3 tips to help you win that postgraduate scholarship
A master’s degree may come with eye-watering fees, but don’t rule out your plan for an advanced qualification because of the upfront price. Many universities, governments and even private organisations offer postgraduate scholarships which can offer some respite.
Reports have shown that tuition fees for graduate studies have skyrocketed over the years. For instance, the cost of a master’s degree in the UK can set you back by £10,000 and £12,000 per year, but many other factors can affect the final cost of your education, including your major and length of studies.
Cost may be a major hurdle for many when deciding whether or not to pursue an advanced degree, but it’s worth noting that those with higher education levels tend to earn more. College Board, for instance, also notes that those with higher education levels are more likely to be employed and more likely to move up the socioeconomic ladder.
If you’re currently on the lookout for postgraduate scholarships, here are some things to keep in mind when applying:
Tackling the scholarship essay in your postgraduate scholarship application
Writing a winning scholarship essay can be daunting, but your essay is an ideal platform for you to highlight what makes you unique to the admissions committee.
It’s more than regurgitating what has already been said in your résumé, but a chance for you to explain in detail some unique insights into your accomplishments and future aspirations that will enhance your candidacy.
Be sure to re-read the essay statement you are being asked to write on and take the time to craft a compelling essay that would help the admissions committee remember you from the hundreds of other applicants. Keep in mind the criteria that would make you a compelling candidate for the scholarship that you’re applying for.
Make it a point to read previous winning applications; if you’re ever torn for ideas, the internet is filled with examples if you need a burst of inspiration on the different ways to tackle your essay.
Have a trusted friend or family member read your essay to help you spot any mistakes or loopholes in your writing, and to ensure that you’ve written an essay that you’ve been asked to respond to.
Choosing the best people for your references
References are an integral part of many postgraduate scholarship selection processes, which makes it essential that you pick them carefully; many scholarships typically require applicants to submit two.
Choose someone who has known you in your personal or professional capacity, and supply them with some basic information such as your résumé or CV, the requirements for the reference letter or its submission, in addition to the selection criteria for your scholarship so that they can best comment on your suitability for the award.
Give your referees enough time to complete their reference as they can best highlight what makes you unique and deserving of a scholarship.
Nailing the interview
Shortlisted for an interview? Don’t panic — being selected for the interview process, especially for renown scholarships that attract applicants from numerous countries — means that you’re a strong candidate.
Read up about popular scholarship questions and practice with friends, family members or people you trust to prepare you for the interview by asking you common and possible questions.
Scholarship interviews can seem like a traditional job interview; you can expect questions based on what you’ve written in your essay or the information provided in your résumé, in addition to questions such as tell us about yourself, what your strengths and weaknesses are, speaking about your leadership experiences or a time where you failed.
Apart from this, you’ll also want to deeply think about other possible questions such why you chose to apply for that particular scholarship, your future career goals, how your master’s degree will help you achieve your career goals, your plans upon completing your studies, how you plan to contribute to the scholarship community as an alumni, the values of the country you plan to study abroad in (if relevant) that you appreciate or wish to gain, to name a few.
At the end of the day, postgraduate scholarship applications can be stressful. By starting early, staying organised and asking for help when you need it, the stress will be well-worth the effort.