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Scholarship Applications: Frequently Asked Questions

Scholarship Applications: Frequently Asked Questions main image

Although knowing all the right places to go to find scholarships isn’t as easy as it sounds, applying for scholarships to study abroad shouldn’t have to be a mammoth task.

With our scholarship applications FAQ, you’ll find all the information you need on applying for scholarships, with advice on where to find scholarships, how to submit your application and what to include. Good luck!

  1. What types of scholarships are available?
  2. What are my chances of gaining a scholarship?
  3. Can I get a scholarship for graduate study?
  4. Where do I go to find scholarship opportunities?
  5. Can I apply for a scholarship before being accepted into a university?
  6. How do I apply for international scholarships?
  7. How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
  8. What should I submit with my scholarship application?
  9. What should I include in my scholarship essay?
  10. When is the best time to apply for study abroad scholarships?
  11. How do I get help with my scholarship application letter?
  12. What are scholarship scams and how do I avoid them?
  13. Further questions?


1.  What types of scholarships are available?

There are a huge range of scholarship opportunities available for university students across the world, ranging from partial scholarships which cover some tuition fees, to full scholarships which cover the duration of your studies. The majority of scholarships cover tuition fees only, leaving students to cover their own living costs.

There are also many different types of scholarships for international students from certain regions, or even students studying in a certain field. For instance, many students from developing countries, including parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, can apply for specific scholarships, as can many students from all over the world looking to study in a STEM-related field (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

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2.  What are my chances of gaining a scholarship?

Don’t be fooled, scholarships are highly competitive. After all, there are many students around the world trying to get funding for their studies. Although some scholarships depend on outstanding academic records (‘merit-based scholarships’), your chances of success are often determined by the quality of your application, and whether or not you are in financial need. A number of universities in the US, including Harvard and MIT for example, offer ‘need-blind’ admissions policies, meaning that all students’ applications are considered regardless of their financial situation, with tuition fees then covered at least partly by the school.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of gaining a scholarship. When applying for scholarships, you should make sure to include all the documentation requested, and dedicate plenty of time to writing your application. In particular, it’s important to clearly communicate your motivations for studying and how gaining a scholarship will support your ambitions. Stay within the deadlines and, most importantly, show the scholarship providers you have the potential to do great things!

3.  Can I get a scholarship for graduate study?

Yes! In fact, graduate scholarships to study abroad tend to be even more common than undergraduate scholarships, due to the fact that universities and governments are often keen to attract highly skilled graduate students, often using graduate scholarships as an incentive.

Dependent on your level of study, there will be different opportunities available. While some scholarship schemes are open to all students, there are also dedicated master’s scholarships, PhD scholarships, postdoctoral scholarships and academic research scholarships. See the next question for information on where to find scholarships.

QS also offers US$7 million worth of scholarships every year, mostly at graduate level and exclusively available to attendees of the QS World Grad School Tour and QS World MBA Tour. (There is also an Undergraduate Scholarship offering up to US$10,000, for which you don’t need to have attended a QS event.)

If you’re interested in applying for one of our graduate scholarships, register for an event close to you and then complete the scholarship application process.

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4.  Where do I go to find scholarship opportunities?

To find scholarships you are eligible for, it is advised to first look at the information provided by your chosen university. Funding information will be listed on the university’s website or in the prospectus, and this is also where you’ll find the relevant contact information should you have any questions about scholarship applications.

In many cases you will not be able to apply for university scholarships until you have gained acceptance onto a program at the university. If you are relying on a scholarship for funding, please see question five below.

As well as university scholarships (funded by your university), there may also be a range of external scholarships you can apply for, such as government scholarships or scholarships funded by organizations or charities with an invested interest in higher education.

To look for these scholarships you can either use a scholarships search service such as InternationalScholarships.com or FastWeb.com, or you can conduct a more thorough search by visiting official consular/governmental websites for yourself and tracking down any information provided on international student funding. Often current scholarships will be listed together, for example as on the government of Canada’s dedicated scholarships website, or the DAAD's scholarship database (for Germany), but sometimes they are trickier to find, so be patient!

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5.  Can I apply for a scholarship before being accepted into a university?

