If you are an international student, chances are that you would be finding the financial aspects of overseas education rather daunting….and a scholarship could go a long way in helping you pay your way through college! We bring you some basic info on how to go about getting a scholarship.
- What are the different kinds of scholarships available?
There are various types of scholarships available, and you can apply for the one/s that you are eligible for. Do apply for as many as possible, since you do not know which one you will end up getting!
Merit-based Scholarships are available to those who can demonstrate excellence in a specific academic area or interest, and may offer full or partial tuition payments. You may get these based on your grades, or if you have a special interest or a specific talent. Such scholarships are also offered for students from specific ethnic backgrounds, and there may be merit scholarships offered only to women.
Need-based Scholarships are awarded based on your financial background, and offer assistance for studies when students or their guardians cannot afford tuition and fees. To assess your financial status, the scholarship body will possibly look at your family’s income level, tax statements, citizenship, the number of members in your household, their employment status or your country of origin. Note that you could qualify for both need and merit-based scholarships, as one is not dependent on the other.
Athletic Scholarships are offered to athletes of a high caliber by universities who wish to recruit them for their athletic teams. Full-ride scholarships for athletes are quite common, but students will need to keep up with their rigorous training and not let their grades slip at the same time.
Individual Scholarships are usually related to a particular level of studies such as undergraduate studies, or to a specific program, such as engineering or nursing studies. These may be awarded by the school or perhaps a private donor who is affiliated with the university in some way and has set up a trust for this purpose.
Scholarships for Ethnic Minorities are designed to help minorities or genders, or students from certain countries receive education.
University Scholarships & Grants may be automatically given when you apply. Your academic adviser is the best person to turn to for help. He or she will recommend different types of scholarships you qualify for, which could be based on academic records, athletic ability, special talents, or financial need.
Government Grants & Scholarships may be a great source of financial aid for international students. Contact your country’s embassy to learn more.
- What exactly will be covered by my scholarship?
You scholarship will cover your basic costs of studying, either wholly or partially. Some scholarships can also cover the cost of your books, and in some cases, even a portion of your living costs while studying. Note that scholarships often come with stipulations from the donor and can have strings attached. You will probably be required to maintain a certain grade point average throughout your studies to continue receiving financial aid. In the case of athletic scholarships, you will need to keep up your athletic performance as well as your studies.
- When will the scholarship money be awarded?
Usually, scholarship money is paid out in a lump sum before the start of the semester. In some cases, it can be distributed in installments throughout the year. It may either be paid to you or to the school bursar’s office directly.
- How should I apply for Scholarships?
It is quite a time-consuming process to apply for a scholarship, and you must do it systematically so that you do not miss out on any information.
- First of all, make a list of all the scholarships you are eligible for.
- Note down the application deadlines against each, and note down all the documentation required for each. Remember that each document may need endorsement, so do not leave this till the last minute.
- For some documents, like financial statements, you may need to apply to an agency (like CIBIL in India) and they may take a couple of weeks to get back to you.
- You may need recommendation letters from teachers, peers, or people with whom you have worked or undertaken an internship.
- Once you have collected all that you need, fill out your application carefully. Do not do this in a hurry. Be honest.
- Spend time on your essays as they can make or break your application!
- Before you send the application, ensure that all the documentation that should be enclosed is in place. Send originals only if specifically requested, or if it is easy to get more originals (like financial statements).
- Keep Xerox copies of all the applications you have sent out. If called for an interview, you should remember what you have written as you will be questioned on it.
- Do apply for as many scholarships as you can, so that you have a better chance of receiving one!
Once you have sent out your application, keep your fingers and toes crossed….and here’s wishing you good luck with getting the scholarship you deserve!