Winning a scholarship is not a simple thing to do considering there are a LOT of scholarship seekers and there are only a FEW scholarship awards out there. In numbers, we are talking about millions of students vying for only thousands of available scholarships. How then can you improve your chances in winning a scholarship?
Find scholarships that only few know about
Sometimes, knowledge is key in winning a scholarship. In your months of searching, you must have come across popular worldwide scholarships and flagship scholarships of popular universities. These scholarships are great to apply to but extremely competitive to get. There is one type of scholarships that you might have better chances of winning: school-specific or department-specific scholarships. School-specific scholarships are good scholarships to apply to because they are targeted to your field of study and more importantly, fewer people know about these scholarships because they are not as easy to find as university-wide scholarships and not as known as popular scholarships. Generally, there is lesser competition in applying for these scholarships, thereby increasing your chances.
Apply only for scholarships that are best matched to you
This advice involves finding out which scholarships are best matched to you. In an ideal situation, you would want to apply to a scholarship program that is targeted to your country of origin, whose eligibility requirements matches your qualifications, and if possible, whose priority fields of study are related to your degree/research/experience.
Stand out in your scholarship application
Since scholarship application is quite competitive, your application must stand out above the rest. This means you must not only meet the scholarship criteria set by the scholarship provider but exceed it. The key here is to know the specific criteria set by the scholarship provider and make it work to your advantage. Once you know their criteria, you can find creative ways to to highlight the strengths of your scholarship application.
For example, if you don’t have very good academic grades, you can highlight relevant extra-curricular activities in your personal motivation letter. In another example, you can do a little extra research about the current areas of focus of the scholarship provider because sometimes, students are chosen based on their chosen field of study or research – if it aligns with the scholarship provider’s core mission/themes. It is also useful to know the profiles of previous scholarship recipients; it will give you an idea of the kind of student that the scholarship providers are looking for.