If you’re relying on scholarship funding in order to be able to study, you should let the school in question know of your situation. Some schools offer only ‘fully funded’ places, meaning all applicants must have sufficient funding in place. But many allow you to apply to a program before gaining scholarships, on the understanding that you let them know as soon as possible if you have to reject the place due to lack of funding . If you do not get the scholarship, you should still have time to withdraw your university application or find an alternative method of funding before the start of term.

6.  How do I apply for international scholarships?

In most cases, schools, governments and external organizations will list their scholarship opportunities online, with details of how to apply found alongside these listings. Most will allow you to submit your application online, accompanied by any supporting documentation you are asked to provide (see below).

In rarer cases, the scholarship provider will specify an address for you to send your application in a printed format. If you have any specific queries about applying for scholarships, contact the provider using the contact information found on official websites.

For more application advice, as well as information on finding relevant scholarship programs, please see our complete guide on How to Find Scholarships to Study Abroad.

7.  How do I know if I am eligible to apply?

You will know if you are eligible to apply for a particular scholarship by reading the details on eligibility found on the provider’s website. Eligibility may depend on nationality, if the scholarship in question is targeted at students from specific regions. For subject-specific scholarships, the program you are enrolling on will also affect your eligibility.

In most cases, university scholarships are only open to students who have already been accepted onto a program at that particular university. Government scholarships will also have designated funds for domestic students, as well as separate funds for international students – so make sure you have found the correct scholarship scheme before applying.

Other common eligibility requirements include good grades at prior level of study, a degree from a reputed university (for graduate scholarships), and proficiency in English (e.g. TOEFL/IELTS, for English-language programs).

8.  What should I submit with my scholarship application?

As well as a completed application form, which will include information about yourself and your contact details, you may also be asked to provide the following documentation to support your application:

    • A transcript of grades
    • Letter(s) of recommendation
    • An essay on a given topic

For some ‘need-based’ university scholarships in the US, applicants will also be asked to submit a ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’ (FAFSA) to establish whether they are in need of financial aid.

9.  What should I include in my scholarship essay?

The simple answer would be: anything that makes you stand out. Anything relevant to your studies, that is! The majority of scholarship providers want to know why they should fund you rather than any other applicant, so use your essay as a chance to prove your worth – mention your academic achievements, your ambitions and your interests and how they relate to the program you are applying for.

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10.  When is the best time to apply for study abroad scholarships?

Many study abroad scholarships have similar deadlines, which often depend on the start dates of the academic year in the relevant country. For fall admission, scholarships for international students can be found up until the late summer months, and for winter admission you’ll often have until late in the fall to apply. For exact dates, be sure to check the details provided on the website of the scholarship provider and note them down in your calendar so as not to miss a key deadline.

11.  How do I get help with my scholarship application letter?

If you need help gathering information about particular scholarship programs, you should get in contact with the scholarship provider directly. If you want advice and guidance on making your application a good one, see our Admissions Advice site section.

12.  What are scholarship scams and how do I avoid them?

A common way of determining scholarship scams is to ask yourself if the scholarship sounds simply too good to be true. If the application process seems too easy, or if you have to pay to apply, you should be wary. If a website is offering a ‘guaranteed scholarship’, or you receive an unsolicited email, you should be very skeptical.

If you are worried about the authenticity of a scholarship, conduct an online search to see if there is any more information online about the same scholarship. If there is very little information, or the information that is provided is somewhat vague or unclear, walk away!

To minimize your chances of being taken in by a scam, stick to official websites belonging to schools, government or reputed organizations, or use a free scholarship search service.

13.  Further questions?

If you have any unanswered questions about scholarship programs, either contact the scholarship provider directly or ask your question in the comments section below. 

This article was originally published in February 2015. It was updated in August 2018.

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Laura Tucker's profile image
Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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Hello,i am Anyanwu peace and i am from Nigeria and i just entered ss3.is it right for me to start applying for scholarships now?also ,in some applications they would give me an address of where to send my printed transcripts and other documents but i am in Nigeria.what do i do?and are there scholarships that dont need either toefl ,ielts or sat

I have three years experience as Lecturer in an University and almost three years working as a consultant (Civil Engineer). Which scholarship I can apply?

Hi,i have a doubt that the amount which we get in scholarship will have to paid by me after completing my bachelor's degree or not??

