You are here

Applying for a Scholarship: The Basics

Applying for a Scholarship: The Basics main image

Need to get a scholarship but don't know where to start? Then our guide is for you. Read on to find out how to research, apply, and get funding for your undergraduate degree.


Studying at a top university is often an expensive choice to make, but there is money out there for you. If you've just emptied the last of your coins from your piggy bank and your account is still in the red, don't despair. This guide will give you the starting point you need for a successful scholarship application.

Almost all top universities will have scholarships available for students to apply for. You just need to know what they are, where you can find them, and how you can put yourself forward for them. To begin with, you need to realize that putting together a successful scholarship application does often require a significant amount of time. But of course, if you're successful, your efforts will be well worth it. 

1. Do your research

To avoid putting pressure on yourself and trying to apply for that scholarship you desperately want at the last minute, start your research early. The more time you can put into your scholarship search, the more options you will have. You will need time to research scholarships, request information and application forms, and complete your application by the specified closing date. Remember that some scholarships may close before your academic year starts.

2. Check if you are eligible

Another important element you want to consider early on is finding out what scholarships you are actually eligible for - because you won't be eligible for them all. By doing careful research you'll be able to find the scholarships most appropriate for you and then you can spend time working on your application for those ones. The last thing you want is to spend time putting together an application for a scholarship you don't even meet the criteria for.

3. Be organized

It pays to be organized when it comes to working on your scholarship application. To begin with, keep all of your scholarship material in a separate folder. That way you will always know where it is, and make sure you have the most up-to-date information in there. This will also help you to keep track of the different deadlines for each of the scholarships you are applying for. They won't all be due at the same time.

4. Include all required information

Make sure you have all of the information that the selection panel has requested of you in your application. An application with missing items does not make the best first impression, particularly if these are items they have specifically requested. See the checklist at the bottom of this article to see what you need to include.

5. Think about presentation

A scholarship application is very similar to a job interview. You want to give a good impression and spelling mistakes or illegible writing do not look good. If you're fill in a form in a particular way, do so. And before you send it, ask a family member or friend to proof-read it for you. They may find a mistake that you just didn't pick up.

6. Provide correct information

Not only should you provide all of the information that the selection panel has requested, make sure you provide the correct information as well. Small details such as your full and correct address, or a new phone number if you've lost your mobile, will avoid any unnecessary delays, as well as making you look professional.

7. Provide references/referees

In some cases you may need to provide references or referees. Choose these people carefully. After all, there's a lot hanging on this application. You also need to let each of your referees know when you are applying for a scholarship, and tell them something about the kind of skills and experience you need to demonstrate. That way they'll be able to ensure they praise you in the most effective way!

8. Don't miss the deadline

Always give yourself an extra few days leeway when applying for a scholarship. You may need this if you're getting your application professionally printed, or if you're waiting for confirmation from a referee. Remember, late applications won't usually be considered. 

Scholarships checklist:

  • Are you eligible?
  • Do you know the deadline?
  • Have you got all the necessary information? This will vary depending on the scholarship application, but usually includes: academic record; proof of financial circumstances; confirmation of your study plans.
  • Do your referees know what scholarship(s) you are applying for?
  • Have you and a friend/family member proofread your scholarship application?
  • Have you submitted your application before the deadline?

For more information and answers to commonly asked questions about finding and applying to scholarships, see our Scholarship Applications: FAQ.

Want more content like this? Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Related categories:

Ajit K, Binyam B & 2 others saved this
QS Staff Writer's profile image
Written by QS Staff Writer

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles


Hello, It's María from Spain. I'm actually in 11th grade in highschool and I'm looking for a scholarship in USC or any colleges in South Carolina. Thank you.

hi am from Kurdistan/iraq i want to get a scholarship in architecture. please help.

Hi Alan, please take a look at our list of architecture scholarships around the world. Hope this helps!

Hi I am an undergraduate and I am searching for a degree in astronomy and astrophysics

hi i am research scholar i want to apply for scholarship what i want to do... now i am 2nd year of research...

hi ican i get a scholarship to study medecine at UCLA

Hello, I'd recommend firstly checking UCLA's official website for details on any scholarship opportunities they offer that you could be eligible for. You could also check our list of medical scholarships around the world. Hope this helps!

hello..i'm asmit from Nepal....i want scholarship in health and medicine.please guide me....currently in high school.(+2 nepal)

Hi Asmit, please take a look at our list of medical scholarships around the world. You might also like to apply for our Undergraduate Scholarship, which awards up to US$10,000 to one student starting a bachelor's degree at any QS-ranked university. 

I have already received offer letter from University of Dundee but i lack funds for my course.
I'm a first class honors degree graduate and would be extremely grateful for any help with scholarship.

Hi Uma, I'd firstly recommend checking the University of Dundee's official website for details on funding opportunities you may be eligible for, and you might also like to take a look at our list of scholarships to study in the UK. Hope this helps! 

Hi I'm Miracle from Nigeria in need UK scholarships in Computer science and information systems.

Hi Miracle, please take a look at our list of computer science scholarships, which includes options to study in the UK. 

Hi, I'm looking for full term English Linguistics scholarship in UK, please.

i am looking for a full term medicine scholarship in the US for 2015 please help

In Canada I go to , they give away a few scholarships per month. They're worth checking out

hi i have done Mphil in Sociology and now I want to do Phd. Iam from humble background and want to get scholarship plz

Hello my name is Portia and I come from Ghana.i want to apply for a scholarship in the UK universities, I would also like to know the date for the release of the 2014 admissions.Thank You.

Hi Portia. We have a list of scholarships to study in the UK here. And to find out more about applying to universities in the UK, visit our country guide, here.

Hope this helps!

