Getting a scholarship to finance your study gives an immense joy that cannot be overemphasized. It gives you peace of mind to relax and carry out your study. The good news is that a lot of scholarship positions are out there for different levels of academic pursuits and researches.
Getting a good scholarship to finance your academics depends on how much information you have. It is not uncommon see some students complain about not having enough funds to finance their studies, when at the same time their department has scholarship opportunities available for them. So, in this piece of writing, I will inform you the reader, on how you can apply and get a scholarship to finance your education.
Nature of academic scholarships
Scholarships come in different forms, there are scholarships for undergraduate studies, graduate programs, PhD, post Doctorate, internship, research, grants, waivers, etc. you have to choose a program. I will be writing on these levels of education subsequently. Meanwhile, the value of a scholarship depends on the program in question; most times, PhD scholarships have more value than the others because the workload and research and time involved are much. Some PhD programs can last up to 7 years depending on the type of research. Again, since the result obtained from PhD researches are often directly utilized by industries, some industries finance some of the PhD scholarships. The technological industries are very good at that. We have tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft spending millions of dollars on R and D in academic researches to obtain novel means of enhancing technology. Most of these funds are channeled into research scholarships. So, if you know about it and apply, chances are that you can get one. Hence, the first step towards getting a scholarship is getting yourself informed about available scholarships.
Applying for a Master’s degree scholarship
There can be different unique approaches to applying for different scholarship programs. In order to give efficient information on this, I will focus on master’s degree scholarship application in this writing, subsequently, I will write on other programs.
One thing every potential master’s degree scholarship applicant should know is that, you mustn’t have graduated from your undergraduate studies before you can apply for a master’s degree scholarship. You can still apply in some even while in your final year. Most people intend applying for a foreign scholarship and doing so requires you provide the scholarship institution with all the necessary documentations they ask, hence, “starting early” is the number one prerequisite to applying for a scholarship.
Types of Master’s degree scholarship
Master’s degree scholarships come in different forms. In some, the host institution, faculty or department finances the program, or, they are the proxies through which some other institutions or establishments sponsor the scholarships, when this is the case, you will be applying for the scholarship alongside your graduate program. So, what this means is that the body in charge of the scholarship will announce available scholarships in a particular program, the number of these scholarships are most times limited and are only awarded based on merit. So, while applying for such a program, you are at the same time applying for the scholarship slot. If you are unsuccessful with your application, you have lost both the admission and scholarship.
Another form of this type of scholarship is one where you indicate your interest to apply for a scholarship as you fill your master’s degree application form. In this type of application, if you did not get the scholarship, you might be lucky to be admitted to the institution. I experienced this when I applied for Erasmus mundus scholarship to study advanced robotics in 2018, and when I applied to study at the Abbe school of photonics Jena Germany. What this means is that you still have the choice of progressing with the study, but you have to finance your studies yourself or get another scholarship grant to finance your study.
Another form of the scholarship is the type whereby you can only apply for the scholarship once you’ve gained admission into the institution offering the scholarship. This type of scholarship requires admission into the institution as the first prerequisite to applying for the scholarship. Once you have gained admission and starts applying, some institution will require that you send same, sometimes more documents in addition to the ones you submitted while applying for admission. You have to be prepared for that if you are going for such scholarship.
The next one is the type of scholarship that is sometimes called a “Grant”. A grant is the type of scholarship where you are offered some money to support you studies. You can find a lot of this kind of scholarship in Europe, especially Germany. By the way, Germany has a lot of scholarship opportunities.
Value of Master’s scholarships
The value of master’s scholarship differs, some cover part of your tuition, some cover all tuition fees, some cover both tuition and living expenses, and some cover both your travel fare to the host country institution as well as tuition and living expenses, a good example of this is the Erasmus mundus scholarships. Also, some scholarships will only some amount of money to support your expenses in general.
How to apply for a scholarship
Make your research: the internet is full of websites that have information about the various institutions that offer master’s degree scholarships. I will be writing an article listing the various websites where you can find various scholarship links. You can as well visit the institution of your choice and navigate to their tuition and fees page on their website to know if they have scholarship opportunities for their students. There are popular organizations out there that offer international scholarships, like DAADS, ERASMUS MUNDUS, FULLBRIGHT, MEXT, etc. you can check them out to know what they can offer you. Make your research, choice a school and a course of study.
Prepare your documents and start application very early: it is always advised to apply early, considering the fact that some of the process can be tedious, you wouldn’t want to be left with little time to make other necessary preparations. The documents you need to keep handy include:
Your international passport, make sure it is still valid up to 6 months before you start to apply.
Start applying for your transcript, this process might take a long time if you are in a country like Nigeria, so you have to start as early as possible. If you are still an undergraduate during application, notify the institution on your current status, they will advise you on what to do.
Get your certificate or statement of result handy
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Prepare to write English language proficiency test like TOEFL or IELTS if you think you will need it. Or you might get letter from your undergraduate school to serve as a waiver, please note that, not every institution will accept that. Most of them prefer an international test. Meanwhile, students from certain countries sometimes are not required to submit such tests (students whose native language is English). Sometimes, the institution will organize an interview for you to test your proficiency in English language, a good example is the University of Messina Italy, I had the experience myself.
Prepare to write GRE or GMAT
You may need your secondary or high school results
You might need letter of identification or residence
Please note that some scholarships require you undergo a test which is given to you by the host institution, I know Skolkovo Institute of science and technology does that. you have to be prepared for this.
Once you have all necessary documents, then get a valid email address, mailing address and phone number for correspondence. Start applying, and once you have applied, make sure you reply all mails ASAP. Ask questions in whatever you do not understand, the organizers are always ready to attend to your questions, they are paid for that.
I hope you now have enough information to embark on this journey, I wish you success, and hope to get feedback from you.