Want a scholarship to study abroad? Each year, thousands of Nigerians seek higher education in Europe, America and other advanced nations in a bid to secure a solid academic future for themselves. It's true that there are international schools/bodies willing to offer some form of sponsorship for students in Africa and other countries, it's also true that these scholarships are not thrown to just anyone. Certain criteria must be met by recipients to really benefit from such programmes.
So, if you want to qualify for scholarships abroad (perhaps you've tried several times with no success), here's how to. You may find the following germane to your cause:
There is really no point starting the scholarship race if you don't meet the standard set by the school/body from which you expect a grant; that would be like campaigning after the elections. Thus, it's very important to regularly check with the organization so as to get any updated information on what they expect of applicants.
With regard to this, it suffices to state that the criteria set by individual schools vary. Below are a few things to check:
1. Academic record
There's usually a criterion based on how well you perform academically in order to qualify for scholarships. Always ensure that your score meets the required GPA. In fact, when it comes to scholarships, unlike fellowships, this is by far the major criterion used to select recipients.
Degree certification usually covers Character and Learning. It's important you have a good record with your school and department because no international school would want to admit a miscreant. So, irrespective of good grades, a bad record with your school's disciplinary committee could undo all your efforts to secure a scholarship.
3. Major Plans
You need to have a solid plan for your stay throughout the period of the scholarship. This can be very useful for the purpose of interview by the body offering the scholarship. If they sense you have a clear map of what you intend to achieve, you're more likely to receive the scholarship. You should be able to explain why you need the scholarship and how it will enhance your career and make you more helpful to society.
4. Study Abroad Readiness
Really, how ready are you to study abroad? This is evident in little things like how studious you take your studies, how meticulous you are with everything pertaining to the scholarship, how well you organise your goals, how passionate you are concerning your prospect, etc.
Talking about deadlines, there'll be a lot of it. Certain criteria will have to be met before so-and-so day. For instance, applying for Chevening scholarship requires that you sit an English proficiency test and have the results ready before a particular day else you forfeit any chances of getting the grant.
6. A good control of the country's lingua franca.
Chevening scholarship recipients are mandated to take an exam that measures their ability to use the English language. Failing to meet the set cut off mark for this test can mar your chances of studying abroad.
Yes, you may have been thinking that since it's a scholarship, every thing will be provided for you. This is so further from the truth. A lot of these scholarships are part funding. Meaning that the school/body provides you with assistance of up to half of your yearly tuition and maybe accommodation and feeding expenses. You may have to disabuse your mind from the everything-is-free mentality because in some cases, financial responsibility is necessary to secure a scholarship.
This is the record of your exact scores/grades on your courses throughout your university years. Note that this document is ideally never given to any student. Rather, it is sent on behalf of the student to the appropriate recipient the student requests to have it sent to. Only a few schools hand students their transcripts and in such cases, the scholarship body can still request a copy from the student's school.
9. Choice of Study
Consider carefully a course you want to get scholarship for. You need to ensure that the school you're applying for offers the course and has space available for new students. In a situation where you receive a grant by an external body but the school doesn't offer your choice of course, you'll most likely forfeit your scholarship.
Another angle to look into this is when considering a Masters' degree scholarship. It would be somewhat out of place to switch from your current discipline to a totally different one. It's not advisable to go too far from your first degree (Bachelor's) course when considering a Masters' programme. Limiting your further studies to something related to your discipline is advised.
SOME SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN 2019
1. The Rosa Luxemburg-Stiftung Study Scholarship
A scholarship for international students.
2. Techwomen emerging leaders program 2019 for women in STEM
This scholarship is aimed at sponsoring and promoting women in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields; hence, STEM.
3. The Emile-Boutmy Scholarship
Meant for international students outside the European Union. Open to both 3-year bachelors and 2-year masters degree programmes and successful applicants could receive up to $10,000 in grants annually.
4. MARIHE Full Unique Master International Scholarships
This is offered to applicants interested in a unique global Master programme on Higher Education, Research and Innovation. Selected applicants are given full scholarships for the 2-year programme and have great job opportunities at the end of the programme.
5. Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) 2019/2020
A scholarship opportunity for Nigerian students to study for masters or Ph.D. programs in the UK, France or Germany. Applicants can choose 3 different courses and don’t need to apply to the schools directly.
Let me conclude by stating that this may not be an exhaustive detail of what can help you secure a scholarship but the points here will definitely be of value if carefully followed.
Imoh Iniekpo Udoh
Communication Executive @ Edusko Africa