As college education continues to get more expensive, the attainment of an educational qualification remains toughest for students with the most to gain i.e. students from low-income households. Scholarships ensure that more of such students can use their talent, drive & skill to get a university education from an institution of their choice, rather than choosing one based solely on cost. This leads to higher graduation rates & a stronger global workforce with a more secure future.
A scholarship is a form of financial aid provided to a student on certain conditions. Unlike loans, a scholarship is not granted based upon the general net worth of your family, though there are some that are targeted to disadvantaged populations. Scholarships are able to provide for a number of costs associated with your international education – from lab fees to books, accommodation, transportation, tuition, etc. Scholarships, coupled with student loans and other financial aid options, can make the dream of an international education an affordable reality. Moreover, scholarship money unlike student loans does not have to be paid back.
To avoid putting pressure on yourself and potentially missing out on an excellent scholarship, start your research early. The more time you can put into your scholarship search, the more options you’ll have. You’ll need time to research scholarships, request information and application forms, and complete your application by the specified closing date.
Scholarships are awarded by different entities for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. You can locate such entities either in your home country or in the country in which you intend to study. In general, there are more opportunities for scholarships at the graduate level.
Scholarships are awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. These criteria may include academic performance, athletic ability, artistic talents, volunteering in an organization, unique background (talent, skill or accomplishment), your need & even being a member of an organization.
Every scholarship will outline things the scholarship money can be used for. Reading, understanding & complying with scholarship regulations is the responsibility of each recipient of a scholarship. Scholarship money may be paid as a one-time payment or paid in installments every semester or academic year. It may be paid into your account or transferred to your education institution directly.
Some points a student should note while applying for scholarships :
- Thoroughly understand all the scholarship options available to you
- Apply early, since each may have extensive application requirements
- The more scholarships you apply to, the more money you can earn for your international education. Do not avoid a scholarship if it is highly competitive or has extensive application requirements or is awarding a lower amount of money. Do not forget that if you are awarded a few scholarships with a low award amounts, these can quickly add up to a substantial amount.
- Understand what each scholarship committee is looking for and tailor your application to the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the scholarship
- Submit your scholarship application to the exact requirements & guidelines laid out by the entity/individual awarding the scholarship
- Stay on track with scholarship deadlines
- Be organized
Types of Scholarships
Some of the most common types of scholarships that one is likely to encounter are :
- Merit-based Scholarships : These are scholarships based on a student’s academic record or extracurricular activities such as achievements in sports and service to the community
- Immutable or Student-specific Scholarships : These scholarships are for students who qualify based on factors such as gender, race, religion, family and medical history. There are a lot of niche scholarships in this category
- Destination-specific Scholarships : These are scholarships offered by public authorities, governments or universities to students from a particular country
- Subject-specific Scholarships : These are scholarships offered by some universities and colleges to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study
- Need-based Scholarships : These are scholarships targeted towards students facing financial constraints
- Athletic Scholarships : This scholarship is provided to top-notch sports professionals who will represent the university at major sports events, apart from their education
The Benefits of a Scholarship
- Scholarships provide you with the financial support to access the highest quality of education that you desire in the institution of your choice. Students can focus on their careers instead of thinking about how they will repay loans
- Receiving a merit-based scholarship gives you the recognition amongst your peers & makes you stand out. This gives you the confidence & motivation to challenge yourself to reach higher goals in your own life
- A scholarship makes your resume stand out. Being recognized by someone else for your achievements is sometimes enough to get you an interview with a future employer. Your accomplishment(s) will make you a better job candidate & give a boost to your career
- Being a recipient of scholarship(s) will encourage you to be philanthropic yourself & “give back” when you are financially able in future
With so many scholarship options available, searching for & choosing the right scholarship(s) can be a daunting task. Our consultants at Migratesmart are committed to helping you every step of the way, so that you can get the best out of your international student experience.