How to Find and Secure Scholarships for College


Scholarships are an important resource that can help you reduce the financial burden of pursuing quality higher education from the college of your choice. While a number of scholarships and grants are available through colleges, government organizations, and public and private organizations, finding them and securing the necessary amount can often prove to be a challenge.

In this article, we will take you through the steps you can follow to secure education scholarships for yourself.


Types of Scholarships

First, let us understand the kind of scholarships that are available and our eligibility for the same. You will often see that various programs, universities, and organizations are offering grants and scholarships. While both of these may sound similar, they only have one unifying trait, which is – you do not need to pay back the amount. Usually, grants are offered on the basis of financial need and scholarships are offered on the basis of merit, such as academic performance, an exceptional skill, or athletic ability. Besides these, colleges also offer scholarships based on community service, first-generation student status, underrepresented or minority group status.


How to Apply for Scholarships

The first step here is planning. Start the application process as early as you can. Research the available scholarship options for you. For the same, you can start by visiting the Financial Aid section of each of the programs that you plan to apply to. On this webpage, a list of available university scholarships is listed, complete with the eligibility criteria and application requirements. Usually for graduate programs, you do not need to submit a separate application essay to be considered for scholarships. Applications are directly taken into account for merit-based scholarships for graduate students.

Next, research the scholarship options from various non-governmental and even government organizations. Various non-profit organizations fund scholarships for graduate programs in the social sector.


How to Secure a Good Scholarship?

Make a list of the available scholarships complete with the scholarship name, amount covered, eligibility criteria, and application needs. Create a strong application. Start the application process early so that you have enough time to
work on your essays besides researching program and scholarship options and taking the necessary tests. Build your essays, resume, and recommendation letters such that they highlight the strongest aspects of your candidature. Include relevant examples in your essays and recommendation letters to justify your experiences, include tangible impacts of your work done and your active role in the resume. You may even engage a counsellor to help you through the
application process. Target applying in round 1 deadline. While you will still be considered for scholarships in the later rounds, the chances of nabbing a good scholarship is comparatively higher in round 1.

Only MBA programs will ask you to submit separate essays for scholarship application. These essay prompts range from justifying your need for scholarship to narrating specific incidents such as commendable leadership experience.

It is not necessary that you will have to apply for and be considered for scholarships only at the application stage. You can continue to research and apply for scholarships even after being admitted to a program. However, if you have been already selected to one scholarship program, you cannot re-apply to the same.


What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that you must fill up and submit to be considered for scholarship. As the name suggests, this is an initiative of the USA government to help encourage students pursue quality education. If you are applying for scholarships and grants in any USA college, you will have to submit the FAFSA at first. FAFSA is not only limited to scholarship application, you need to file one even if you wish to apply for federal student loans.


Scholarship Opportunities in UK

UK provides a number of scholarships for all levels of education. The GREAT scholarship, Chevening scholarship, and the Commonwealth scholarships are the major scholarship options available for students pursuing post-graduate education in the UK. Besides, the UK Council for International Students Affairs (UKCISA) is a platform that awards scholarships to help international student pursue higher education in the UK. Usually, funding for undergraduate programs in UK is less common than those available for graduate programs. Nonetheless, you can visit the UKCISA website to check your eligibility for and the availability of suitable scholarship programs for undergraduate students.


What is DAAD?

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is a government-funded scholarship program that helps international students pursue their higher education in Germany. To qualify for DAAD, you need to have completed your undergraduate education or be in the final year of education. Usually, there’s no upper age limit but there may be a time limit between completing your undergraduate education and taking a DAAD grant. Moreover, you must have a
TOEFL score of band 6.0 or higher and/or a DSH2 or Test DaF 4 certificate if your program is taught in German. However, these requirements may vary for each program. Hence, duly recharge before starting your application. DAAD usually issues a monthly scholarship payment and a flat-rate travel allowance. In few cases, it may also cover your health, accident, and personal liability insurance. To apply, you need to visit the DAAD website, find the application page, and follow the instructions as listed.

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Do I need to submit essays for scholarships?

Nowadays, most programs automatically consider your application for merit-based scholarships. Hence, you do not need to write essays. However, several MBA programs and scholarships sponsored by public and private organizations may need you to submit a convincing essay, detailing why your candidature should be considered for scholarship for graduate education.

Does application for scholarships need recommendation letters?

Usually, no. However, as the requirements vary for each program, it is always recommended to conduct a thorough research of the requirements for applying to your shortlisted scholarship program. In most cases, university scholarship initiatives will not need separate recommendation letters, which may typically be the case for scholarships sponsored by governmental and non-governmental organisations.

How can I secure a scholarship?

Start early. Research the available scholarship options that you are eligible for and prepare strong cases for your candidature. While college programs directly consider your applications for merit-based scholarships, you can still apply to other public and private bodies to secure the necessary grants.

Do I need to pay back the scholarship amount?

No. Scholarships and grants are aid extended by schools and government and non-government bodies in recognition of your academic excellence, exceptional achievements, demographic status, or financial need to help you complete your higher education.

What other aids are available if I am not selected for scholarships?

While a number of scholarship options are available, you can also look for student loans.

How many times can I apply for a scholarship?

You can apply only once for a scholarship if you have been accepted for the same. If the grant received does not suffice your need, you can apply for other scholarships as well.

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