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Study abroad : Applying to University

Scholarships: all you need to know

The cost of studying abroad is a big worry for many. Scholarships may be the answer.

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When applying to university, one of the biggest decisions most students need to make is how they are going to pay for it. There are a number of options that you may have when it comes to funding your journey through higher education, these differ depending on what and where you’re studying. 


Unless you are fortunate enough to be able to fund your studies on your own, most students go down the path of getting a student loan or scholarships. While there is a lot of information about applying for a student loan, here we focus on how you apply for a scholarship. 


We take a look at what you should do if you decide to go down this route. 


What is a scholarship? 


A scholarship is a form of financial support in which the university, or another organisation, offers to pay for the cost of your studies in some way. This is usually awarded based on academic merit or potential and can be a great way to help finance your studies. Universities look at how well a student has done in their previous education, or how well they think they might do at university, when deciding who to offer a scholarship to.   


Scholarships come in different forms, with some covering the whole cost of your tuition and others only paying for a certain amount. 


Many believe that you have to be offered a scholarship to get one, however, you can actually apply for them yourself. Universities or third parties offer them for a number of different reasons and it’s a good idea to see if this may be something you could benefit from. 


Decide what and where you want to study 


It’s important to know what and where you would like to study before looking into scholarships. With so many universities and countries to study in, the scholarships available to you will differ depending on where you decide to go.  


Looking into different universities you may be interested in and finding the perfect course for you is certainly the first step when it comes to applying for scholarships.  


Consider your other finance options 


It’s very important that you don’t choose a university or course based solely on the chance that you will be accepted for a scholarship. While anyone can apply for them, universities and other organisations can only offer scholarships to a limited number of students, so it’s a good idea to have other options in mind.  


As previously mentioned, the most popular way of funding university for many students is with a student loan. The type of loan available to you depends on what country you’re studying in but most will offer some form of loan for both domestic and international students. 


If you are thinking about paying the full cost at the beginning of your studies, you may need to consider what this means. You or your family may be able to cover the costs of the tuition fees but does this include the cost of living or accommodation? There are so many areas to think about when it comes to financing your entire university journey. 


Understanding the other financial aid options before you look into scholarships can save you from being disappointed should your application be unsuccessful. How you’re going to fund university is a big decision to make and it’s often a good idea to talk to your parents about it if possible. 


What scholarships are available? 


Before you can apply for any sort of scholarship, you need to know what you can actually apply for. Your university and course you’re applying for will dictate what sort of scholarships are available to you, as well as other aspects like your grades. 


For example, some third parties might offer scholarships to students in particular fields like science or medicine and universities might have clear guidelines as to who they will and won’t accept. Contacting your university about this will get you the information that you’re looking for but you can also find this in the university’s prospectus


This is especially the case if you’re an international student, as things might be a little different for you. Some scholarships might be only available for domestic students but many universities offer scholarships specifically for some students that come from abroad.  


For example, if you’re looking to study in Canada, a popular destination for international students, you will find that many universities offer scholarships for international students only. The University of Alberta has their “International Student Scholarship”, offering a number of students with top grades going into their first year of undergraduate study on a student visa permit. 


The University of Glasgow in Scotland has a number of undergraduate scholarships available and over twenty International Leadership Scholarships available to postgraduate international students. Each scholarship is worth GBP 10,000 for discount in tuition fees.  





It can be difficult to find a scholarship at first but use our find a scholarship tool to help you. Once you’ve found what you can actually apply for, it becomes much easier. 




Like with any application, it’s vital that it is completed on time and in detail. Finding out more about what the university is looking for and making sure you have everything important written down can mean the difference between getting your scholarship and not.  


Find out if there is a deadline from your university and make sure that your application is given in before this time. While you may have looked into other financial options, you don’t want to have to use them just because you missed a deadline by a day or two.  


It’s no secret that university can be very expensive and the thought of how you are going to fund it can be a lot to think about. While there are a number of students that are lucky enough to be able to pay for it themselves, most go down the route of loans or scholarships.


When it comes to the latter, it’s certainly worth looking into whether or not you are eligible as it can make a huge difference.  


Funding university is about more than just your tuition fees though. Find out how much it can cost in some of the most popular countries to study abroad in. 

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