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The basics
Study abroad : Student Finances

Dealing with the pressure of being a scholarship student

From applying, to getting and keeping a scholarship, we highlight the pressures involved and how to deal with them.

Scholarship application form on blue wooden table. There's the tip of a red pen on the form. Green leaves in the top left hand corner. Black notebook in top right corner.


Studying abroad is the dream of many international students. But it’s expensive, and without financial help, it can sometimes be difficult to achieve. Financial aid and funding are the only ways some international students can make their dream come true. With this comes the added pressure of applications and high academic achievement. We investigate how to deal with these issues. 


Financial help can come in many forms. For example, there are student loans. These loans are usually paid back after you graduate. There are also scholarships. Scholarships are awarded for high academic achievement and to help make higher education accessible to more students. This includes students who are from less privileged backgrounds. 


The whole process involved in getting and keeping a scholarship can impact student mental health. Let's look at the possible stresses and what you can do to deal with the pressure of being a scholarship student.  


Applying for a scholarship

There are many scholarships to choose from, but it can be difficult to know where to find an appropriate scholarship and where to start. We can help. Our scholarship tool can help you find a scholarship by destination, by subject, or by study level. 


As you can imagine, many students are applying for scholarships, which makes it very competitive. You should ideally be applying for more than one scholarship. Remember when you apply to make your personal statement unique for each scholarship. You need to show that your experience, knowledge and personality are relevant to the scholarship. In addition, there’s an interview to prepare for. 


Your application needs to stand out from all the rest of the applicants. All of this takes time, especially as it's done in English. This isn’t easy for every student and can be quite stressful. 


The good news is that with practice and top tips it becomes easier and quicker to complete applications. Interviews are also an excellent way to improve our communication and speaking skills. Even though it's stressful, the application process is also a great opportunity to develop yourself. 


You can find more information about top scholarships and other schemes here:


You’ve been awarded a scholarship

Ironically, once you’ve got a scholarship, your stress doesn’t end there. Perhaps you’ve been awarded one because you're a high achiever. You may also have achieved good grades so far. Maybe the scholarship was awarded because your financial situation means that you are eligible. Whatever the reason, there is pressure to maintain your grades and not to disappoint your family, the scholarship provider, and yourself. 


Many scholarship students experience something called ‘imposter syndrome'. This makes students feel that their success or achievements are not deserved because they don't believe they have the necessary abilities or talent. 


Students feel like a fraud and that one day someone will discover the ‘truth’, that they are not good enough. Many students also suffer from perfectionism, where they set themselves very high, unrealistic standards and judge themselves based on their ability to reach those standards. 


Both being a perfectionist and suffering from 'imposter syndrome' can put a lot of pressure on your mental health and well-being. There are things to help with this though. Talk to a friend or a mentor about how you feel. This can help you feel less alone, and you may find that others feel the same way too, especially fellow scholarships students. 


Lastly, perfection doesn’t exist and is an unattainable goal. Scholarship students don’t have to be excellent in all areas of life or study. Focus on doing your best and being good enough and avoid comparing yourself to others. We’re all very different.


Remember that scholarships don’t cover absolutely all of your study costs. They may help with tuition fees, accommodation and/or books, but they don’t cover everything else. You and/or your family still have the added stress of having to finance those things too. If your study visa allows it, you can work to help fund these extras. 


Losing a scholarship

Scholarships are awarded every year, which means you may need to apply again to receive more funding. The continuation of your scholarship funding can be dependent on several factors. The following may mean that you could lose your scholarship:

  • lower grade point averages
  • changing university
  • changing course
  • not using the money for the purposes for which it was given
  • any disciplinary problems


It is important that you fully understand the conditions of your scholarship to avoid breaking those conditions and potentially losing your scholarship. Provided you stay within the rules, you have nothing to worry about. 


Although the stresses faced by scholarship students have been highlighted in this article, this should not put you off applying for a scholarship. The benefits and opportunities they provide far outweigh any of the negative points mentioned above. 

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