Our resident expert on scholarships, Ekaterina Sysoeva, gives you all the best tips to nail your next opportunity.
More students are starting to consider applying for scholarships to pursue higher education abroad. However, sometimes people may have idealised expectations of what the process is going to look like.
In this article one of our writers shares her experience of mentoring students during their university application process. Ekaterina talks about the common traits shared by those students who receive the scholarships and those who don’t.
What’s The Deal With The Scholarships?
For the last couple of years, I’ve been consulting many students on the university application process. Since such countries as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have big price tags for their educational programmes, many students consider scholarships and financial aid as a way to offset the tuition fees.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are certain types of students who contact me to request information about my services and applying for scholarships. Do any of these examples sound familiar?
My Favourite Type of Clients
“Hey, Kate! I’m thinking of applying to an American college. I’m pretty much ready to start whenever you are.
I’ve already compiled a list of achievements for the Common app and could do with some help searching for scholarships. Since there’s still plenty of time before the deadline, I’m ready to work on my portfolio. When can we start?”
“Hi! I’ve heard that international students can apply for scholarships to study abroad. Is it even worth applying?
“I’ve heard it’s super competitive and I don’t even know if it makes sense to start. From your experience, did students with a similar profile get the funding?”
I’m Not Gonna Change Who I Am
“Hello! I’d like to ask if I have a chance of securing a scholarship with my current level of English. It’s intermediate really. I have a 5.5 on my IELTS General.
“Could you find me a scholarship that doesn’t require a higher score. No? I need to get at least 7.0? Oh, then I guess it’s not gonna work.”
I’m Getting There But Don’t Rush Me!
“Hey Kate, do you have any internships for architects and artists? Where can I find them? I’m thinking of studying abroad but first I feel like I could work on my work experience. Any help would be appreciated.”
I Simply Want To Travel Abroad For Free
“Hi, I need a scholarship to study abroad. What are my strengths and academic achievements? I really enjoy playing the guitar, that counts, right?”
I Need It Yesterday
“Are there any scholarships to fund my studies that start in a month?”
“I received a partial scholarship and need $30,000 more. Can you help me?”
“I’m AT THE university but I ran out of the scholarship money. I need another grant ASAP.”
All jokes aside, these are the real conversations I’ve had with some of my followers. Some of them went on to become my clients. Others needed a bit more goal-setting and career planning before we could crack on with the application process.
Working with people of all backgrounds has helped me get a better understanding of the qualities that drastically improve a candidate’s chances of success. To summarise the qualities of students who do get the scholarships, here are my observations.
Successful Students Genuinely Want To Study Abroad
When it comes to achieving goals, it’s really important to know your WHY. Sometimes clients want to apply for scholarships simply because they want to live abroad.
If you are thinking of immigration, full-time education may not be the best option since it requires a great deal of commitment and upfront work both from the consultant and the client.
If a student wants to apply abroad but has a vague understanding of why they need it, this can be easily fixed through conversations, reflection, and goal setting.
Successful Students Are Proactively Searching For More Information
What sets these students apart from the rest is that they are hungry for information.
Successful students make the most of all the information they can get hold of including university-specific events, educational fairs, free consultations, etc.
It’s also a good idea to talk to the alumni of those universities or programmes you are thinking of applying to.
Successful Students Are Not Afraid Of Trying Again
These students are ready to own up to their mistakes. They understand that the outcomes of applying abroad depend on many factors so there’s no point in blaming yourself for not getting in.
A healthier approach is to re-evaluate what went wrong and try again next year. In the meantime, you may want to consider working on your academic profile to really wow the admissions office next time.
Be Respectful Of The Process
“You need to treat the exams with respect,” said our college’s director during the final exam preparation week.
Since then I’ve incorporated this piece of advice into my client work. I always share this idea so that the students try to grow respectful of the application process.
Make Time Your Friend Not Your Enemy
When someone asks me about the best time to start preparing for university admission, I explain that the more time there is at hand, the better.
If you have time before the application period, make sure to focus on building your portfolio. Consider getting more experience in volunteering, social events, and projects.
Evaluate your hard and soft skills that are important for the major of your choosing.
And really start thinking about the mission you want to share with the admissions office through your personal statement.
The Decision Needs To Come From You
There are two types of motivation, namely, intrinsic, and extrinsic.
Extrinsic means that it comes from the outside. It may be imposed by norms, expectations, and prejudice. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from within the person. It is driven by my genuine interest and person’s curiosity.
Make sure that applying abroad is your decision. This will help overcome challenges that may appear on the way.
Be Ready To Change Quickly
If we are talking about the requirements for university and scholarship admission, we need to be ideal candidates in order to get the offer. However, our current achievements may be enough to impress the selection committee.
Be ready to change! Peruse the information presented on the website and see which extracurriculars will make your application stronger.
Since more students are applying for scholarships every year, scholarship commissions are facing a greater challenge of selecting the best scholars.
To really maximise your chances, remember to get a sense of what they’re looking for in a candidate, contact previous scholars to learn information first hand, and check that your academic goals are aligned with the institutions.
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