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How to get a QS scholarship

By Craig O

Updated November 29, 2021 Updated November 29, 2021

QS offers US$45,000 worth of scholarships to talented students every year, allowing some of the world’s brightest minds to pursue their dream education.

To find out more about the range of scholarships offered by QS, we spoke to one of the members of our scholarships committee – a select group of individuals responsible for sifting through applications and finding ideal candidates. She shared her tips on how you can make a scholarship application stand out.

What do you enjoy the most about being part of the QS scholarships committee?

I’ve read through thousands of essays from amazingly talented candidates and have come across some outstanding applications. Selecting the best ones can be challenging and time-consuming, but it`s like digging for gold – you never know when you’ll find something exceptional.

It also gives me an immense feeling of pride to be part of QS’s effort to make a change in people’s lives and help them reach a dream that might never come true without QS’s financial help.

Is it a big responsibility as well?

Yes, it is. I do feel that my decision influences people`s lives, but you must know that at least two other people read through all the essays in the pre-selection phase and an additional three people read the essays before the winner is selected. We all take the selection process very seriously and strictly follow the guidelines.

What are the first things you consider when looking at a scholarship essay?

When you open a document the first thing you notice is the layout and how it’s presented. All the QS scholarships require you to write an essay and we ask applicants to put their name, the title of the scholarship and the QS event they attended (if applicable) at the beginning of the essay. If this information is missing, the applicant has less chance of winning the scholarship.

The best essays always have good structure, starting with an introduction, where they tell us why they’re writing the essay and elaborate on the topic they will write about. Then comes the main body, where they answer the essay question and finally the conclusion. We also look at the word limit and discard applications that are way too long or too short.

In terms of content what should an applicant focus on?

We mainly expect them to answer the essay question. We want to see that the applicant understood the question and is focused on answering it, sticking to the topic from the beginning until the end.

We like to see the keywords appearing in the text, as this means we’re reading an essay meant to answer our question and it`s not a reused essay for another scholarship or a motivation letter for a university application. It`s crucial to have good grammar and spelling, but it`s also important that the essay reads well and is easy to understand.

How can an applicant stand out?

QS’s aim with these scholarships is to help talented people reach further in their life and career with the help of education. We are looking for individuals who have great potential and are willing to study and work hard to reach their aims.

Writing the essay is their chance to show us how talented and competent they are. We’re looking for people QS can be proud of and have the potential to make a difference.

Can you give us an example?

Sure. Let’s say you’re applying for the leadership scholarship and you need to write about your leadership experience. Don’t just write that you have worked at a bank as a team leader and you have done your job well and completed a project. We want to see real leadership – how you`ve empowered and inspired others, stepped outside your comfort zone and motivated others to follow you to reach a goal. Write about something you didn`t have to do, but that you did with passion and dedication.

Do you have any final advice for the applicants?

The most important thing is to thoroughly read through the eligibility criteria and only apply if you fulfil all the requirements. Before writing the essay, I would recommend you genuinely think about your aim, what you want to reach with the essay and why you’re writing it.

Be true to yourself too. If your personality is shining through the lines we read, you’re more likely to be selected. Finally, believe in yourself! There is always a winner and it could be you.

This article was originally published in January 2019 . It was last updated in November 2021

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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