There are a lot of scholarship opportunities to study abroad. These opportunities however, would not come knocking at your door, they have to be sought. I will provide you with a few tips on getting a scholarship to study abroad.
- Identify your area of interest: This basically means knowing the research area you are passionate about and on which you want to base your post graduate studies (there are a number of routes you can go through depending on your academic background/first degree). Having taken a course in Immunology as an undergraduate, I developed a lot of interest and this helped me narrow my search to Immunology related courses.
- Search for opportunities: Having your area of interest in mind, begin to search for universities which offer post graduate courses in your desired research area. Most universities or funding organisations would require that you obtain an admission to study a particular course, before you become eligible to apply for a scholarship. I made applications to over 7 universities in the United Kingdom and got admitted into most of them. Having acquired the admissions, I was able to apply for a number of university or government funded scholarships
- Writing personal statements: In the process of applying for an admission, you would be asked to write a personal statement or statement of purpose (SoP). There are no hard and fast rules for writing personal statement. A SoP is synonymous to a cover letter; it is a window through which you sell yourself to the school’s admission panel. While writing a personal statement, you should:
- Passionately highlight your motivation to study to particular course.
- Write a bit about your background (in relation to the course being applied for).
- Highlight a few skills which you hope to pick up by the end of the course
- Write about your career aspirations
- Say something on why you choose the university
The above also applies to answering scholarship questions.
- Search for scholarship updates: You have to continuously search for scholarship information. There are a few websites that collate available scholarship openings worldwide and provide regular scholarship updates for their subscribers. I subscribed to 2 websites, scholarship-positions.com and www.studyandscholarships.com, from where I got very useful updates. For more websites to go to for scholarship information, click here
- Do not give up: Scholarship positions are usually very competitive. You may repeatedly get negative responses for your applications but you should not let that discourage you. Be optimistic, discuss your applications with bright-minded people, keep sending out applications and keep hoping for the best.
- This works: It worked for me and I believe it will work for you too. If you have any questions, or difficulties, drop them in the comment box and we will get back to you.
Written by Chidimma Mbadugha Aigbomian
University of Nottingham
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