Here are some helpful tips for students and their parents, business professionals and individuals applying for education scholarships or financial aid awarded through schools or organisations.
Assess your needs
To find the appropriate scholarship or financial grant for you, you need to assess what suits your needs. Do you require a full scholarship, financial assistance, book allowance, housing assistance, etc? Acquaint yourself with the scholarship criteria and requirements and see which scholarships or grants you qualify for.
Highlight your abilities
There are many types of scholarships out there. Ask yourself what makes you unique? You don’t necessarily need to have straight A’s and be the class valedictorian to qualify for one. Perhaps you are an athlete or artist, or maybe you excel in a particular field of study.
Scout for schools and/or private institutions online that offer scholarships that match your qualities. Highlighting special skills and interests can help you stand out amongst the thousands of applications being sent to admissions offices around the country.
The search for the right scholarship can be a long and often arduous process with information not readily available online.
Not all websites have up-to-date information so it's best to crosscheck information obtained through university websites. The same goes for private institutions that also offer scholarship programs.
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the admission office directly.
Ask for advice
Asking for anecdotes and advice from former students, current scholars, your teachers and business colleagues will greatly aid in your application. Talking to someone who has applied for the same scholarship or is a current scholar will help you better prepare your own application. Guidance counsellors are also good sources of information and will often give you advice tailored to your capabilities.
Make sure that you comply with all the requirements, submit all the documents needed (birth certificates, transcript of records, certificates of good moral character, recommendation letters, etc) and fill in the application form in its entirety.
Make a checklist to keep you on track of all the requirements.
Take note that these documents help the scholarship officer know you better. It is also the basis for the assessment of your application. It would also be helpful to make duplicates of all your documents. Schools receive thousands of applications and documents can be misplaced. It will be your responsibility to make sure that the office has what it needs to review your application.
Lying, misrepresenting yourself, and falsifying documents is a big no-no. Committing any of these acts will not only cast doubt on your application, it may also jeopardise your acceptance into the school.
Even if you think a detail of your personal background will not help you with your application, it’s best to be honest and up front.
Remember this a long process. Not all scholarships applications are approved right away. It could take days, weeks and even months before you get feedback. Following up won’t hurt. You can give them a call or visit the admissions office to check on the status of your application.
Don’t be easily discouraged if your application is initially rejected. Many successful scholars make several attempts before getting that elusive approval. Some admissions offices allow the scholar to file a formal appeal or request for reconsideration.
Check with the respective scholarship office if this is possible before you apply.
Admissions and aid
The competition for scholarships and financial assistance may be stiff. But with preparation and the right information, you can improve your chances of getting the financial aid best suited for your needs.
If financial setbacks are hindering you from achieving the kind of education you want, don’t fret—there are many schools and private organisations willing to help you achieve your goal.
You only need to equip yourself with the right knowledge and a positive attitude. The key to a brighter future lies in knowing when to seize a good opportunity.