10 steps guideline on winning scholarship abroad


By Olushola Samuel

Getting a scholarship for your education abroad is undoubtedly a big achievement for anyone - especially for those who ordinarily are financially incapable of funding themselves or getting funds from family. 

It is actually possible for you to get a fully funded scholarship for your education in UK, Canada, US etc. All you need to do is to follow the steps(1-10) in this article to understand the guideline.

1. You can start by using 4icu.org  or any other world educational institutions ranking websites to get a list of Top Universities in your preferred study destination (USA, Canada, UK etc). 

2. Trim the list by removing the universities that don’t offer your program of interest.

3. Continue downsizing the list using some of the following:

(a) Scholarship availability (Assistantships/Funding) 

(b) GRE/GMAT and English proficiency requirements - TOEFL/IELTS (are these waived or required?).

- I got a fully-funded offer without writing any of these. If you don't have the resources, you may want to focus only on schools that have waived these tests. You can write it if you can, though. I usually recommend IELTS for undergraduate and post graduate courses anywhere and GRE (for post graduate studies in US).

(c) Application fee waivers: Focus on universities that are willing to waive your application fee.

However, if you have the money, pay. The more schools you apply to, the higher your chances of getting a fully-funded scholarship.

(d) Research interest: is there a professor in this university doing your kind of research?

(e) Internal grants and fellowships: Grad school is tough; you need financial support. As an international student, before applying to a university, check and be sure they have several internal research and travel grants that you can compete for and win.

4. Cold Email (Optional): Contact professor(s) whom you’d like to work with. This is a marketing process - sell yourself by Simply go to your program website and read about the faculty (professors). You can also look them up on Google Scholar to see the nature of their most recent research, which will be a pointer to whether or not your interests align.

5. For each university of interest, be sure to go through the admission REQUIREMENTS page and get the following ready:

(a) Statement of Purpose (SoP): This is an essay that is made up of (i) your past, (ii) your present, (iii) and your future. This 1-2 page essay describes your background, what you do at the moment, and your interests (your aspirations).

- In summary, the SoP explains to the admissions and funding committee why you should be admitted and offered scholarship.

please note; Personal statement, supporting statement may apply in some cases

(b) Academic CV: Call it your academic résumé if you wish.

(c) Unofficial transcript: Any transcript in your possession is considered unofficial no matter how many signatures or stamps appear on it.

- You don't need to pay for your transcript for every admission application that you submit. Simply apply for a local transcript and use an address that you have access to. Pick it up, scan only the pages containing your results, and save as PDF, which you'll use for all your applications. Some schools could even send you a copy in PDF format. I got one in my MBA program.

- If you're admitted, offered full-funding (scholarship), and you decide to enroll, ask your university/polytechnic to send an official copy to the institution where you'll be resuming.

(d) Recommendation Letters: contact your lecturers early - avoid rush hour

- I recommend you send your CV and an accompanying note about your interests, including what universities and programs you're applying to. That way, they are able to write a tailored letter instead of a generic one.

6. Work towards getting application fee waivers by attending Open House events or by simply requesting for them.

- You can do this by contacting the program director or coordinator or graduate school director/coordinator via email (the admissions requirements page will guide you on how to go about application fee waivers, especially who to contact). In the email, explain that you're unable to pay for the fee and need a waiver.

7. Start submitting your applications.

- Note that your application may not be 100% perfect. So, once you're sure you've checked all boxes, review the application and hit the submit button.

8. Wait for feedbacks from admission committees:

- The admission requirements page contains details on when to expect a feedbacks. If you've not heard from them a week or two after that time, send them an email inquiring about the status of your application. Again, the admission requirements page will tell you your next course of action.

9. Attend interviews (for schools or admission board that do it).

How to prep for grad school interview (note that this isn't the visa interview):

✅Go through your SoP

✅Go through your CV

✅Read your writing sample (if you submitted any)

✅Familiarize yourself with the recent publications of the professor(s) you indicate interest to work with.

10. You’ll get either an ACCEPTANCE or a REJECTION. 

If accepted, bravo. If rejected, wait for other offers. If the offer isn’t fully-funded, discuss your chances of getting funding with the program Director.

- In some cases, when you get an admission without funding (scholarship) and you contact the program director to inquire about funding opportunities, they'd refer you to on-campus funding opportunities and ask you to apply.

In addition, there are other scholarship boards or institutions like Chevening Scholarship, McCall MacBain Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarship etc. Most of these aforementioned are however institution or country specific. You will do well to do independent research on each one you are interested in. 

For more information on writing SOP, recommendation letter, or academic CV, contact us on:

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