How to Win a Scholarship
I am currently looking for a Masters scholarships, Before I got here, I did a lot of research on scholarships generally, and, I realized that the best time to apply for an undergraduate scholarship is probably when in your last year of high school or immediately after and are sure about what course you want to pursue. Again, I would also advice anyone looking to get a Postgraduate Degree scholarship, to start on it early (like in their final year of studies) and only if you have a passion in the course that you are pursuing or are quite sure what Masters or Ph.D program you would like to pursue. If not, get into the job market. Explore and discover what line of career interests you and at that point you can decide to pursue further studies in the same line. Some postgraduate scholarships require some years of experience in the line of studies that you wish to pursue.
Scholarships, where to start, huh?
Let us start from the very beginning. A scholarship is a grant or payment made to support a student’s education (to help him or her further his or her education), awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.
Types of scholarships
Scholarships can be:
Merit-based: These awards are based on a student’s academic, artistic, athletic or other abilities.
Student-specific: These are scholarships for which applicants must initially qualify based upon gender, race, religion, family, and medical history, or many other student-specific factors.
Career-specific: These are scholarships a college or university awards to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study.
College-specific: College-specific scholarships are offered by individual colleges and universities to highly qualified applicants. These scholarships are given on the basis of academic and personal achievement.
Creative Contest Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to students based on a creative submission. Contest scholarships are also called mini project based scholarships where students can submit entries based on unique and innovative ideas.
Scholarships are either provided by governments, corporations, universities or any organization with a little goodwill and some money to burn 🙂
When you finally make the decision to pursue one, here are a few hacks to help you remain organized and able to keep track of your applications:
- Keep a master list of all the scholarships you ever apply to be it small, local, international, full or partial.
- Gather your resources before starting the applications. Could be guiding essays, list of requirements, websites to visit, letters of recommendation, academic and professional certificates.
- Ask for letters of recommendation before you need them. These could either be from lecturers or professors, former or current employers.
- Identify and categorize the scholarships.
- Recycle essays. Your essays should be original. Have a number that you can reuse as this saves you a great deal of time and energy. Also, reusing and rethinking old materials can mean improvements as you repeatedly refine and edit the same work.
- Save every single essay you’ve ever written and date them.
- Target small, local or branded scholarships.
- Don’t feel entitled. If you do not put forth the effort, you will not reap the benefits no matter how good of a student you are.
- Plan to apply for as many scholarships as possible. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you can maximize your chances of getting one by pouring all of your energy into one or two scholarships.
- Remain hopeful and positive. Do not feel like the odds are against you or the competition is too stiff. You can find a scholarship requiring your specific talents or ideas, not all are aimed at the student with the best academic records.
- Enquire and learn from past scholarship winners. This could mean reviewing past winning applications essays and other materials or interviewing past winners of scholarships about their approach and any insight about a particular scholarship.
Always read carefully through any scholarship requirements. Make sure you adhere to all that is required and provide all the requested documents. Scholarship providers follow up on their requirements strictly and it would be a waste of your time to apply and automatically be put in the reject list even before you are started on the application process.