Which top 10 tips secure an academic scholarship?
This is the third and final chapter about Applying for Scholarships. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Review the concept of an academic scholarship
– Discuss ten tips for succeeding in scholarship applications
– Complete worksheets that check knowledge and understanding and improve English proficiency
Scholarships range from a few hundred dollars to years of full-paid tuition and can attract applicants from across countries, continents and age ranges. Some are infamous, others are almost unheard of. A scholarship can be open to all applicants or it can be so niche as to be targeted at a specific ethnicity, gender and subject combination. While not everyone can therefore compete for every scholarship, such awards are still competitive and will almost always require great effort on the applicant to succeed. To help students better ensure success, this final chapter explores ten tips that should prove useful no matter your background or skills, helping you to obtain one (or perhaps many) of these educational awards.
Tip 1: Start Searching Early
A scholarship search can begin as early as eighteen-months ahead of your intended start date. Even if the application for your academic year of study is not yet open, there’s no harm in knowing which industries or institutes offer annual scholarships and applying the moment a submission opens. There may also be some scholarships that essentially run on a first-come-first-served basis and which therefore aren’t necessarily going to wait to find the ‘best’ applicants but rather the most suitable within a given time period. What that means is that you may qualify for a scholarship that you wouldn’t necessarily be most suitable for simply because you were quick to apply.
Tip 2: Apply to Multiple Scholarships
While it’s not advisable to apply for scholarships that you’re fairly sure you won’t qualify for (or have no interest in), it’s nevertheless a good idea to apply to as many as you can in order to increase your likelihood of success – particularly if such funding will be instrumental to even going to university. For those students that truly need scholarships, ten per month is the recommended number of applications.
Tip 3: Keep a Scholarship Diary
For those who are determined to receive a scholarship award, learning how to organise and manage several scholarship applications per month can be an important step to success. Students who keep a record of those that interest them most (as well as their deadlines and how much they’re worth) will hopefully avoid missing out or wasting time with duplicate applications – particularly as the same scholarships can be advertised in different locations. Keeping an application diary such as this should also help you keep track of any and all scholarship funding you secure, which will be particularly useful if that funding, in the end, arrives in bits and pieces from various sources.
Tip 4: Consider Smaller Scholarships
Due to philanthropic tendencies (or at least the pretence of generosity) many businesses offer one-off small-fund scholarships. These start at around $500 and can go as high as a few thousand dollars. The lower the reward, the less that’s required on the part of the applicant. Such scholarships can be secured in conjunction with other funding, offering students the minimum necessary support to begin or continue their higher-education studies.
Tip 5: Prepare an Essay
If applying for a substantial scholarship, you can almost guarantee that you’ll have to demonstrate (usually in the form of an essay) what it is that makes you deserving over others. While this can be a little daunting at first, those who take the time to reflect on the life experiences that have shaped them and identify those aspects that stand-out and are impactful are likely to be better prepared to integrate such selling points into their applications. In a scholarship-application essay, the assessor will likely wish to see that the applicant:
- can overcome challenges
- is willing to take on responsibility
- can reflect on a situation and learn from their experience
- writes well and has an excellent command of the language
- avoids repeating information from their application form
- can answer an essay prompt directly
Tip 6: Prepare a Resume
A resume (also known as a CV) is intended to be a concise, easy to scan document that indicates as quickly as possible what it is that you’ve achieved both professionally and academically, also providing referees that can be contacted for a character reference. A resume is not the place to detail much in the way of personal information and should be objective and informative. For those high-stakes scholarships, you’ll no doubt be asked to provide one, so be sure to have one ready.
Tip 7: Check Requirements VERY Carefully
As all scholarships will have particular instructions to follow, when applying for many scholarships at once it may be easy to overlook the fine print. While industries and institutes may not require any financial return for their scholarships, they may require the receiver to participate in a particular aspect of the company or campus and so it’s important that applicants are aware of how they may have to ‘give back’. Common requirements include:
- maintaining above-average grades
- involvement in a minimum number of performances/games
- involvement in a minimum number of research projects/publications
- commitment to the company offering the scholarship for a fixed number of years
- completion of your qualification in a particular time period
Tip 8: Review Your Online Presence
With the advent of social media and mobile technologies, it has become increasingly common for hiring or scholarship committees to have dedicated workers who carry out online searches into questionable applicants. If there are less than flattering photos, blogs, videos, or any other form of profile out there, it might be a good idea to clean up your online image before submitting your application. The additional creation of a professional online presence through sites such as LinkedIn can also go a long way to ironing out your online presence.
Tip 9: Know the Organisation
Another tip that certainly won’t harm your application is to show that you know about the organisation that may be funding your studies. Take the time to read the ‘about’ pages of that company or institute to learn more about who is offering the scholarship, why they may be offering it and what kind of applicant they may be looking for. Doing so may help you to tailor an essay, resume or interview to that organisation’s mission statement and values.
Tip 10: Proofread Carefully
Finally, much like any academic assignment it’s always a good idea to put down an application, sleep, and then proofread that document one last time before submission with fresh (and rested) eyes. A spelling mistake here, a poorly structured sentence there, or a wrongly completed form could all lead toward an unsuccessful application. After all that hard work, it would be very annoying to let silly mistakes come between you and your future.
Well done for completing this three-chapter reader on scholarships – we hope you found it interesting and insightful. To review all this information and gain further English-language practice, unlock, download and complete our accompanying Chapter 1-3 Worksheets for just a few academic marks.
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