Hi Garvit, No, the scholarship will not have to be repaid after graduation as it is not a loan. I hope this helps :) 

Hello all to wherever you might be in the world. My name is Khethi and I am a ninth grade student living in Africa. I have acknowledged the fact that I did not adhere to the rules and regulations/terms and conditions that were mentioned during the registration process(with me being 15 years of age), although I had a few questions on my mind that I was to eager to wait next year for. My first question was to ask that which grade's(as in 9th grade, 10th grade) report card marks(yearly marks) should I apply in my scholarship. My second question is what percentage/grade/marks would I need to have a chance just to get accepted into a top university such as MIT or any Ivy league school. It would be awesome if this could be replied to as soon as possible. In any case, Have a fantastic day despite the conditions put in quarantine

Hi, my name is Bonnie Pedersen. I am 16 and won't be going to college/university for 4ish years or so. I was just wondering if it is at all possible to get a scholarship early for the future, sort of ensuring you can go or whatever. I'm not that familiar with this sort of stuff, so forgive me if I sound dull and incompetent at this topic.
I just would really like to know because I don't want to go to Uni in the AU, I would rather study abroad and it costs a lot more money, but I would do anything to become a good and well-known musician for my career.

Hi Bonnie, It's great that you're being organized and proactive about your application. However, you can't apply for scholarships that early. Most universities state their opening date and the deadline for that academic year on their website, so you should apply for scholarships as you're applying for university.

You can view all of our advice about scholarships here and see the full list of scholarships to study abroad here, to help you prepare. Take a look at our destination guides to find out more about studying abroad in your chosen country. For our guide on finding scholarships to study abroad click here. Good luck! 

Assalam o Alikum. Are there any programs in which 2 years of study in abroad and remaining 2 years in domestic university is possible with scholarship????

I want to take admission in PhD in Sociology from one of the 500 universities as per UGC rules created in India. My post graduation ( Master Of Art in Sociology ) is 75% and graduation (Bachelor of Science subject Physics mathematics ) is 46%. I am doing M Phil from sociology right now and I have cleared the UGC jrf exam. If yes, there is any possibility to take admission in PhD. from foreign university. Kindly requesting you to tell stepwise process to take admission

That's very good article. I want to share here a link that would i think will good for public interest.


I am currently studying BA Graphic Design. I am considering applying for a masters scholarship in the US, preferably the Parsons School of Design. I am Polish, yet I have been living in the Uk for 10 years and I have obtained the residency status. Will my nationality be a problem when applying for a scholarship ? Also, will I be required to pass the IELTS examination, despite the fact that for the past 10 years I have been a student in the UK ?

Yoy don't need any English Test because of your residency status. But you might need GRE

Hello, i think its possible to get scholarship after that and you need to just keep an eye on relevant universities where you are interested to get admission but on thing that you should also do part time jobs while having study to manage your expenses and jobs are best to find out where to do job and what are packages and other stuff. Thanks

Hi Laura!
hope you will be fine. i am from Pakistan and looking forward to get Master's scholarship in field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. My bachelors will be complete in 2019.
Please inform me, Can i apply for scholarships during my Bachelor's degree. What i needed and kindly provide a list of available scholarships for Master in Computer Science(AI , Data Science, ML, Deep Learning)

thanks in Advance :)

I have seen many scholarship schemes available for both technical and non-technical background students. Some scholarship schemes in India offers up to 100% Tuition fee while some offers other benefits like free laptops along with some amount of tuition fee as scholarship. all you need is to understand what suits you well. Below are some of the scholarship schemes for students pursuing /appeared for 12th.

