You can easily find information such as house/dorm rent, school fees, and the average monthly grocery shopping. With this knowledge, you can calculate how much money you will need the scholarship to cover for you.
After that, you can also take a look at other factors such as job opportunities in the country during your studies and after your diploma (working visa, work permit for foreigners, etc.)
For starting, don’t invest so much time in this, as you still need to research universities and scholarships. However, it is a good initial point to narrow your search, so go ahead and check two or three countries you will like to study in and move on. And don’t worry, when you are progressing in your research you will keep learning more information about the country and maybe discover other countries that you were not interested in at the beginning or you just didn’t know but could probably offer great opportunities for you. In Scholarships WW we categorized our scholarships database by continents and countries, to facilitate your job. Once you have decided where you want to go take a look at this link (you will thank us): Scholarships WW – The most complete compilation of scholarships.
Find a Program
What do you want to study? Pursuing your studies is an exciting journey! If you just finished high school or are going to finish soon you have open possibilities to choose almost any undergraduate program however, you should be aware of your strengths and weaknesses based on your educational background. For you the most important thing is to be sure about the program because you might be studying it for the next 4 to 5 years in a foreign country, so make sure it will be something you will enjoy even in the tough times.
Mostly, the universities will require from you a high GPA, English Proficiency test, and any other document that can prove your outstanding characteristic to being awarded a scholarship, such as leadership or high academic merits. We will talk more about the requirements below. Now, together with the program, you will have to make sure there is a scholarship opportunity for it. Mostly this is published on the same university webpage as scholarships, financial aid, fee waiver, and so on. We will develop more about it below.
If you are looking for a graduate or postgraduate program you might have your decisions delimitated according to your undergraduate diploma. However, bear in mind that the program you wish to apply to does not have to be necessarily related to the field you graduated from. However, your diploma should be sufficient to fulfill the program requirements. For example, having a background in economics, business, finance fields may be required for an Economics master’s degree. On the other hand, if you have a nursing diploma and are looking for an Economics Master’s degree, you may need to check whether your department accepts this diploma or not.
Do not get disappointed right away. This is a long process. Sometimes, the program you wish to apply for may accept your diploma but may require you to take some additional courses in the first year. For example, you may be asked to take some economics and finance courses so that you can build up knowledge of the program and still be accepted. Also, there are always alternative, more flexible options. You might not qualify for an Economics Master’s but perfectly be accepted for an MBA.
The point here is, always check and double-check the requirements until you find the program that is more suitable for you. And again, together with the program, you must check the scholarship opportunities for such a program. The easiest way is to check the opportunities published on the same university webpage. Also, you can keep posted on our Instagram account where we are posting the best scholarship opportunities every week.
Find a Scholarship
This is the most important step in your process and therefore the one that you should invest most of your time in. As we told you before, there is not a specific order (or a magic way) to do this. Either if you found a scholarship directly or if you found a university first. In this step, you must be mindful and analyze your opportunities to get the scholarship. In general terms, the scholarship announcements will have:
1. Eligibility criteria
2. The application process
3. The deadline for the application
Our recommendation is to quickly screen the scholarship announcement and identify these three elements before reading all the information. Why is the reason? You have to make sure to invest your time most efficiently because you will have to actually review many scholarship opportunities before you find the correct one for you. Therefore, if you spend your time reading all the information until you realize the application process has finished, or your country of origin is not eligible for that scholarship, it will be a whole waste of time.
Check our blog for summarized scholarships here, we have identified these three elements for you!
Thus, first, make a quick review of the scholarship and decide if it worths your time to stay and read more in detail, otherwise skip it and check the next one. This is what you will find, in general terms about these elements we mentioned.
Generally, the scholarships are targeted for specific groups of people (however there are some open for everybody), determined either by country of origin of the students, international agreements between countries, development support, etc. Moreover, sometimes a scholarship might focus on a specific background or field of studies. So, please double-check if your characteristics qualify for the scholarship that you want to apply for. Once you make sure you comply with the eligibility criteria then you can start checking the general requirements for the application process.
- The Application Process
In general terms, the application process is ‘the rules of the game’ with which all the candidates have the opportunity to show that they deserve to be awarded a scholarship. Don’t forget that it is a competition. Like you, many young students are working with all their energy and effort to get the same scholarship you are applying to. You have to get to show all your potential through the documentation you are required, and never afraid to go the extra mile. Only extraordinary candidates will succeed. These are the general requirements for a scholarship application:
The document in which you explain why you are interested in the specific university, department, program, and scholarship. You may start with a little explanation of who you are. Then your educational and professional background. Finally, explain your motives, your real reason to pursue the scholarship.
Curriculum Vitae (CV) which is Latin for “course of life”. It is a document that contains details about your education, professional career, awards, honors, skills, and other achievements. The CV should not be too long. It should be arranged in a way that it fits into one page (it may exceed a page depending on your age and experience).
c) Letter of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation is also known as a reference letter. It is a letter written by someone who is most probably your former professor or boss. Its purpose is to explain why he or she recommends you for this very specific scholarship. A letter of recommendation should describe your qualifications, successes, and leadership. Also, why you are a good fit for the given scholarship program or school program. Finally, it is very important to explain the relationship between who writes the letter and you.
The universities and the scholarship providers need to make sure that your level of English is good enough. Of course, before you get accepted. Because you need to catch up with the program you want to study. For this reason, they will request you to take an English exam from an institution that provides this service. More commonly the TOEFL IBT Test or the IELTS Test. Although some institutions also accept the Pearson Test of English Academic and the fairly new Duolingo English test. The score you need to get depends on the program, University, and scholarship you are applying to. You should check the requirements on their official website. (Check our post about the English Test for more information)
The Deadline for the Application
The deadline is the last date when you can submit your application. We deeply recommend you check it very well. Once the application period finishes, your documentation will not be accepted anymore. Also, bear in mind that there might be different deadlines, one for the program and one for the scholarship. Make sure you fully understand the process.
We hope this information is useful to you. For more detailed information, check our other posts.