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All you need to know about Scholarships

Ever so often I get a ton of questions about scholarships. There are a lot of concerns and misconceptions around applying for scholarships and finding the right ones to apply and so on. A lot of students drop the idea of studying abroad due to financial issues which breaks my heart.

In this article, I am going to give you a detailed explanation about scholarships so that you can get going and accomplish your dream of studying in the university you have always wanted.

A lot of students drop the idea of studying abroad due to financial issues which breaks my heart.

Types of scholarships:

There are different types of scholarships as listed below that you need to understand in order to make your search easier. The more the commonality the higher the preference.

Country specific:
A lot of countries offer scholarships that are only open to their own citizens or for international students who wish to study in that country.

University/ College specific:
There are universities that offer scholarships to its students. You should be able to find such scholarship information on their website.

Degree specific:
Some scholarships are specific to the degree you will be pursuing for example, bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Program specific:
You will also find scholarships that are specific to certain programs which means you are only eligible to apply for those if you wish to pursue the program mentioned.

For disabilities: 
These are specifically offered to disabled people.

For women:
There are few scholarships that are only applicable for women.

Academic based:
Some scholarships are strictly based on your academic records. If you have a good academic record base, be sure to apply for this type of scholarship.

Sports based:
Like academic, there are scholarships that are sports based. If you get selected to play for a university team for any sport and meet the requirements defined by the scholarship provider, you become eligible to apply for this type of scholarship. A lot of times they are offered by the university itself, but sometimes different organizations do provide these as well.

Searching for scholarships to apply

You can look for scholarship information on various platforms. Search on university or college websites, on scholarship sites, on government or country education sites etc. Narrow your search by the amount offered, effort needed in applying and deadline for the scholarship.

When to Apply

Ideally you should start applying as early as your junior year or in some cases, before you start college. A lot of students submit applications a few months before the deadline. Be vigilant of the scholarship deadlines so that you don’t miss any.

Applying to multiple scholarships

There is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for. Even a few thousand dollars is better than nothing so I would suggest applying to every eligible scholarship depending on how much time you can spend on the application process.

Eligibility criteria

Each scholarship has its own eligibility criteria based on the type of scholarship along with some other additions that the provide might impose. You will need to check the scholarship description to know if you can apply for it. Some other common requirements include a good GPA but I have seen scholarships that ask for a minimum of 2.5 GPA if you have athletic participation. So just because your GPA is low do not think that you won’t be able to get any scholarships.

Deadlines

Deadlines vastly differ for each scholarship. Usually most deadlines fall somewhere between January to April. Be sure to check the scholarship information and mark your calendar so you don’t miss out on any deadlines.

Requirements/ Documents for applying

Some of the common documents asked by scholarship providers are Scholarship essays, Letters of recommendation, transcripts, resume, cover letter and couple of copies of your passport sized photograph. If you have any volunteering experience with children, orphanage, animals or other welfare service, attach a certificate or letter of volunteering from the associated organization. Many scholarships ask for a scholarship essay which is considered the most important document. You should take time to write it with dedication and do not forget to highlight any achievements or talents you possess.

But again as mentioned already, every scholarship has its own set of requirements so be sure to check what has been asked and put maximum efforts in drafting the best application as you do not want to miss any chances of winning the award. A missing document or information that has been asked can easily throw you out of the game.

Scholarship grant amount/ award

Scholarship grants can range from few hundred dollars to as big as a full ride. A full ride scholarship is the highest one which covers your entire tuition fees along with living cost and textbooks cost as well. There is nothing wrong in aiming for a full ride grant but keep in mind that every penny is worth it. Even if you win multiple smaller scholarships, it will help you pay some tuition fees which isn’t bad at all right?

How is the award received?

It depends on the scholarship provider. They may send you a check with the award won or send the scholarship funds directly to the university or college. If the provider sends it to the university or college, the university will deduct that amount from your tuition fees.

Helpful Tips

Stay organized by marking the deadlines on your calendar and setting a priority order to work on the scholarship applications.

Prepare a rough draft of common documents and re-use them with some modifications for the various scholarships you apply for.

Although the scholarship application process is a bit hectic and takes some sincerity and commitment, it’s all worth the effort when it comes to getting financial aid. I hope this post helped clear your doubts about scholarships.

What are your thoughts about scholarships and grants? Have you applied for it or thought about applying? Let me know in the comments below.

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