Scholarship schemes for medical/non-technical students

All India Pre-medical scholarship Test (Primary)- AIPMST (Primary) is one of the most preferred scholarship exam for students looking for admission in 500+ Govt. approved colleges participating in AIPMST (primary) examination. Students having 50% marks in 12th with medical background can apply for this scholarship scheme. For more information students can visit

Coming Soon

All India Pre-medical scholarship Test (Secondary)- AIPMST (Secondary) offers 12th passed/appeared students to get admission in MBBS and BDS with 100% scholarship. Eligibility criteria for this scholarship exam is 12th passed/appeared with medical background. Students can apply for this scholarship on


Scholarship schemes for Engineering/technical students

ALL India Engineering Entrance scholarship Examination (Primary)-AIEESE (Primary) is for students who are looking pursuing engineering after 12th having 50% marks with technical/non-medical background. This scheme offers up to 100% scholarship in 1000+ Govt. approved engineering colleges participating in AIEESE (Primary) examination. Students can apply for this scholarship on


ALL India Engineering Entrance scholarship Examination (Secondary)-AIEESE (Secondary) is for 12th passed/appeared students looking for pursuing engineering from top IITs and NITs in India with scholarship benefits. Students can apply for this scheme on


Hope this will help you out in choosing the best scholarship program for your higher studies.

Please tell me is these website reliable?

Hi ,I am Jesmin Khanam,Iwant to study in masters of pharmacy ,I would like to know how to apply for a scholarship ,

Hi Sabrina, I'm from Pakistan currently studying in MUET of Pakistan .I would like to know how to apply for a scholorship in Belgium . My interest field is business and management.

Hello, our list of scholarships to study in Europe includes options to study in Belgium. 

Hi, I'm Akash ,21 years old who from India and I would like to know how to get a full scholarship (my family cannot afford it) to study in Belgium. My interest field is Accountancy & Finance , and Business Management. I am a chartered accountant (CA) student from ICAI in India, I want to become a student of your university so please suggest me which courses are best suitable for me, I passed inter exam of CA, Can you help me? thanks for reading my comment and your help.

Hello, I am from India and I am studying MSc in Embedded Systems Engineering ( fourth semester) at the University of Freiburg. I still have at least a year to complete my studies. I am in need of financial support and would like to apply for the scholarship programs. Am I still eligible? If yes, then what are the criteria? I hope for a positive reply. Thank you. Regards

Hello, my name is kaltoum, I am 21 And I am from Morocco, I will get my bachelor degree next year. I was wondering if I am allowed to change my field of studies when I apply for a scholarship?

Hello Kaltoum, i think its possible to get scholarship after that and you need to just keep an eye on relevent universities where you are interested to get admission but on thing that you should also do part time job while having study to manage your expences and jobs are best to find out where to do job and what are packages and other stuff. i hope it helps. Thanks

Hello Kaltoum, i think its possible to get scholarship after that and you need to just keep an eye on relevent universities where you are interested to get admission but on thing that you should also do part time job while having study to manage your expences and jobs are best to find out where to do job and what are packages and other stuff. i hope it helps. Thanks

hi my name is Samar i'm from Tunisia and i want to apply for a scholarship. i'll get my bachelor's degree next year. i want to ask if i have to apply this year for a scholarship or the next year after getting my bachelor's degree? thank u.

hello dear friends
I am from Ecuador, I already did 1 year of phd in Spain without financing, but I would like to know if is possible I to find a scholarship for the remaining two years
If anyone to know some information, please let me know, Thanks

Hi Anna, please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in Europe, which includes options to study in Spain. Hope this helps! 

Hi am Hadiza from Nigeria am 17 a first year student of ABU uni I want to get scholarship desire course mass communication

Hello, i think its possible to get scholarship after that and you need to just keep an eye on relevent universities where you are interested to get admission but on thing that you should also do part time job while having study to manage your expences and jobs are best to find out where to do job and what are packages and other stuff. i hope it helps. Thanks

I am Amir Hassan Saljoqian, I`m from Iran. And I have a new therapeutic approach for cancer and stem cells to treat cancer and organ transplants which base on a theory which can merge quantum mechanic and general relativity and explain dark matter and energy and also this theory has a way to make antimatter. I can prove it by several ways and I found series of Prime numbers by Nuclear decay rate which helped me find distribution of each of the genes in the chromatin structure would you please tell me can I study on your country by this theory? Or have Cooperation or tell me how can I do it please send my answer

Hey there,
Is it correct to negotiate with the university for scholarship? If you have admits from two different universities of equal rankings for similar courses?
If yes, how to go about it?

Hi ! I'm Reuben from Nigeria. And I'm 21. I just got admission to study aerospace engineering in my foundation year at Education first Cambridge (EF) UK but can not afford to raised the tuition fee. So please if their is an alternative on how to get scholarship to study this course help me. I would like any scholarship from any country as far as I can study aerospace engineering. Please I really need your help. Thank you !

