As an international student, my journey has been both challenging and rewarding. I was especially pleased when I received my Management School Masters International Academic Excellence Scholarship. The purpose of this post is to share my personal experience around getting a departmental scholarship and to share my top tips on securing one.
What is a departmental scholarship?
If you missed your chance to apply for a fully-funded scholarship or weren’t awarded one, don’t worry! You may still be able to apply for a departmental or school scholarship. What exactly are these? Many of the departments or schools at the University of York have scholarships for their own students. For example, my department (which was York Management School, now known as the School for Business and Society) advertised several management related scholarships.
My departmental scholarship journey
I applied for the fully-funded scholarship during the second round and unfortunately didn’t get it. However, I didn’t give up, as managing your finances as an international student can be quite challenging.
I first heard about the departmental scholarships via the University’s social media. As a result, I applied for two of them, which were open to all international students. I was asked to answer five questions about my academic, professional, and personal development. Because I had already done research, I had a head start when developing my application.
There are several things that I think helped me to develop a ‘stand out’ application. I developed meaningful relationships with distinguished alumni from my course and received feedback from them, which helped me gather compelling evidence for my application. I also attended the University’s events and was able to connect with the International Support team to learn more about the University. In my home country, I also received national recognition for my content creation work, which really helped me stand out.
Furthermore, I was myself throughout the writing process, as I think being authentic is crucial to getting accepted. I believe there isn’t a structure to follow. If that were the case everyone would receive scholarships. You should also keep in mind that these scholarships are highly competitive, so thorough research is expected of you. It wasn’t long before my efforts were rewarded, when I received an email notifying me of my scholarship acceptance. This e-mail gave me goosebumps, and I shed a tear while reading it.
My top tips for prospective students:
1. Being authentic – being real
- You should make sure your application or personal statement is a critical reflection of who you are. If you do this, you will have an increased chance of securing one.
- Be careful not to make false claims that cannot be supported with proof. It’s easy for the judges to identify these with a quick glance.
2. Consider your word limit – stick to it
- Be as precise as possible if you are asked to write 300 or 500 words.
- These scholarships are extremely competitive, so adhering to all guidelines is essential.
3. Be organised – conduct research thoroughly
- Knowing your course modules and the expected outcomes is important, but you also need to conduct external research.
- A key component of external research is finding accreditation, rankings, and the overall satisfaction of students.
- Make sure you set yourself some realistic deadlines, edit your application, and proofread it before you submit it. Keep in mind what is expected of you and follow them strictly.
- Ensure your application relates to your academic development and how it will assist you in your future academic endeavors.
4. Start early – don’t wait until the last minute
- Beginning early will give you a good buffer time to develop your understanding and eventually help you produce a thorough application.
- Get to know the contents of your course by connecting with your academic department.
5. Stay informed – social media
- Take advantage of the University of York’s social media eg Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They’ve also created various vlogs and blog guides to help you get a better understanding of the University.
- Students often share their experiences through University’s social media.
All in all, writing a scholarship application is a time-consuming and stressful process. However, if you leverage the tips I’ve shared above in your favour, you’ll certainly be one step ahead of the competition. Most of you might be starting out on a challenging educational journey and securing a scholarship can help alleviate quite a significant financial burden. Having this scholarship has helped me achieve my academic goals. I am proud to be part of the prestigious University of York and strive to be associated with the University’s distinguished and notable alumni group.