Applying and getting a scholarship to finance your study gives an immense joy that cannot be overemphasized. It gives you peace of mind to relax and carry out your study.
Scholarships are a great opportunity to fund your university journey, with some that covers all years of your university life, including tuition and living costs, as well as extra expenses every month.
There are more and more scholarships available to apply right now, and are extremely competitive. So, I am going to share with you how to find, apply and get the right scholarship for you, and tips on the application process to increase your chances of being awarded.
Types of Scholarships
First, I will like to explain the most popular types of scholarships.
1. Academic Scholarships
Academic scholarships are the most common form of scholarship. These scholarships are based on academic merit, and are hence also known as merit scholarship. Therefore, they have high GPA requirements and are, by nature, pretty competitive. With such high competitiveness, majority of these students have both strong academic as well as extracurriculars background. Scholarships like these are usually full scholarships and fund all years of one’s university education.
2. Athletic Scholarships
Athletic scholarships are for students with strong academics and physical skills. If you excel in sports or anything physical, you should definitely look into a scholarship like this. There is practically no limit as to what sport that you do, as there are a large variety of athletic scholarships, from volleyball to gymnastics or cheerleading.
3. Under-represented Groups/Minority Scholarships
Under-represented groups/minority scholarships are less well-known, but they are quite a few available. Some are catered to specific ethnic groups, some are catered to females, and they are known as scholarships for women. In the past, majority of university students are men, and scholarships like these have been created for young women that requires assistance to pay for university fees. If you are a female, scholarships like these are a great option for you, and they are also widely available. Going back onto the point of scholarships catered towards ethnic groups, even if you are part of a certain ethnicity, it is a good idea for you to apply as you will still be eligible for it. There are also scholarships catered towards refugees.
4. Extracurriculars Scholarships
Extracurriculars scholarships are for students who have average results. They do take academics into consideration, but mainly focus on other areas such as community service or leadership. Hence, if you have a strong background in these areas, then scholarships like these are a great consideration for you.
5. Creative and Arts Scholarships
Creative and Arts scholarships are for those who are talented in drawing, painting, design, music, or dance. Scholarships like these usually requires an audition process, where you have to perform for a panel of judges. They are mainly offered at universities with an Art, Music, or Dance programme, or any school that offers a creative field of study.
6. Unusual Scholarships
Unusual scholarships are less well-known, but are also widely available. It is a great way for you to be creative, and it usually involves some form of competition. For example, one friend of mine actually won a science competition that requires applicants to be creative and make a 5 minute video regarding any science topic. She did a video on Quantum Physics, and won the competition, and got a scholarship to fund her university tuition fees. So, do research on those as well.
How to Find and Apply for a University Scholarship
Now you’ve understood the most popular types and ready to find the scholarship that’s best for you, it is helpful to have universities in mind when finding scholarships to apply to. Majority of universities are very generous in offering scholarship opportunities for both domestic and international students. You can access these information easily through the universities’ official websites.
If you are a secondary/high school student, your school will most probably hold University or Scholarship Fairs every year. If not, you can Google: (Your country’s name), followed by “Scholarships and University Fair”. Most countries will hold Fairs like this once a year, where both local and overseas universities have a chance to showcase their school or scholarships offered. Do keep a look out for those as they are a very good opportunity for you to explore and get to know more about the different scholarships available. Normally there will be many booths present, each specific to a university or scholarship. There will typically be a spokesperson in charge of each booth. Talk to them and ask for their advice. They will be very happy to tell you more about the scholarships offered and answer your questions.
Your school’s Education & Career Counsellor would also be a good source. They are trained in this area to help students who are applying for University and Scholarships. Hence, they are very familiar with the different aspects of university/scholarship application, and are happy to guide you in this process. There are also lots of scholarships offered by sources other than universities, such as the Government (e.g. Teaching Scholarships), the Army (E.g. Military Scholarships), etc. These information are also easily accessible from their official website.
Scholarship Deadlines: When should you apply?
Different scholarships have different deadlines. As mentioned before, creating an Excel spreadsheet of the different scholarships that you will be applying for is a good way to keep track of the different deadlines and will prevent you from missing them. For some scholarships, you have to apply for them after your university application, and for others, you apply for them before your university application. It really depends on the type of scholarships that you are applying for.