Scholarships are an option to fund your dream education. Whilst finding your place to study can be quite quick and easy, the worry about funding of your studies and living costs is bound to hit. When reaching the tuition fees page and adding up the living costs, you might feel overwhelmed at first. Let that feeling go because the world is full of options for paying your education!
Scholarships are a great way to fund your studies if bursaries or grants are not enough and student loan is something you either have no option to get or decide to live a debt-free life. These funds are offered throughout the world usually by three institutions: universities, governments or private organisations. The amounts vary greatly: some are offered for the whole study time and for all expenses, whilst others cover your exchange time abroad. Majority are targeted to cover your tuition fees, leaving the living costs to be dealt on the student’s own expense.
For who are they for?
Most of them are open for international students and for all fields of study, but there are also subject-specific, as well as national scholarships. Often a language test is required, such as an IELTS or TOEFL (read more about these here).
You can apply for scholarships despite your degree level. Graduate scholarships are even more common than undergraduate ones, as many governments and universities are keen on attracting the highly skilled people by offering them financial aid for the research.
How to get a scholarship?
Getting a scholarship is highly competitive. Scholarships are most often offered to the students that have either academic or extra-curriculum strengths. It might be a great average grade or an outstanding performance for example in sports or science.
The application procedures and the required documentation can vary widely, but there is some general advice that applies to all of the available applications. Most of them are similar to the route to your higher education institute; you may need to present diplomas, language proficiency results and also fill in an application form.
- Start well in advance. Do not leave looking for suitable scholarships after you have gotten you acceptance, they might all be gone at this point. For some you can also apply even before your acceptance and if not, you should definitely be prepared to do it right after the answer gets to you.
- Keep the deadlines in mind. Sometimes if you are applying to many places at the same time, you might lose the track of what you have already finished and what is still to be done. Consider making an own calendar for just scholarship deadlines. Being organised never hurts!
- Double check your eligibility. Surely you don’t want to waste your or someone else’s time on an amazing application that you have no right to get. Check who is it meant for: domestic or international students, undergraduates, postgraduates and if there are any specific degree-related requirements?
- Personalise your applications and essays. In any case, never send the same application to all of the places.
After you have found suitable scholarships, read through the terms and make sure you are eligible for the particular scholarship. Many scholarships are open only for specific degree programs, for example in the University of Oulu you can apply for a Protein Science International Master’s Scholarship.
Just make sure you have chosen the right program and so you can increase your chances and make sure you are not causing useless paperwork for something you are not eligible for. Especially check if the one you are applying for is meant for domestic or international students.
Before you apply, also make sure you have enough time to meet all the criteria. Many international scholarships require you to have a proficiency in English and in order to prove that you need to sit a test (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS).
You can apply to as many as you want
Even though some of the grants are rather small, together they can pile up to a big amount of money. There is more competition on the big ones, so your chances are better if you go for multiple small. Do not give up even after rejections, but keep on going. Even the ones getting the most competitive ones have most likely been rejected another few.
Make sure though, that you are not getting scammed. If the scholarship seems too good to be true and the application process as designed for primary school students, leave it. Always try to verify the scholarship provider by Googling and do not pay for anything you are not sure of!
What affects the chances of getting one?
Scholarships are often country, region or nationality specific. Within the European Union most scholarships are available for all the EU citizens, but for example in the UK there are specific funding offered for Armenian, African and Chinese students, to mention few. Your parents’ and your own income is affecting the acceptance of the application, however, some universities especially in the United States offer “need-blind” scholarships (even Harvard and MIT), that all applications are considered equal regardless any financial situation. Most of these are offered for the US citizens, but five of the most prestigious universities offer the option also for international students. These are: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University and Amherst College.
Where to look for scholarships?
It is the best to start looking for funding options from your university’s web page. In some cases, any outside awards, meaning any funding from other institutions than your university, is going to decrease your chances of getting one from your own university. Thus it is worth outweighing which is financially your best option: to go for multiple smaller scholarships or possibly one bigger one from the university?
There are multiple sites in the internet where you can search for scholarships for specific degrees, institutions and other categories. Below are some resources for you to get started.
Below you can find a list of some possible sponsors and foundations who provide grants for studying abroad, as well as general directories and government funding sources. Find more sponsors by searching the web with related key words.
- International Scholarships and Financial Aid
- Rotary International
- International Scholarships
- Study Abroad Funding
- Fastweb – Scholarships and Internships search
- The Scholarship Portal
- International Visegrad fund (Western Balkan)
- European Funding Guide
- Erasmus Mundus
- Aarhus University
- Anna Lind Foundation
- International Scholarships and Financial Aid
- The Northwest Danish Foundation
- The Danish Industry Foundation
- University of Copenhagen
- DAAD – Stipendiendatenbank
- Studienförderung Auslandssemester
- Hans Böckler
- Heinrich Böll
- Deutsche Bildung AG
- Anke-Reese-Stipendium für Begegnungen zwischen Deutschland und Asien
- Global Grant
- Scandinavisk Stipendieinformation
- Sveriges Ingenjörer
- Boren Awards for International Study
- College Scholarships
- Gilman International Scholarship
- IIE – Study Abroad Funding
- American Educational Guidance Center
If you know a good sponsor not listed here, feel free to suggest it to us!