It is no secret that education has truly become a pretty pricey deal these days. It really isn’t something that everybody can afford. This is where chances and opportunities like grants and scholarships come in. They make the lives of students much easier and less expensive.
The process of finding a scholarship, checking eligibility, sending in an application and finally getting the scholarship may seem a bit tedious to those who are new to the process.
It really may seem like a lot of work. However, once you know how you have to go about with it, things do tend to look a bit easier.
Here is a complete guide for those of you who are looking to apply for a scholarship to make your student lives a tad bit easier.
The basics of scholarships
What better place to start learning about something then from the bare basics.
A scholarship is a form of monetary fund that a particular organization may give a student on the basis of particular standards. These standards could be anything like, for example, merit, talent, sports, gender, or sexuality.
Often, the words ‘scholarship’ and ‘financial aid’ are used interchangeably. However, there is one major difference between them. Financial aid generally mandates a student to pay back the money he or she gets after a certain period of time. It’s like an education loan.
Scholarships, on the other hand, generally do not require you to pay back the amount that you get. That is why it is also called as a monetary gift.
The organization that you gain the scholarship from pays a part of the amount or the entire amount that you would have to spend on your education.
Generally, paying the entire amount due for a student is rare but the gift amount that they do pay is pretty substantive. It could take a large burden off of the students.
Starting the search for scholarships
Your search for a scholarship can begin right from the institution that you’re studying in. Most schools and colleges have good access to resources and tools relating to scholarships.
You could enquire at your administrative office or even ask your faculty to gain more information regarding them.
You could also pay a visit to your local library to get books or postings relating to the same.
The easiest and most obvious way to find scholarships is the internet. It brings all details regarding scholarships right to your fingertips. What more could you ask for?
Some of the sites that stay well updated about scholarships are scholarships.com and fastweb.com. Scholarshipsinindia.com is a pretty good option for those who are looking for grants and education funds within India.
One thing that you should be aware of when you start your search is scammers. Often, giving scholarships and aids to students is used to fool people into paying up cash to scammers.
So steer clear of sites that ‘100% guarantee you financial aid’ or ask for money to actually register for the scholarship. There is a high chance that they might be scammers.
Who is eligible for scholarships?
The answer to this is simple. Almost everybody.
There are a variety of scholarships being handed out to students for various purposes based on particular organizations’ standards.
Right from merit scholarships to scholarships for those from the LGBTQ+ community, you can apply for any of them if you have the ability to meet set standards. There are even scholarships that are given for ‘weird talents’. Can you believe that!?
This being said, you getting a scholarship majorly depends on you finding the best scholarship option for yourself.
What is the right time to apply for a scholarship?
Again, very simple answer, whenever you feel you need it.
There is often a misconception that scholarships are only for colleges, universities or studies abroad. This is not true. Various organizations provide scholarships to students who need it right from the level of schooling.
When it comes to school scholarships, the concept does tend to have more prominence in secondary and senior secondary classes. Examinations are conducted by organizations to offer scholarships to students at the school as well as college level.
If you are currently a college-going student, there are various scholarships that your own college might offer if you score a certain grade. If that doesn’t work out, you could still browse the web to find organizations who offer scholarships whose set standards you could meet.
Students who aim to study abroad also have great options. QS Scholarships, India Global Leaders Scholarship and Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian students are some of the ones that you could check out.
Applying for a scholarship
Once you find a scholarship suited for yourself and you wish to apply for, you will have to go through the filtration process set by the organization.
The most common components of the filtration process of organizations are the typical application forms, exams, essay questions and interviews.
Here are some tips and tricks regarding the above-mentioned processes that could help you get past them.
When it comes to filling up application forms for scholarships, there is one and only one tip that I have to give you – READ THE FORM PROPERLY!
Sending in misplaced or wrong data, not sending in the required documents, not writing the details in capitals (as asked for) are some of the rookie mistakes that many people make. So try and avoid them as much as possible.
Keep your application tidy (no pen marks, smudges or scratches) and attach the documents or proofs that the organization asks for.
Don’t take the exams that they conduct for scholarships lightly. They can really prove to be of benefit. Make sure you are well-prepared for the test. You could even try solving some of the past year papers for the said scholarship examination.
When it comes to scholarship exams, your effort and practice is the only thing that will help you achieve what you want to achieve. So give it your best shot.
Now, essays can be a part of your application form, exam or could even be a separate send-in. It is basically to test the research capability and creativity of the candidate.
Brainstorm about the given topic as much as you can and have solid research backing up your statements.
The originality and creativity of your content is what matters most here.
There is no better way to know a person than to meet them face to face. This stage of filtration is generally conducted in highly competitive scholarship programs.
Prepare standard interview questions and appear as confident as you can throughout the course of the interview.
Dress and communicate professionally. A good suit, crisp answers and confidence could take you a long way.
Learn all about the various types of interviews.
Here’s hoping that this guide managed you to guide and motivate you to search and apply for scholarships that are of great benefit to you. Keep trying, keep exploring and don’t let the pressure or competition get to your head.
All the best, fellas!