How to Win Any Scholarship to Study Abroad
If you’re an international student interested in studying abroad, you may have noticed that there are hundreds of scholarships out there—at least for Americans. The problem with these scholarships, however, is that they’re only available to US citizens and permanent residents. If you’re an international student, your funding options are more limited, since most scholarships are not available to you—at least not directly. But you still have plenty of opportunities! It’s just important to know where to look and how to plan ahead so that your search isn’t wasted effort.
Get In The Zone
Do you want to study abroad but not sure where to begin? The application process may seem intimidating at first, but with a little bit of research and patience you can get into your top choice program. This guide will help walk you through every step. You’ll be on your way to living in a new country before you know it! Before we start, it is important to realize that one scholarship does not fit all students. It is critical that you read each scholarship’s requirements carefully so that you can narrow down which ones are best for you.
Studying abroad is a great way to expand your horizons, improve your language skills, and gain new perspectives on life. But many students underestimate how much work it takes to study abroad—and sadly, most scholarships are extremely competitive. To win a scholarship for studying abroad, you’ll need a solid plan and lots of hard work! Here are some steps you can take
Know What You Need To Succeed
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scholarship scams out there that use their victims’ passions as currency. Before you apply for a scholarship, be sure to do your research and understand what is expected of you. That way, even if your application isn’t selected, you’ll feel confident that you gave it your best shot—and hopefully learned a thing or two in the process. (Here’s more information on how to avoid scholarship scams.)
Know Who’s Looking Out For You
Scholarships are competitive—and you can’t win a competition you don’t enter. When it comes to scholarships, there are two basic types: general and school-specific. General scholarships are available through organizations that accept applications from any college student (e.g., The Coca-Cola Scholars Program or The Rhodes Scholarship). School-specific scholarships apply only if you meet certain requirements (like ranking in top 5% of your class, attending a partner university, or being accepted into specific degree programs). To maximize your chances of winning scholarships, start with school-specific awards since they usually have smaller applicant pools. For every dollar awarded, colleges typically spend seven dollars advertising their scholarship programs — over $70 million total each year!
Fill out your Applications Well
As you can imagine, some scholarships are more competitive than others. The best way to have a good chance of winning one is by paying attention to details. Scholarships don’t care how much money your parents make or if your GPA is 4.0, they only care that you meet all their criteria in full and are willing to write an essay about why you deserve it. If you have all these things, read through each application carefully and do as many mock drafts as possible before sending it in. This will help ensure that you hit all required deadlines and provide ample time for proofreading and revision before submitting an application in its final form. Good luck!
Get Help From an Expert
Do you know someone who has won a scholarship? Make sure you talk to them about their experience, especially if they’re willing to walk you through what they did to win. They may be able to give you tips and help guide your application. If not, check out our How To Win Any Scholarship Guide for some key pointers on what’s needed in order win a scholarship.
Send Your Applications Early
Scholarships are often awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. So if you don’t get your applications in early, you could miss out on some great opportunities. Plan for the worst and submit all of your applications at least six months before you intend to start studying abroad; if possible, get them in even earlier than that. Although there is no guarantee that an award will still be available by then (scholarships do tend to fill up quickly), it’s better than sitting around worrying about whether or not you should apply because another applicant just got an offer.
Apply To Multiple Scholarships At Once
It might sound like a lot of work, but applying for several scholarships at once is an easy way to save time (and headache). Most scholarship providers want you to fill out one application and submit your information just once. Then they’ll automatically send that info along to other scholarship providers they work with. As long as you meet minimum requirements and provide all of your basic contact info, it should be pretty simple. That means you can apply for dozens—if not hundreds—of scholarships at once and increase your chances of winning (while saving money on postage, too). This could be especially helpful if you know you want to study abroad.
Give Back During Your Time Away
One of your primary goals as a student should be to add value wherever you go. Studying abroad provides a rare opportunity to serve people in another country and gain valuable leadership experience at a young age. You can work with an organization that helps people living in poverty or a non-profit dedicated to environmental conservation, among many other options. Just make sure you do some research before signing up for anything! If you plan on completing an internship, start by finding one through your university’s study abroad office. There are thousands of organizations looking for students who want experience abroad, but why settle for just any internship? Check out our guide on how to find meaningful internships abroad and contact more than one organization if possible.