Hi Reuben, if you haven't already, I'd recommend checking Cambridge EF for details on scholarships and other funding opportunities they might have available. You might also be able to find a scholarship for engineering among our list here. Hope this helps. 

Hello, I'm Krystyna, 16 years old junior in high school. I would like to know what I should select when I am asked what degree level I need for a scholarship. The choices are undergraduate: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or non degree, and I am just a little bit confused. I want a Bachelor's degree.

Hi, I'm Jelin, 17 years old, from Malaysia. I would like to know if I'm applying an university's scholarship, is it a must that I need to study at the university after I graduate ?

hi Sabrina, I'm a 19 year old from zimbabwe currently doing my last year of high school. i would like to know how to apply for a full scholarship to a canadian university for September 2017. My field(s) of interest are accounting and business finance.Please help. Thank you:)

Hi Nicolas, we've listed scholarships to study in Canada and scholarships to study business - the external links on these articles should provide full information on how to apply. Good luck!

I am a junior highschool student in Morocco , I have a dutch nationality .
I'm planning to enroll an international foundation year in the Netherlands in September 2017 . Could you please tell me about the scholarships offered to me ? How should I apply ? When ? Thanks a lot !

Hi Ismail, we have scholarships for the Netherlands listed in our article 'scholarships to study in Europe', and full details on how to apply and when should be detailed on the scholarship provider's website, but you should contact them if you're unsure about anything. Hope this helps! 

I'm Samara ,19 years old ,who from Lebanon ,i would like to know how to get a full scholarship to study anatomy in Canada ,i"m studding freshmen year in American University for Science and Technology ,please help me to Achieved my dream thank you

Hi Samara, please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in Canada. For more advice on how to find a scholarship, you could download our guide here. Hope this helps!

Hi, I'm Mei Hui ,16 years old who from Malaysia and I would like to know how to get a full scholarship (my family cannot afford it) to study in New York. My interest field is life science. Although I still have one year to study in secondary school . I would like to prepare for it before I graduate. Can you help me? thanks for reading my comment and your help.

Hello, please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in the US, which includes options to study in New York. :)

Hi, I'm Brazilian , 16 years old. I would like to know if I could manage a scholarship to do the last year of my school. I have not finished school yet ( there is one more year ). Can anyone orient me to understand more this process ..?

Hi Yuri, you might be able to find a scholarship from your current university - I'd recommend checking their official website to find out what scholarships they have for current students, and how you can apply. 

Hi. i'm from Iran and i'm studying civil engineering in National University.my grades are average and i'm gonna get my Ielts this year if i get 7 and i write an ISI essay is there any chance for me to get full scholarship for studying Architecture in Australia? i'm really positive about this and i want it so bad but i can not afford it..

I'm From India.
How do I avail scholarships to study for undergraduate engineering in computer science in Saudi Arabia

Hi Sayed, please take a look at our list of computer science scholarships. Hope this helps.

Laura please help me be able to avail a scholarship grants. I am from Philippines.I can help in you community during my study. I am willing to do whatever it takes to be one of the scholarship grants. I have no father. my mother is sickly and cannot help me pursue my graduate study. Thank you.
My name is JOWE T. TANIO

Hi Laura I hope you are ok. My name is Grace Maseko and I would like to study in the USA for post graduate course in Mental health nursing with children with mental health and learning disability. I would like to know how to start from by applying to the universities in the US. I would like to know which scholarships is available for me and I have just completed BSc Psychology with 2.2 can you advise me please. thank you. grace

Hi Laura,
I'm Sabika, am Indonesian. I'm currently on my third year (which is the last year) of Highschool in Indonesia. I'm planning to apply for a scholarship abroad next year. I'm interested in studying medicine but I realize that the tuition fee is too expensive for me. And most of people say that it's next to impossible to study abroad for medicine program unless you're a very smart student. One day I asked my parents about what program should I choose for my undergraduate study and the answer is that I have to follow my passion. Well, I like whatever is it related to medical science and willing to search for further informations about studying abroad for anything related to it. Do you think it's possible for me? Can you help me find scholarship for medical studies in Asia or Europe?