In our present century, numerous scholarships abound that students or prospective students can maximize to further their education. According to a recent study by National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, only one of ten undergraduate aspirants is able to bag a scholarship for a bachelor’s degree. Even with a GPA of 3.5-4.0 on a 4.0 scale, only 19% of students qualify to receive scholarships given by the colleges. In our previous article titled; “6 Things Every Prospective University Student Should Know“, we discussed some of the vital factors that increases one’s chances of getting a scholarship or outright job after graduation.
Formal education is vital, especially in our present century. However, it also requires a lot of financial investment particularly if you are looking at studying in a foreign country. The best shot you have at gaining your desired quality education irrespective of its expensiveness is securing a scholarship or going for student loans. Thinking of applying for a scholarship now or in the future? Here are five must-knows for scholarship application;
NOT ALL SCHOLARSHIPS ARE FOR YOU – As much as this may appear unimportant to you, it is a very vital fact to take note of. Every scholarship is unique and has a select category of students they are seeking to select. For instance, athletic scholarship s look for students that are high-performing athletes as well. This, of course, is a simple example that one can easily deduce without being told. But this deduction is not always easy when it comes to general non-athletic scholarships.
Under this latter category, other factors come to play. Sometimes, even the scholarship bodies mask the true qualities they require in prospective recipients. This way, it allows to make for originality and easier selection process. Figuring out what their unspoken needs are is vital to knowing whether or not you are the best fit for the scholarship. However, this can only be possible if you make adequate research and possibly get in touch with past recipients. When you do and find that their unspoken needs are not what you represent, it may be wise for you to drop it and look for other scholarships that you are the best fit for.
RECOMMENDATION LETTERS CARRY A LOT OF WEIGHT – Most scholarship applications require a letter of recommendation (LOR). If a scholarship application requires a recommendation letter, then understand that the LOR carries a lot of weight to your full application. Ensure you always go for individuals that can write a strong recommendation letter for you. Select the best person than can speak highly and at length about your abilities; one who is enthusiastic about your aspirations and shares your dreams of attaining them.
If possible, ensure you send your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose/Essays/CVs or any other supporting materials for the scholarship application to your referees. Ensure they include the key points in these materials within the recommendation letter. For instance, you talked about your community service engagement in your application materials; it would be great if this also reflects in your recommendation letter for coherence sake.
In some instances, scholarship bodies and schools are usually specific on what they expect to see in your recommendation letter. Therefore, ensure that you consider the peculiarity of each school and scholarship body.
YOUR ABILITY TO SELL YOURSELF MAKES THE DIFFERENCE – A lot of people find it difficult to toot their horns in ordinary circumstances. There is always fear of being tagged a braggart. However, in scholarship applications, it is an absolute necessity to be able to sell yourself as the best candidate for the award. Think of it this way; if you don’t tell the scholarship bodies what your achievements are, how would they know them to evaluate you? The truth is that nobody else will blow your trumpet to them, if you don’t do so yourself.
REVIEWERS SEE WHAT YOU DO NOT SEE – As wonderful as you think your essays are, you need someone else to vet it for you. You should not do it alone. Get a second opinion on it, especially from previous recipients of the same scholarship you are aiming for. Reviewers are there to see what you did not see including the little spelling errors and/or ambiguous or irrelevant statements. The good thing about having your scholarship essays reviewed by past recipients is that it indirectly increases your chances of being selected due to stellar application essays.
VOLUNTEER/COMMUNITY SERVICE ENGAGEMENT HISTORY IS OFTEN A PREREQUISITE – Most scholarship boards are particular about voluntary services. They want to be sure that you are empathic and can give back to your community upon return. If you plan to apply for a scholarship in the nearest future, think of volunteering more. Become an active member of some non-profit organizations that align ith your passion. This activity will give you the backing you need and increase your chances of being selected.
Are there other crucial factors that you think any scholarship aspirant ought to take note of? Let us know in the comment section. Meanwhile, don’t forget to like and share this article if you found it useful.