So you’ve received your offer for the postgraduate course you’ve applied for, but one question remains…how will you fund your studies? A postgraduate scholarship is the answer.
Applying for scholarships can be an incredibly stressful thing, especially after applying for your course. It’s common to feel there’s no point because of their competitive nature. On the flipside it’s also common to put your eggs in one basket and only go for the larger ones. Here are some tips on applying for funding and why it’s worth trying.
My postgraduate scholarship experience
Based on my experience you should definitely apply for scholarships even if you feel unsure or feel there’s no point. There are more scholarships out there than you think!
Though it was admittedly time-consuming, I applied to a lot of scholarships for my undergraduate degree. Luckily I ended up receiving a few of them. I received some university-wide ones, and quite a substantial one from the Albukhary Foundation. All of these helped immensely in waiving some of my tuition fees and with living costs like groceries. It lightened my financial burden and I got more involved in University life. I didn’t have to worry about working in order to survive (though I did hold several casual work positions).
Of course I didn’t get every scholarship but it increased my chances. For postgraduate scholarships specifically, I applied for ones offered by the university, as well as ones offered by my department. I didn’t get all of them but the ones I did get were combined! Partial scholarships and bursaries usually can be taken at the same time, depending on the terms and conditions, as opposed to full scholarships where you can only accept it and nothing else. So even if you’re unable to get a postgraduate scholarship that waives all of your fees, a partial scholarship or bursary can still make a big difference.
My top tips
I feel like not a lot of people know that some academic departments offer bursaries and scholarships too! Many departments are quite generous with awarding funds, and there are some scholarships that you are automatically considered for. For my Masters, I didn’t receive the university-wide scholarships I applied for, but I was awarded my department’s MA scholarship. I had to write a personal statement and potential dissertation proposal for this. On top of that, I was automatically considered and awarded both my department’s MA bursary as well as the bursary for overseas students.
Applying for scholarships sounds like a daunting process and not every scholarship asks for the same thing in their forms. Most ask for personal statements, but these still vary in length. So how can you streamline the process? Keep a master document to keep track of each scholarship application. Note down the deadlines and requirements of each and what you need to do for each of them. It sounds very simple but listing them all in one place will help the organisation process. It will also help you prioritise the ones with closer deadlines and take note those that require additional information or documents.
The time you spend applying for scholarships will pay off! Being awarded even the smaller scholarships will be a big help in alleviating some of your financial burden, allowing you to enjoy your time at university and make the most of your postgraduate experience.
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