For some people, studying abroad can be impossible because of the cost of tuition in foreign universities and colleges. However, there is some good news for you if you’re aiming at studying outside your country. There are many, many scholarships and grants available for students, like, thousands.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll be swimming in money, of course, but it’s an opportunity to learn how to be smart about money as well, so there’s that plus too.
There are many ways to get a scholarship for studying abroad and here are some steps that will definitely point you in the right direction.
The first thing you need to do is ask for help to those that are around you. Let them know about your plans and chances are that more than one will be willing to give you a hand. Talk to your university’s study abroad office, financial aid office, and your professors. They usually know about grants and scholarships that can suit you. It’s a good idea to go there in person and enquire. A face-to-face meeting will leave a better impression than a phone call or e-mail. Always make sure to ask about opportunities that they might know of.
You also have to do a lot of research on grants and scholarships. The more scholarships you can apply for, the more financial aid you will get. There are a number of scholarship resources you can explore, that include programs, schools, and other information that you will need. Some of the topics that you should focus on include:
- Scholarships or grants that are location-specific: these are created to encourage students to go to a certain place, be it a city or a country. These offers might be found directly with your university or the government of the country to where you would like to go to or even your home country; sometimes they have these in order to foster international relations.
- Scholarships and grants that are subject-specific: sometimes grants are scholarships are aimed at those that plan to pursue a certain filed or major. These can be extremely specific.
- Scholarships and grants that are student-specific: some scholarships and grants are awarded based on the students themselves; these factors can include race, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation or even nationality.
- Scholarships or grants that are provided by organizations: some non-profit organizations are involved in scholarships or grants to students that fit their criteria. Scholarships for LGBT students or for those with a specific descent, like Hispanic or Italian.
Like we mentioned before, it always a good idea to contact the institution that funds the scholarship or grant directly. This way you can get the details for applying and for the scholarships themselves; what they involve and their aim. It’s also a way to show that you’re not afraid to move forward and take the initiative, which is also a great plus.
You will also need to tweak and polish your resume. Keep it up to date and make sure to highlight any international experience you may have. Write a good cover letter, it is almost as important as your entire resume, they can be the one shot you have at explaining why you deserve the scholarship.
Focus on how you plan to use your knowledge in your life, both in and out of campus. Also, find out how that country typically organizes their resumes (they vary greatly between countries!) and cover letters, and follow that format.
When applying for a scholarship or grant, you will very likely need references, personal references, from people that know you from a professional and/or academic setting. It’s a good idea to let them know with a good amount of time in advance so that they have plenty of time to prepare.
Also, choose those with whom you have actually worked with, that way they can write an honest description of your work, particularly if it’s in the field you want to study. Remember to always be polite and respectful when asking for these references; you’re asking them to take valuable time to help you, and a follow-up thank you note is always a must.
Be sure to pay attention to the deadlines given for applications for scholarships and grants. Mark your calendar!
While it may be quite repetitive and tiring, it’s very important that you apply for those programs as quickly and thoroughly as you can. You will need a good amount of time and a good amount of patience, but it will likely pay off. Just make sure that you’re up to date with the requirements and have everything ready when sending in your applications. Also consider that if you apply for several grants, even if they’re small ones, they can add up and really help out with your tuition.
Don’t rush things. Don’t rush through your applications. Organize yourself so that you can take your time and make sure that the work you send in, really represents your skills, and not your rushed and last-minute work. Remember that only your best quality gives you a better chance for a scholarship or grant.
While having good grades isn’t always a must for scholarships, some of the best ones do require them. This is because they want to be sure that the person they’re giving the opportunity to serious about their studies, and not just looking for a chance to travel. If you’re planning on studying abroad on a scholarship, know that having good grades will improve your chances of being awarded one.
One very important aspect for applying for scholarships and most grants is they ask for a personal essay. These essays are an amazing opportunity for you to shine and show who you really are, and why you’re passionate about studying in another country. Those that endorse these programs want to make sure that their money is well spent and it is being used for a good purpose, so they want to see that the student that they’re giving it too deserves it and will appreciate the opportunity that is given to them.
Remember that applying for scholarships and grants takes time, effort, and patience, and if you do this with the right attitude and disposition, chances are that you will see positive results come your way.