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How not to lose your scholarship

Many prospective students give up their dream of studying abroad, scared by high living and accommodation costs. That’s where grants and scholarships come into play.

But you can easily be deprived of such financial aid over seemingly insignificant mistakes. We will tell you how not to lose your scholarship, and what you should pay utmost attention to when completing and filing your application.

Most common mistakes made by applicants

Failed to research the scholarship details. Every scholarship is different. It is up to you to  pay close attention to the information and profiles of former applicants. Take active part in all information sessions held by the institution. in order to get the hang of things and choose the options that suit you the most.

For example, Stipendium Hungaricum, a Hungarian state-provided scholarship, is awarded with reference to the applicant’s academic activity, scientific articles, and conference reports. By contrast, most US scholarship awarding commissions consider the applicant’s personality, ability to think out of the box, and win over people. In your motivation letter, emphasize not your achievements, but your plans and hobbies. Don’t feel embarrassed talking about your pursuits and life experience in admission interviews.

If you overlook such details in your motivation letters, achievements description, and interview, you risk missing out on a scholarship.

Failed to pay attention to official requirements. You can study the details of the scholarship, but fail to mention that it is awarded (like, for example, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Piet Rietveld Scholarship) only to applicants from low income countries (according to World Bank classification).

However solid your application is, it will not be satisfied if it does not meet the requirements.

Made a mistake in the submissions. Your profile suits the chosen scholarship like a glove, you meet all the requirements, but your application got stuck at the first stage. Most likely, there is a mistake in your submissions.

Competition for scholarships is intense, and the commission is unable to point out mistakes to all applicants. Check and recheck all documents before filing. It is especially crucial for state-provided scholarships.

Underprepared for the interview. The first application stage is over, and you received an interview invitation. Re-read all available information about the scholarship, and your documents, resume, and motivation letter, so you are ready to answer any questions regarding them.

Consider questions that may be asked in the interview, and plan your answers beforehand. You may find commonly asked questions on the Internet, and inquire about school-specific conversation topics in the scholarship applicant communities. 

Things to bear in mind when applying for scholarships

Filing term. Confirm the actual deadline for filing for a scholarship: it may change from year to year.

Applicant’s age. Besides minimum age, there may also be maximum age requirements. For example, applicants for Master’s scholarship under The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship program may not be older than 25 years.

Applicant’s citizenship. Certain scholarships are available only for particular countries, For example, POSCO Asia Fellowship, full scholarship covering education in South Korea, may be granted only to students from Asia.

Education. Scholarship may apply to one or several education stages. For example, requirements for receiving Holland scholarship, a Netherlands state scholarship, differ from school to school: in some it covers only Master’s studies, in others it applies also to Bachelors.

Professional experience. Find out about professional experience requirements for the first application stage. For example, Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals, a Swedish state-provided scholarship, requires that the applicant has at least 3000 hours of work experience. 

Things to pay attention to when completing the documents

Recommendation letters. Referees are usually asked to put their name and date on the letter, and seal it with the official seal of the organization. Sometimes the letter should be sealed in a separate envelope, sometimes the form is just sent to the referee by post. It’s preferable if the referee’s e-mail is modelled like, otherwise additional questions may arise.

Motivation letters. Standard motivation letters for many programs have a particular list of issues you should cover. It’s recommended to draft a separate motivation letter for each program and scholarship. The word/symbol count of such letters is also an important factor. If you accidentally exceed the limit, the remainder will be disregarded.

Forms. For some scholarships, you have to complete the online or PDF forms for all documents according to a common pattern; other programs do not set such requirements. In the former case, don’t forget to download up to date forms and pay close attention to the completion guidelines.

Translation and certification. Don’t forget to note the requirements to translated forms (who may translate the document, whether an apostille is required).

Filing method. Although most scholarships switched to receiving applications online, some still require mailing documents in hard copy. If this is the case, you should prepare all the documents at least two weeks before the submission date, to reserve time for delivery. Pay attention to the order in which the documents must be presented, and the requirements to signing the submissions.

When all the stages are completed, all that is left to do is wait for the application approval. If you have any doubt regarding completing your submission, seek assistance of StudyFree advisors. We will help you obtain a scholarship in your dream university.

Author: Victoria Potapova


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