Study abroad financial aid or study grants come from a variety of sources. They could come from federal and state governments, individual college and universities, communities, organizations, employers to mention but a few. These study grants in most cases are free and do not need to be repaid. However, to get a study grant/scholarship, you will need to work a little hard. Since you are not the only one applying, then you should be in for a big competition. But do not worry as I will give you tips on how to apply successfully.
Completing a scholarship application form
For something that is so simple, its surprising how many students manage to get this part of the scholarship application process wrong. Application forms in general ask you specific questions, giving you areas to write your answers. Start by reading the questions, then reading them again, just like you would during examination. Copy out the questions, think carefully about your answers and jot down on a separate piece of paper. Once you’ve got answers to all the questions written down, carefully copy your answers over to the actual application form.
Make sure you answer every question, and pay attention to the size of the answer boxes. If you’ve written three-sides of A4 and the answer box only allows for a short sentence, you’ve probably gone overboard; the box sizes are there for guidance. Unless the application form specifically states that extra sheets of paper shouldn’t be included, it’s safe to guess that they won’t mind an extra couple of pages. Do not send them your entire life works, they won’t read it. Attaching your CV and personal statement is always a good move. Endeavor to be honest and truthful, especially if it asks you for specific facts such as finance information or qualification.
Writing your Personal Statement for Funding
Your personal statement is the key part of your application, and the one thing that will often make or break your application. Institutions will mull over each one carefully, whilst to charities and trusts, your personal statement is often the part they are most interested in. Taking the time to get it right is therefore absolutely paramount. Your personal statement should eloquently tell the potential funder why you would be a deserved receiver of the funds.
Writing the perfect personal statement is no easy feat, and there is no set formula. Whilst others can help you and give you advice, ultimately it is something that only you can write. With that in mind, talk about yourself, describing your skills and your passion for the subject, explaining that you have a genuine interest and love for the subject. Aim for between 500 and 800 words in length, make sure it reads well and there are no spelling mistakes within a five-mile radius.
Personal statements should be tailored specifically to each funding source. A personal statement for funding from a university or Research Council will focus heavily on academic achievements and passion for the subject. Because these scholarships are not means tested, you shouldn’t bring financial reasoning into your statement. Whilst the awarding panel may be touched by your story of financial hardship, they will ultimately be looking for somebody with academic prowess, so focus your writing on your skill set and achievements.
Unlike personal statements sent to the institutions, an application for funding from a charity should generally include a personal statement that explains why you have a deficit in funds. Whilst there are charities that reward academic success and award those with a proven track record, many more are interested in supporting those who are passionate about the subject, but due to financial issues, would not normally be able to complete the degree without struggle. This isn’t to say that they want to hear a talent show style sob story though. Talk about how you have exhausted other means of funding, such as career development loans or part-time work to self-fund. It’s also worth letting the charity know if you were unsuccessful with your application to a Research Council if you held exceptional grades.
Be careful when writing your statement to non-educational charities to avoid jargon and too much academic speech. A paragraph that demonstrates your knowledge of the subject wouldn’t go amiss, but charities are seldom made up of retired academics so don’t go too overboard.
These few scholarship tips should go a long way in assisting you prepare and send your scholarship application successfully. If you have any question, feel free to use the comment box below. Thanks