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7 Scholarship Application Tips – From the Winners!

7 Scholarship Application Tips – From the Winners! main image

Who better to share advice on scholarship applications than students who’ve already successfully applied for funding? With this in mind, we asked some of this year’s QS Scholarship winners to share their top tips when finding and applying for scholarships. Here’s what they said…

1. Apply as early as possible.

This is one of those pieces of advice you’re probably sick of hearing already, but our scholarship winners do say it was important for their success. “Schools have a specific amount of funding available and the earlier you apply, the more you will receive and the easier it will be to get a scholarship,” says Alexis Csizmazia, who received one of this year’s QS-IE University Scholarships.

2. Check university websites for opportunities.

If you know which universities you want to study at, then the institution websites are a good place to start your scholarship search. Doris Fang, winner of the 2015 QS Connect Masters 1-2-1 Scholarship, says: “I would suggest looking through the website of the university you’re intending to apply to. Normally, the university’s website will give a great deal of resources on scholarships, financial aid and other funding.”

3. Search for other scholarship providers.

Our scholarship winners also highlight the importance of looking beyond universities to find alternative scholarship providers, such as the QS Scholarships scheme. “Research is the key,” says Thuy Phamova Thanh, who successfully applied for one of the QS-Manchester Business School Scholarships. “Talk to people and search using various resources, such as libraries, internet or books, for available funding opportunities.”

4. Pay close attention to the application essay topic.

Once you’ve identified relevant scholarships to apply to, the next stage is to ensure each scholarship application you write is well-targeted for the opportunity in question. “Take the time to analyze the application essay topic, advises Salimatou Balde, another QS-IE University Scholarship recipient. “Identify all the key words, take time to understand them and strictly stick to the question when you answer.”

5. Get someone else to read your application.

As well as helping you identify typos or other errors, constructive feedback can also help you become more aware of your own relevant strengths and achievements. “My scholarship applications have always been greatly improved after I’ve gotten someone to pass a critical eye over them,” says Stephen Jarvis, recipient of the 2015 QS Academic Excellence Scholarship. “If it’s someone who knows where you’re coming from, they can often think of things that you hadn’t, as well as helping you tighten up the text and check your grammar.”

6. Manage your time well.

Time management is especially critical if you’re juggling multiple scholarship applications. Make a calendar of all the deadlines and give yourself plenty of time to work on each application, and ensuring you submit all the required documents. Valentina Sandulova, winner of this year’s QS EDHEC-Business School Scholarship, was working full-time at the same time as applying. She advises: “Be patient, keep applying, and make sure you manage your time well so you meet all the deadlines.”

7. Apply, apply, apply!

Finally, the last and most common piece of advice from our scholarship winners is quite simply: stop doubting yourself, and start applying! “I wasn’t sure whether to apply for this and other scholarships at first, because they are quite competitive,” says QS Leadership Scholarship winner Lee MacPherson. “However, putting in the effort was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Indeed, all of our scholarship winners point out that they received plenty of rejection letters before meeting with success, proving that it’s important – and worthwhile – to keep on applying. You never know which scholarship application will be the one that succeeds. And finally, Thuy says, “Most importantly, don’t give up on your dreams.”

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Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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HI I'm from Sri Lanka . Now I'm currently doing my degree. Now in the last year of it. I graduate As a Business Informationen System student in 2018. I hope to do my masters in canada. In relevant field.But there are some money issues. Do how can I get a scholarship for my higher studies? Could you help me with that? How can I apply for that an der other stuff

Hi ..i am from india .currently passed class 12th with 94% .would u suggest me any country where i can study without much investment and also able to carry out my expenses by working there.i want to pursue computer science UG .
and also i want to know if any university providing computer science ug in germany in english

Hi Dinesh, if you want to study in Germany, you can study your undergraduate degree there for free at a public university - however, English-taught programs are quite hard to find. Please take a look at our article on studying in English in Germany for more information, and for other affordable study abroad options, please take a look at our article 'where can you study abroad for free?'. Hope this helps!

Dear Laura,
I am a student from BELARUS. Currently, I'm doing my Master degree in Poland(program : International Business( in English)). I found out during my study that i much more interested in Finance and want to continue my study applying to Finance track in USA . My GPA 4.35.I found Harvard Msc in Finance very interesting for me.Could you help me with information about scholarship , could i apply for it or not?and if i have Master in International Business should it be anough for admission not to provide Gmat? i have covered a lot mathematical subjects during my master study and can provide transcripts.
thank you in advance

Hi Yauheniya, I've replied to your comment here. :)

Hi Laura ,
the article is very helpfull.
but i want to ask few things , because there is no one who can guide me.
I am a fresh graduate.
I have completed my software engineering in this year .
My question is that before applying for scholarships, is it necessary to give "GRE" and "toefll"?
there is a requirement in every master program of computer science , that gre and toefll should be given and the score should be that much..


Hi Shiza. Yes, you will need to provide your TOEFL and GRE scores along with your scholarship application. The scores preferred will vary depending on the university, so if you're not sure, check the official websites of the scholarships to which you're applying. For more information, see this website. Hope this helps :)

Hi Laura,
Thanks for the article.
After completing my undergrad in fashion, I am looking to further my studies in costume design as its been my lifelong dream to work in the wardrobe division on film sets. I've done my research and UCLA offers an extensive masters programme that would be perfect for me and I for it. But as you can imagine, is not cheap. I've also been on the lookout for a scholarship that I qualify for and that hasn't been successful either.
Is it possible to get in touch with a more experienced individual from your site or otherwise who can lead me in the right direction to find a scholarship?
Any other recommendations on the matter will also be welcome.

Really amazing suggestion ...