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QS Women in Higher Education Scholarship Winner 2021: Vasiliki Leibow

By Niamh O

Updated August 23, 2021 Updated August 23, 2021

"Women's education is a topic close to my heart. Women having access to higher education allows them to become leaders in their fields and have an impact on our world," says Vasiliki Leibow, this year's 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.

Vasiliki Leibow, a student from the US, will begin her studies on London School of Economics and Political Science's Master of Gender, Policy, and Inequalities (MSc) programme this year.

Vasiliki won this year’s QS Women in HE Scholarship (worth US$2,000). Topuniversities spoke with Vasiliki to find out what the scholarship meant to her and her future studies.

How difficult was the scholarship process?

The scholarship process was clear and smooth. The prompt for the essay topic was direct and listed the clear steps to qualify for the scholarship. I greatly enjoyed answering the prompt because it was such a thought-provoking question. 

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

Scholarships are essential for students today. The price of universities often come with the burden of borrowing student loans that can take years to pay back. Scholarships allow students who may not have had the resources to pursue their academic interests to do so, especially if they wish to study overseas. 

I would have been able to attend school without the scholarship, however, the tuition cost would have posed an even greater challenge to pay on my own. 

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

I do, only a select few students are granted scholarships. If more scholarships were available and easily accessible for students, then education would never be limited to only those who can afford it. 

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

I applied to many scholarships, however, for graduate school, most scholarships have strict guidelines that prevented me from applying to as many as I would have liked. This scholarship allowed me to follow easy and clear application instructions and be selected based on my writing alone. 

Why are scholarships dedicated to women in HE important today?

I will be studying Gender, Policy and Inequalities in school this year. Women's education is a topic close to my heart. Women having access to higher education allows them to become leaders in their fields and have an impact on our world. This is a privilege that was never allowed to women throughout history, and in certain societies continues to be the case. 

How did you make the decision on LSE?

The programme I was accepted into was the reason I chose to attend LSE. Gender Policy is a specialised topic, but nevertheless an important one. 

Have you thought ahead to what you’d like to do after graduation?

Yes, I hope my degree will give me the tools to perform policy research that will influence policymakers to prioritise women's rights and opportunities.

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

When applying to scholarships that require you to write, write from your heart. Feel proud of your work! This is the best way for others to see the value in your writing and give you the chance to receive a scholarship.

This article was originally published in August 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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