Best preparation tips for international scholarships

Ashok Deepan
Jan 4, 2021

Getting an international scholarship is difficult. But a few helpful suggestions can make the process a lot easier for you. If you’re hoping to land the best international scholarships, let us get started immediately on the things you need to know to increase your chances of getting awarded with one.

● Keep your options open:

Know your options. Explore the different international scholarships offered. You’ll want to make sure you check all these out before applying for a scholarship. Well-executed research can open you up to many scholarship opportunities, allowing you to choose the ones that are a good fit for you.

● Check the eligibility requirements:

Before you proceed and start checking out the programme in detail, go over the application guidelines.

Are you eligible for the grant? If yes, what documents would you need to submit? If not, what can you do to meet the eligibility criteria?

Identify the answers to these questions, and you’re good to go. By doing this, you won't waste time applying for a particular scholarship only to discover later on that you don’t even qualify for the same.

If you’re unsure about the scholarship criteria and requirements, reach out to the programme committee or the international school. Get the clarification you need before you proceed any further. 

● Apply for scholarships that complement your unique skills:

Not all scholarships focus on academics. Some are geared towards recognizing athletic accomplishments, while other programmes might be devoted to recognizing outstanding performance in different fields or subjects.

Which ones are a perfect fit for you based on your skill set, talents, and interests? Take a long look at your records. Where do you excel? Which scholarship will take one look at your portfolio and agree that your qualities make you the ideal applicant for the grant?

Think along these lines to ensure that the scholarship you apply to is the scholarship that you are most likely to get. Apply to multiple scholarship criteria that best suits your skills & accomplishments.

Also Read: Things to follow when you apply for scholarships

● Participate in extracurricular activities: 

Since many scholarships don’t focus on academics, you can strengthen your application portfolio by participating in extracurricular activities. If you have plans to apply for a scholarship, being part of extracurricular programmes like sports, cooking, the performing arts, and more is an excellent way to build up your record. By the time you apply, you’ll have plenty of extracurricular experience to show for it. That will make a difference with the panel.

● Start early: 

It has been rightly said that early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. The same philosophy applies to scholarship preparation and applications too.

Don’t make the mistake of preparing for a scholarship a week or two before you need it. Some programmes require you to prepare for an entire year in advance. 

If you want to increase your chances of receiving a grant, start as soon as you can. The sooner you do, the more time you’ll have to prepare your application. And the more time you spend perfecting your application, the better your chances of securing your scholarship will be.

● Perfect your essay:

Don’t just put facts and figures about your academic achievements. Remember, you’ll be coming up against a lot of equally talented students who more or less have impressive grades, too. Facts and figures won’t help you distinguish yourself from the rest when everyone else has excellent scores.

Perfecting your essay, though, will help you make a mark and distinguish yourself from the rest. You can perfect your essay by doing something as simple as talking about your unique qualities, future dreams, what you plan to do with the grant, what you hope to achieve for yourself, your family, community, industry, etc. 

Talking about these things will help you show who you are to the scholarship panel. It will give your application that much-needed human touch, thus helping you write an application that resonates with people.

● Apply for multiple scholarships:

Try out for multiple regional and international scholarships. Applying for just one is the same as putting all your eggs in one basket. It can easily backfire if you’re just relying on one. 

And while you’ll need to customize your application to different programmes, the process should be more or less the same, along with the requirements. Apply to more than one programme to improve your chances of landing a scholarship. But that said, don’t take on more scholarships than you can handle. Apply for ones that you are most likely to get.

● Proofread your essay:

When you have completed your essay, leave it alone for a few days before you go back in to edit and revise. If you have recently finished the piece, you might find it challenging to spot the mistakes or pinpoint any areas that need revision. That's also why it’s a good idea to work on your application early. Starting early will give you the time to leave the piece alone, let it settle, and then come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. That will help you come up with something even better.  

● Ask for help:

For even proofreading assistance or scholarship application guidance, reach out to someone you trust. It could be a friend, teacher, or family member. If you know that they have your best interests at heart, then ask them to look at your work. They could pinpoint sections that could use a great deal of improvement or even provide suggestions that could turn your work from great to extraordinary. 

● Be prepared for feedbacks:

When you ask them to proofread your essay, be ready for criticism. People you know and trust will only give you constructive criticism. Rejecting that criticism or refusing to acknowledge your mistakes can be your biggest undoing. So learn the art of gracefully working on feedback.  

● Prepare for the interview in advance:

Most scholarships include an interview. How many will the programme conduct? Be ready for that.

This stage is usually the deciding factor for the scholarship committee. If you do well in the interview, then you have a much better chance of being chosen for the grant.

Don’t wait until the last hour to prepare for the interview you may or may not be called for. Keep a positive outlook and be smart with your preparations. Work on your speaking abilities and eye contact skills in the initial stages itself. Doing this will acquaint you with the reality of actual face-to-face interviews.

● Do practice sessions:

Come up with a list of common interview questions that you think will come up when you face the panel. Practice answering them. You don’t need to have the answers memorized. 

But just knowing what you’ll say, or being aware of the approach you can take, will help you think on your toes and stay calm when the time comes. You could do this with a parent or a friend. Have them toss your questions and answer them in the same way that you would with a panel. These practice sessions will work wonders to improve your confidence level.

● Dress in formal attire:

Showing up for an interview in formal attire will tell the panel that you mean business. It will help you communicate that this scholarship is important to you. It will also help you show that just like your dressing, you take your scholarship opportunity seriously. So make sure that you are wearing the best formal clothing you can find in your wardrobe. It helps!

Ashok Deepan

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