The basics
Study abroad : Student Finances

Tips on how to get that scholarship

Would love to study abroad but the exorbitant fees are holding you back? Apply for a scholarship! We share some tips on acing the scholarship here.


Studying overseas is by no means a cheap endeavour. However, it is still possible with the help of scholarships. Here, we share some useful tips to help you score that scholarship. These tips also work for grants and bursaries. 


Be ahead of the game

Give yourself ample time when sourcing for the right scholarship. Putting together a successful application also requires hard work, and given how competitive scholarships can be, starting early would put you ahead of your peers. Furthermore, your teachers/tutors might take longer than expected with that character reference or obtaining the required documents for that application might be a lengthy, complicated process.


Do your research

If you’ve already decided on the course and the country in which you would like to study that course in, start your research with a general internet search for scholarships available in that country for international students or ones that are catered specifically for students from your country. Go through the websites of the universities that you’ve shortlisted thoroughly for government-aided schemes in both your native country and the country that you want to study in.

Don’t forget to also look for privately-awarded scholarships that fund your chosen degree or match certain criteria such as your language, gender, religion, interests, financial need or society membership.

Brainstorm other relevant organisations such as potential employers in related industries, trusts, charities and research bodies and visit their websites to check if they award scholarships or any form of financial assistance to students.

Scholarships come from a large range of sources. For instance, one in five international students in America is funded by their college or university while 7% are funded by their home government, 1% by the US government and 2% by other sources in the student’s host country.

Always do thorough research on the cost of tuition fees and living expenses at the universities that you’ve shortlisted to ensure that you can afford to go there, even with financial help. Remember to approach university departments or school advisers directly for more information.


Check the fine print

As with any agreement or contract that you get into, it’s imperative that you always check the terms and conditions that come with a scholarship. Scholarships may cover all of your tuition fees and living expenses or more likely just a portion of your tuition fees. Some might have special conditions such as a clause stating that you must work at a particular company or country upon graduating.


Apply for lots

Competition is getting stiffer each year for scholarships. We suggest that you apply to any scholarship programme that you’re eligible for to maximise your chances. Searching for lesser-known, smaller awards and competitions is a great idea, every little bit helps!


Sell yourself

Every application will have a personal statement and this is the most important part. It is also the best opportunity for you to highlight the skills and abilities that set you apart from the crowd. Always check and triple-check your what the sponsor is looking for and then tailor your statement to address to those needs.

Be passionate and positive and remember to give specific examples of how your achievements have made a positive impact. Include any voluntary work that you have, your work experience, awards and hobbies. It would be even better if you these experience have a common theme, for instance, you work at an animal shelter, you do pet-sitting during your breaks and intend to take an undergraduate programme in veterinary sciences.

Universities will want to know how you will contribute to their institution during your studies while private scholarship sponsors might be more interested in your long-term potential and leadership abilities.



Clean up your online presence

Scholarship sponsors will probably google your name and try to find out more about you. Be sure to get rid of any embarrassing or offensive content from your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media account that you possess. Project a professional image through channels such as Linkedin, Youtube and eLance.


Thinking of studying abroad? Browse the our list of universities and their respective courses here! 


Useful links

10 universities you can study abroad in English

How to find accommodation for your year abroad

Why you should apply for a dual study-intern programme

Differences between scholarships, bursaries & grants explained

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About Author

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.