Tips on how to land a scholarship grant (International students)

appplicationScholarships – whether individual, athletic or merit – all have the purpose of endowing you free money that you can use for education as opposed to college loan debts you need to repay later.

Most scholarship sponsors (e.g., universities, private firms, governments, and other groups practicing CSR) are very stringent when it comes to the screening process of aspiring candidates. They often choose someone who not only embodies their ideals and core beliefs, but one who will also aid their cause in the future as ‘current investments’. They often incorporate contract clauses ranging from rendering hours of mentoring youngsters, exposure to media, to other acts of service and being tied to them.

However, who wouldn’t want grab hold of the chance of having fatter paychecks in the future? You wouldn’t mind granting those customary wishes after imagining yourself probably having a shot of owning a Bentley Continental Flying Spur saloon (or whatever luxury the future holds).

Even though you believe you’re the next Lebron owing to your beefy frame and sheer athleticism; or the heir apparent to business and technology magnate Steve Jobs, the hunt for sponsored scholarships is more of a jungle than a walk in the park. Sponsors receive tons of inquiries through e-mails, phone calls, and other communication mediums from other proficient and more tactful individuals.

With that, it can’t be helped but have you viewed as a regular contender. The glimmer of light shining in your ‘application tunnel’ becomes dimmer.

The most fundamental question often reads as this, “How do I create a lasting imprint on my application?”. Well, here’s my personal take.

Strike a balance between adhering to directions and being pompous

Scholarship grant applications will demand you a number of essentials – transcript of records, SAT scores, list of academic and non-academic endorsers, resumes and photos (frequently optional). It’s human nature to want to submit the best prerequisites possible.

However, don’t fall victim to submitting something which is not explicitly required (e.g., glaring certifications, trainings, etc.). Sponsors often view this as an act of showing off; you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your bid by trying hard to impress. It’s somehow a test of obedience and adherence to a very simple rule; passing something which is uncalled for means failure to conform.

Instead of committing such, strive to submit the best version of the normal requirements. Achieve that pro posture and look in your head shot. Make sure you’re on track in getting above par grades prior to the semester’s cut off. Choose endorsers who are renowned people in their respective fields and who genuinely knows the great person in you. It is through these baby – yet significant – steps you can bolster your chance of getting in.

Impress whenever you have the chance to

You have two shots you both need to make – the preliminary essays and the interview. Oftentimes, you wouldn’t have a crack at wearing your prized trousers or black dress if you fail to ace essays.

Being more effective in writing than verbalizing my thoughts, I always scout the institution I am writing for, so I can get a glimpse of their core values. Having those in mind, I can furnish customized essays effectively proving that my skills are in harmony to what they’re looking for. Of course, the ability to convey yourself in writing always appears glaring to potential benefactors.

Here are the 6 commonly encountered scholarship interview questions enumerated by Unigo, an online college matching and school reviews website.

  • Tell us about yourself
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • Give an example of a time you overcame adversity.
  • Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
  • What three words would you use to describe yourself?
  • Why do you think you deserve this scholarship?

It’s imperative to have a strong start. Mind the effect of words you plan to say, but also remember to keep it short and simple (KISS). Avoid stuttering and dead air. Most successful applicants are not the cleverest ones, but are the confident and cheerfully smiling ones. Get rid of your introvert side for 15-20 life-changing minutes.

Lastly, tell them what sets you apart from other aspirants – your competitive advantage. It could be your ideals, vision, work ethic, rich experience (highs or lows) or any other distinguishing characteristic that presents you as the best fit for the grant. I personally view questions 3 and 4 as the game-changers. Captivate their hearts with your fascinating take on the future and stories of triumph from the brink of defeat.

Withstand the test of time

Waiting for a scholarship confirmation can take as long as the next season of Game of Thrones to be released by HBO. Besides the probability of reading heart-wrenching messages, you need to strengthen your resolve at times institutions seem irresponsive.

Most of these scholarship grants run twice a year at dates prior to the spring and fall semester; they can’t always answer to each and every query given the sizable submissions lining up. A single follow-up e-mail usually does the trick in cases where your submission was buried. Ask politely; never sound arrogant, desperate, or hasty.

Here’s the reply of Scholarships Canada when asked in their FAQs section about the awarding process of their scholarships.

“It’s difficult to say how people will know if they’ve been awarded a scholarship, it depends on the administrator. It’s like applying for jobs, you don’t always hear if your application was received or if you’ll be notified later. Often scholarship administrators send notification for the receipt of your application. If you want to know, the best thing to do is to contact the administrator…doesn’t hurt to ask!

Scholarship administrators respond at various times. In some cases, the scholarship administrator may provide a timeline or schedule of when the winners will be announced. If the information is not available, feel free to be proactive and reach out to the scholarship administrator to confirm the next steps”.

The e-mail explicitly informing you on being one of the scholars selected often comes at times you don’t expect the most. It can be during a bus ride home, a dine out, or hours after you hopelessly signed out your Gmail account. Whatever it may be, always adhere to deadlines and be updated with the screening process.

While you can never guarantee that “We want you” message appearing in your inbox, you can always choose to be in a position to read that – by pursuing excellence in everything you do.


Author Biomorgan

Monica Morgan is a free-spirited woman having vast experience in article writing. She loves to travel Asian countries, writing reviews on each of them on her She prefers using diverse writing styles to properly engage with a wide array of readers.


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