What if we told you the only thing getting in the way of your scholarship is… you?
Scholarship opportunities are plenty. In fact, they are everywhere. If you’re looking hard enough, you might just find the right one for you! However, while there are a gazillion scholarships available, it goes without saying that competition is tough. Especially in international scholarship applications. For reals.
Imagine thousands of students from around the world vying for a slot in the competition. Boy, you’ve got to come prepared. The sad reality is that many students unknowingly sabotage themselves in the application process—not because they’re unqualified, but because they fall in one (or all) of the so called “seven deadly sins” of scholarship applications.
You don’t have to fear. Today is the day of redemption. The University of Kent, one of the UK’s leading universities, got all seven scholarship don’ts listed down so you can do the right ones for your application.
1. Cramming your scholarship hunt
Every student has experienced cramming at least once in their lives. It might be writing a paper, reviewing for an exam, or both. (If you have not crammed a thing in your life, please message us. We’ve got important questions.) It’s a universal truth. However, scholarship applications are a different ball game! With scholarship on the line, cramming is a mortal sin.
Instead of passively looking for study grants, be proactive and set a dedicated time for your scholarship search. The more time you spend on research, the more options you’ll find. It also gives you ample time to inquire and apply instead of beating the deadline last minute.
Requesting more information, processing requirements, and submitting the application itself all take time. So research scholarships early! (At least a year prior to your intended study date.)
Repeat after me: Thou shall not cram your scholarship applications.
2. Assuming you’re qualified
Here’s a fact: not all scholarships are for you. That hurts but it’s true. And it’s okay! Before going all out and spending your precious time applying for scholarships, read the eligibility requirements! Are you what they’re looking for?
Scholarship providers give study grants for specific types of students. While this could limit your scholarship options, it increases your chance of getting a scholarship fit for you. It helps you narrow down options based on your skills and interests so you don’t go crazy applying to every single scholarship that comes your way.
Some of the most common eligibility requirements:
- Field of study
- Academic level (undergraduate, masters, etc.)
- Academic records (e.g. grade requirement, proficiency test scores)
3. Skipping the paperwork
Okay, we get it. Preparing the necessary documents for a scholarship application may seem like a tedious task. To some extent, it actually is. But there’s no question that this “tedious task” can either make or break your application. So don’t just shrug it off and organize your portfolio early!
Nothing spells r-e-a-d-y more than an applicant with complete documents at hand. Preparing it early gives you enough time to check which documents you already have and which ones you still have to request. Especially given that scholarships abroad require more paperwork than local scholarships.
Some key documents for scholarship applications include:
- Essays of intent or a personal statement
- Letters of recommendation or references
- Proof of eligibility
- Test scores and certificates
- Parental financial information (e.g. tax returns)
4. Giving it a quick glance
Eligibility, check. Requirements, check. Now it’s time to submit your application! The question is, how many times have you proofread your application? If you answered once or twice, forget about it. Don’t submit your application… just yet.
By proofread, we mean carefully reading and re-reading your scholarship application to make sure all information is correct and complete—from your name to the name of your scholarship provider. #important
Proofreading tips to remember:
- Check for correct spelling and grammar
- Remember to sign and date your application
- Ensure all required fields/sections are completed
- Ask others to proofread your work (e.g. friends, teachers)
- Double check for consistency (same information all throughout)
5. Not following instructions
We don’t like stating the obvious but this one’s really, really important: follow the instructions. Whether it’s a kindergarten activity or an international scholarship application, this three-word command is important.
Sticking to word limit for the essay, sending only the requested documents, and submitting the application in the right format at the right time are just some of the commonly overlooked instructions you need to follow. You don’t want to get penalized (or worse, get rejected!) for not following instructions, right? We thought so, too.
When submitting international scholarship applications, triple check whether the deadline is due on PH standard time or other time zones.
6. Writing that no one understands
So you crafted the perfect scholarship essay, organized the best portfolio, and proofread your application a hundred times. What’s next? You make sure scholarship providers will understand your work. Yup, you read that right.
Scholarship applications are meant to be read. That is, if you want it accepted. This means a crucial part of your work is ensuring everything you submit is written or printed clearly. Especially when you fill out documents by hand. Rule of thumb? Ask two or three people to read it for you. Just to be sure!
7. Having no backup plan
FYI, submitting your application in person or via email to the scholarship provider is not the end of your application. Coming up with a contingency plan is a.k.a. bracing yourself for a worst case scenario. After all, anything can happen. Think documents getting mixed up or lost, or internet servers crashing or being hacked. When unexpected things like these happen—no matter how unlikely—you’ll be grateful you have a backup plan ready to secure that scholarship.
What’s in a backup plan?
- Submitting your application well in advance of the deadline
- Sending your application via registered email and secure connection
- Making copies of your application (especially if you submitted it online)
If you think about it, applying for scholarships doesn’t have to be so hard and stressful. After all, you already have what it takes to seize that scholarship abroad. Just be extra cautious with these 7 deadly sins in scholarship applications and you’re all set to go!
You already know the tips and tricks. Now it’s time to score that dream scholarship abroad. Check out plenty of scholarship opportunities in the world’s best universities like the University of Kent. For more tips and advice, head to our Study Abroad blog section at Edukasyon.ph now!