The word scholarship brings with it many questions: how does one apply, who can apply, how does one differentiate between a fake and a real one, and so on and so forth. Everyone feels that most scholarships are out of bounds for an average student. And when it comes to scholarships to study abroad, it’s a different level of confusion altogether. 

There is a certain enigma associated with a scholarship; it feels like you have achieved something great all on your own. However, a large number of students as well as guardians are under the impression that one needs to be a top scholar to be eligible for one. This notion demolishes the enthusiasm of a student, as they feel that a scholarship is unattainable if they don’t achieve a high grade. The good news is, you do not need to have exceptionally high grades to be eligible for study abroad scholarships, as eligibility criteria vary for different educational institutions. 

Why are scholarships awarded?

It’s rare that a student hasn’t dreamt of studying on a scholarship. Usually, students opt for study abroad scholarships for undergraduate or postgraduate courses. While scholarships are prestigious, and in most cases extremely helpful, universities award scholarships for several reasons. The prime reason being to encourage talented students to pursue the education of their choice. They are awarded to ensure that financial constraints do not hold back deserving candidates from attaining the education they yearn for. 

Who can apply for a scholarship?

The simple answer is: anyone! Foreign universities offer scholarships based on predefined competencies and categories. Admissions to most universities are not merit-based, rather entrance-based, so preparation must be done accordingly. Different scholarships cover various aspects of education like tuition fees, lodging, travel, etc. You need to gather complete information before applying for one, to know which scholarship matches up to your competencies and requirements. There are a few common categories under which scholarships are offered: 

  • Sports-based (for students with excellence in sports and athletics)
  • Student specific (for students who categorize themselves on the basis of race, gender, family, religion, etc.)
  • Merit-based (for students eligible as per academic standing)
  • Subject-specific (students who pursue a specific field of study are often awarded grants)
  • Needs-based (students who come from certain economic backgrounds)
  • Destination-based (students who belong to a certain country may be granted scholarship/aid according to the education policies of the country)

Some prestigious scholarships that Indian students can apply for include:

  • Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship – UK
  • UBC International Leader of Tomorrow Award- British Columbia University, Canada
  • Australian Embassy Fully Funded Scholarships
  • Tata Scholarship – Cornell University, USA
  • Fulbright Scholarship – 160 participating countries
  • Chevening Scholarship – UK
  • Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship – St John’s College, Cambridge

How to apply?

There is a well-defined process for applying to a foreign university. Being aware of eligibility criteria, colleges and courses, getting your priorities right, understanding your current situation, everything needs to be taken into account before applying for scholarships to study abroad.  The process of applying for scholarships and grants can be tedious. One should always seek professional guidance from an expert education counsellor as they know the best route to achieve what you desire. 

The Career Success Coaches at LaunchMyCareer have in-depth knowledge about admission procedures and provide complete hand-holding in college/subject selection, eligibility criteria, applying for scholarships, and how to go about it in a systematic manner. 

Moreover, a few general steps must be considered when planning to study abroad:

  • Start applying in October – November, a year before you plan to take admission. The admission process begins early and you need to have sufficient time to prepare. 
  • You need to appear for the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) entrance exam. SAT is a test administered by the College Board for all students seeking admission to undergrad courses in the US and Canada. Some universities in Australia and the UK also accept SAT scores. 
  • Keep your academic and personal profile strong. Your performance in grades 9, 10 and 11 might also be taken into consideration at the time of admission.
  • Try to participate in co-curricular activities and sports as much as you can. Undertaking internships relevant to your course also helps. Many universities take note of your achievements and participation along with your grades.
  • Take notes from alumni of foreign universities as they can share tips and tricks on how to crack the admission process. 
  • When applying for scholarships other than merit-based, you need to build a powerful resume in the field you wish to apply. For example, if you have applied for a literature course, the university will make note of your achievements in literature, essays submitted, competitions participated and won, etc. 
  • If applying under need-based categories, all the necessary documents must be prepared beforehand.
  • Get expert guidance on filling application forms. Try to be precise but creative when asked about interests, hobbies, and other related things.
  • Make sure that your application is complete in order to be accepted to increase chances of admission to the university of your dreams.

Financial outlook of studying abroad

Scholarships and grants are offered by universities to seek out bright students who deserve a fair chance to pursue an education of their choice. Though most scholarships cover every cost involved in studying abroad, you may be granted only a partial scholarship. It is wise to be prepared for any additional expenditure you may incur. The average tuition fee for international students studying in the UK is approximately £10,000 (US$14,200) annually, and an additional £13,000 (US$17,500) is required for other expenses including food and lodging. In the US, the average yearly tuition fee is US$25,000 at public universities and $35,000 at private universities. You may require an additional budget of approximately $10,000 to cover living costs. 

Interestingly, some countries like Germany, Norway, Sweden and many more don’t have any tuition fees. Before applying for any university, make sure you have gathered all the facts about existing scholarships and how much of it you can avoid. Do not let the fear of expenses prevent you from pursuing a dream of studying abroad. Reach out to experts in the field, and let them chart out a pathway that is meant for you.  Find your new Career Success Coaches with LaunchMyCareer today.

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