There are millions of fishes in the sea but not everyone who goes fishing is able to catch one.
Have you given up on applying for scholarships because all you get is a freaking rejection email?
Guess what? Everyone who ever got a scholarship had been rejected a dozen times more than you can ever imagine. We just got used to the rejections that it became so normal and part of the process.
How many did you apply for before you quit trying? 5? 10? Think again.
In this article, I will share six main points which I am convicted will enlighten you as, someone who is trying to get a better education through scholarships thereby leading to a significant increase in your chances of getting selected.
Before I jump to the juicy part of this article, I will like to share this little story with you. A classmate of mine and a close friend was awarded 4 prestigious scholarships in 4 different countries over the globe in the same year, 2018. All he had was a single choice to make and of course, he chose the best offer. What’s interesting about this is that his results weren’t the best in class.
How is that? I guess the question should be, why is that?
The answers to these questions will be clear by the time you are done reading this article.
1. Understanding the Process
I can’t tell you how many times I used to get frustrated when I started applying for a scholarship. It was quite puzzling and often led to in-completion and abandonment.
The reason was simply that I could not wrap my head around the different scholarship application procedures. So I believe it is imperative to, first of all, get a holistic understanding of the different scholarship procedures so that you are not surprised at the time you begin any application.
I will try to give you an overall explanation here of some common ones you might encounter out there. Some scholarships just require you to signup and fill in your information, answer the questions and you’re done. In these types of scholarships, if you are selected you receive the scholarship alongside admission to the university (e.g Turkish Government Scholarships).
Other scholarships require that you apply for admission into a university. After receiving an admission letter from the university, you then use it to apply for a scholarship in a completely separate and independent format. This is quite involved and many students get a little confused here. Having this in mind earlier enough you will be better prepared and equipped.
2. The Secret is in the Numbers
Applying for scholarships is like throwing a fishing hook into the ocean expecting to catch fish. The more hooks you throw the better your chances of going home with a catch.
My friend mentioned above had understood one thing. He had realized in order to significantly increase your odds of catching a fish in the ocean(scholarship), you got to throw as many hooks as you can into the sea. Applying for just one or two scholarships in an academic year is slightly ludicrous and illogical. This gives you no other options to choose from if you do not get awarded and you might just have to fritter away one whole academic year.
How badly do you want to get it?
You got to increase the odds to be in your favor and the best practical way to do so is to apply for as many scholarships as possible. This is exactly what İ did and that’s what my friend now studying his masters at Carnegie Melon University did.
Please do not become complacent after applying for just two scholarships. Get comfortable after 10 or even 20 applications.
3. Timing is Everything.
I will like to highlight the degree of importance of this point because I fell into this trap over and over again. Hundreds of scholarships flood the internet all through the year like clothes displayed in a local Sunday-market, however, you got to keep your ears to the ground not to miss a single opportunity for applications because that scholarship you missed could just be the life-changing opportunity you have been arduously praying or wishing for.
Specifically for scholarships related to academics like undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate scholarships, I realized from experience that there exists a certain window for which most of these scholarships are announced.
For example, roughly between the months of November and February, you will notice a significant number of scholarships open, especially for the Fall semester of the coming academic year. However, you will, of course, find scholarships randomly distributed throughout the calendar. So, by keeping this in mind, you can be getting your motivation letter written and other documents ready while waiting for such hot periods.
4. Everything Counts.
When applying for a scholarship, everything counts. I mean everything. From the little volunteering service, you did back in high-school to being an active member of your school association.
Many scholarships use these as indicators for leadership and also social inclusion. They want to know if you are going to adapt to the new culture and lifestyle effortlessly. Be part of the Alumni community and a potential ambassador for their scholarship program.
These are some of the tiny little things that you might ignore but that could potentially set you apart from the thousands of applicants out there irrespective of academic accomplishments.
So, do not ignore extracurricular activities. Be a part of some organization and actively participate as this will likely give you an edge over the other applicants during the selection period.
5. Know What You Up Against.
When you think about the hundreds or thousands of scholarships advertised annually on the different media platforms you might have some delusional thoughts that your chances of landing one are that high.
Well, when you compare the number of applicants relative to the number to be awarded for a particular scholarship, you then realize the competition is a tight one. For example For UK-Chevening Scholarship, in 2017/18, of 65,000 applicants, 1650 scholarships were awarded.
I am not writing this to discourage you, however, I want to create a sense of awareness of the competition which exists when you sit in front of your computer to apply for any scholarship. This means that not satisfying a single requirement for example proof of English proficiency for most scholarship applications can definitely be a filter that is used to first of all trim down the number of applications to be examined.
So during the process of application every single point matters. You got to fill in everything that is asked and follow the instructions strictly as anything can be used as justification for elimination.
6. Always Stay Connected to the Source.
I’m thrilled that even my grand mum back in the village in Cameroon can afford to buy an internet package, which makes me confidently assume as youths and students at least we too got it.
Awesome! Now, manually keeping track of when scholarship applications are going to start is a hectic and tedious process. That is why I will strongly recommend that you subscribe to some great scholarship websites that send daily updates on the available scholarships, their deadlines, eligibility criteria, and so on….
You will receive alerts from these sources which will permit you to stay on track and not miss a single opportunity. Some of my favorite sources include www.scholars4dev.com, scholarshipscorner.website, scholarship-positions.com , opportunitydesk.org/
I hope this information is helpful to you and wish you all success in pursuing your dreams. Let me know if this was helpful by commenting below.
> HAPPY FISHING GUYS…