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QS Academic Excellence Scholarship Winner 2021: Aryan Mehra

By Niamh O

Updated September 30, 2021 Updated September 30, 2021

"I think that there should be many more scholarships that reward meritorious students. It has given me recognition for the hard work that I have done in the past and gives me the necessary incentive to pursue higher studies," said Aryan Mehra, this year's Academic Excellence Scholarship winner.

Attending university is a huge expense for students, with international students paying even more in tuition fees than domestic students to undertake their studies.

Scholarships, financial aid, and funding offer students’ additional monetary assistance should they need it to help with the expenses associated with higher education.

Aryan Mehra, a student from India, will begin his studies on Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) this year.

Aryan won this year’s Academic Excellence Scholarship (worth US$10,000). Topuniversities spoke with him to find out what the scholarship meant to him and his future studies.

How difficult was the scholarship process?

The scholarship process was very smooth and easy in terms of the application. At the same time, the questions asked in the application essay required a good level of introspection and thought, which also helped lead me on a path of self-awareness and discovery.

How important are scholarships for education today? Especially as an international student?

Scholarships have a two-fold effect on students like me. Firstly, they provide the financial support necessary to pursue dreams in an appropriate academic environment. Secondly, they provide positive reinforcement to the fact that I am working in the right direction, and am being appreciated for the same.

Would you have been able to go to school without the scholarship?

I would have been able to go to school (CMU). This scholarship has been a sense of financial backing and relief. The scholarship has reduced the financial burden on me and my family.

Do you think there should be more scholarships available for students across universities?

Definitely, I think that there should be many more scholarships that reward meritorious students. It has given me recognition for the hard work that I have done in the past and gives me the necessary incentive to pursue higher studies.

Would you have gone to school later without the scholarship?

Yes, I would have gone to CMU in any case, because it is the best place to foster my interests in computer science and machine learning.

Which other scholarships did you look at? And why did this appeal to you?

The QS scholarship was one of the few scholarships that catered to the international student community. It was appealing to me because it awarded my academic prowess and ability to bring change in the world purely based on merit. QS is a renowned organization with a great reputation, and that added to the appeal of the scholarship.

How have you found your studies so far?

I firmly believe that computer science has the potential to empower people in every remote corner of the world. In this COVID era, it is the backbone of growth now more than ever. Hence, I have approached my studies with zeal and found computer science to be of utmost importance and interest to me. Specifically, I have found machine learning to be applicable in many inter-disciplinary fields.

What about your academic career stood out for the scholarship?

I believe that there are three aspects to my academic career that have stood out. Firstly, most of my academic career is centered around solving humanitarian and environmental challenges with computer science. It leads to a sense of fulfillment and paints a broader picture in every project I took up. Secondly, my academic journey has been a diverse amalgamation of application-based problem-solving. At every step, I have tried to optimize my approach and give my best at a university, national and international scale. Thirdly, I think I have been able to show what each academic and personal experience taught me, and how it is an integral part of who I am today.

If you could give advice to prospective students hoping to earn the academic excellence scholarship, what would you say?

I would suggest that just you should definitely stick to the topic (prompt) and show how you can “connect the dots”. Try to make full use of the word limit to beautifully paint a picture of who you are and what experiences are behind your academics, academic personality, and academic prowess. Why you did what you did, and what you achieved, are both significant aspects to cover with your academic excellence experiences.

What advice would you give to fellow prospective students hoping to earn a scholarship?

I would guide the students to never lose any opportunity to gain exposure, increase knowledge and treat knowledge and academics as an invaluable asset, probably the only one that no one takes away from you. Give your best in every aspect of academics, and the best will come to you. For the scholarship itself, make sure to cover each academic experience with a brief of why you did it, what was the outcome, and what you learned from it.

This article was originally published in September 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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