Hi, plz I'm dire in need of full scholarship to canada or USA to study sociology/political scienc. I have finish my high school with good grade obtaining nine (9) credit pass in my school certificate and have the ambition to pursue my further studies to abroad (canada/USA) I have the academic requirement for eligibility but I'm an indigent student from humble background. I don't have the financial support to bring my dream to actualisation. Please and please how can you be of help to me??

Hi Okoh. We have a list of scholarships to study in the US here, and a list of scholarships to study in Canada is coming soon! Keep an eye on this page:

I am from bangladesh.I wanted to scholarship in AIT(asian institute of tecnology). i will complet diploma in mechanical enginiering decembre 2014. can somebody help me?

i am from Myanmar.I am seeking post-grad scholarships in agriculture and other related fields.plz can u help me.

hi,am Asmau from Nigeria. i here by want to apply for scholarship to study in king khalid university

hi, im ayon from Bangladesh. in australia the tution free is so much higher. how can i reduce this fees nd want to study in australia. my family condition is not too well.
can some body help me.

Hello am Gail i really need a scholarship to study Biotechnology in Belgium.I will be graduating on December 2014 from the DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY

Its me Md. Alhaz Uddin, Master of Science (M. Sc) student, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh. I graduated from secondary and higher secondary schools in my country with grades much higher than average and as I decided to study on biological science. I got enrolled in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. Recently I’ve finished my 4 year graduation and got good grade in my B. Sc examinations. At present, I am studying my M. Sc at the above mentioned discipline and side by side eagerly looking for a chance to receive higher study opportunity as I have very much interested in research work and to build a research based career.
I have keen interest in biomedical research especially in the field of cancer drugs/therapy development. But there are still many limitations here and as I am interested to do research in such a place where I have access to state-of-the-art technologies and modern research tools. This is why I want to go advanced countries as well as modern lab.
I think my working habits are impeccable. I am punctual, loyal, well prepared, enthusiastic and very well acquainted with scientific topics. I feel very much interest in the different fields of biological sciences. I also have a very warm personality with a good team spirit. I'm a workaholic person and love to dedicate myself to the work I'm doing but I am not too experienced with modern techniques, but I am always willing to learn new skills.
To become a part of critical research that can give me an opportunity to achieve a high professional growth by working as a team member and carry out vital tasks that would produce profit oriented results for the organization as well as the society.
So please come forward to fulfill my dreams providing necessary consultation .........

I am searching for the good universities of south Africa with scholarship until 2015. i had completed my fist degree of Information communication technology( ICT) from Amoud university somalia and had about 1years experience in GSM engineering. now I am interest master Account and Finance. Please let me know if you find any. Thanks

Hi Jamal. You might be interested in our guide to studying abroad in South Africa:

You may also be interested to see which South African universities appear in our ranking of top universities in the five BRICS countries:

Here at QS we also offer some scholarships, exclusively available to attendees of the QS World Grad School Tour. You can find out about those here:

Best wishes for your search!

I wanted to surf for the available scholarship for MPH (master in public health ). I had completed my BPH from Nepal Pubanchal university and had about 2 years experience in research. I am currently working in mental health sector in TPO Nepal ( NGO ). I am focusing to study in korea. If anyone have idea regarding this please I would be grateful for you.

I am a NIGERIAN. I really need a scholarship to sturdy in Malaysia

Hi Nancy. You may want to take a look at our guide to studying in Malaysia, here:

i want to study in astralia in scolorship

Hi Adnan. You can find out more about applying to study in Australia with our country guide, here:

I really need a scholarship to study at one of indian best medicaL universities

I will love to have a schlarship to study software engineering in united state of america.

Please I'm looking for a scholarship at leeds or leicester, any help? :(

It is true that there are generally more scholarships available at postgraduate level, but there is support available for undergraduate studies too. Best of luck for your search!

Here I am .

I was awarded a Chines Government Scholarship I am in need of a admission letter

I am doing A level in Bangladesh. I want to go abroad for undergraduate studies basically in USA or in UK and prefer a scholarship. I am looking for scholarships but getting no options for undergraduate studies. What should I do now to find the scholarship..............

Hi Ahsan,

If you have an idea of which US/UK universities you want to apply to, you can check to see whether they offer any scholarships you could be eligible for - these should be listed on the university websites. You could also check whether any organizations in your own country offer scholarships that would support you to study abroad, as well as searching for scholarships offered by organizations based in the US and UK.

Some information about scholarships for international students in the UK is included in this article:

It is true that there are generally more scholarships available at postgraduate level, but there is support available for undergraduate studies too. Best of luck for your search!


Thank you so much Laura for your information.

I would like to study engineering in MIT,therefore am requesting for a scholarship from the university

i am searching for good scholarship in USA

I am from Liberia West Africa, my Country suffer from a 14 years of bloody civil war from Charles Taylor former rebel leader of a group national patriotic front of Liberia (N.P.F.L). now Liberia is striving for development and the educational system is very difficult for student to enroll at the University of Liberia. kindly grant me a scholarship in United States of America in the area of Medical Science to enable me contribute to the develop of the Health sector of my Country.

Estoy buscando una beca para estudiar inglés, en Cost Rica o a distancia. ¿Me pueden ayudar? Lizeth

I am a 20 year old female, currently looking for full financial assistance to study in the USA. I have a good academic record and have applied to several universities. I am South African and in need of a sponsor for my tuition, accomodation, books, meals and airfare. I will be willing to meet any requirements for any sponsor and to fulfil my obligation with pride and commitment. Your assistance will be highly appreciated.

i would like to study in the US pursuing ac bachelors of commerce am a ugandan aged 24yrs , whats the way forward?

hi.. i am Swarup Roy , I am frm india , So i just complt my MBA in indian university. So PLease Suggest me how to go Abroad in further Study.

I want a scholarship for MIT.