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How Scholarship Programs help Productive African Students Pursue their Dream Career

Have you applied and won a local or international scholarship before? As an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you might have at one time or the other applied for one or more scholarships or preparing to take your first shot. Due to the number of students that end up applying for any available scholarship programme, the chances of winning a scholarship can be considerably low.

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For instance in 2011, WAAW (Working to Advance African Women) received over 200 applications for about 2 scholarship positions. In September 2010, Kingston University London UK received over 700 scholarship applications for its Scholarships and Bursaries for International Students and awarded 65 scholarships. Several other scholarship providers claim to receive hundreds, even thousands of scholarship applications for each round of award only to award a few financial aids. Larger Scholarship programmes like the commonwealth shared scholarship reward a greater number of students with up to 191 scholarship positions in 2012 and each year in 60 different UK Universities for students from developing countries (including Africa).

Shell Scholarship, Chevron, PTDF scholarships and other national scholarships for Undergraduate students receive a larger number of applications each year. The 2012 NITDA IT training scholarship received about 759 applications from Nigerian graduates for about 78 available positions.

That’s about how competitive scholarship contests can be. However, it would be unfair to assume that it is not worth investing the time to prepare and apply for scholarships since only a few students end up winning. Just like most things in life, “Many will be called. Few will be chosen”. Of all the entrants for the MBGN (Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria) pageant, only one winner will eventually emerge with three runner ups. The Nigerian Idol began with a good number of contestants and only one winner emerged. If you followed the reality show, we only had ‘JOE BLUE’ and ‘Lord have MERCY’ in the house, with Mercy out performing Joe to triump as the winner Nigerian Idol 2012.

Now talking about Nigerian Idol, Star Quest and other such talent hunt reality show, my most favorite part is the preliminary stage where the door is open to everyone to come show their talents. The question you may end up asking after having a good laugh, is “what does the word ‘PREPARATION’ mean to these comedians? Do people just wake up and walk down to the audition venue? Well that’s what most people do when applying for scholarships and jobs; and it hardly works out well.

Just like you don’t become a good singer by getting up one morning and getting on stage; you don’t deserve a scholarship just by realizing you need one.

A lot of African students have benefitted from generous scholarship offers from Universities and organisation and there will continue to be more scholarship winners in near future. There are various institutions, companies and organizations generously offering scholarships to African students, but most of these scholarships, like the reality shows, while is open for almost everyone to apply, is not meant for everyone to win.

Here are some of the common requirements for scholarship programmes (although it comes in different varieties);

  • High academic performance
  • Leadership potential
  • Winning Essay
  • Committed to return and impact acquired knowledge to further develop your country.
  • English language proficiency
  • Have been awarded conditional or unconditional place at an institution (varies)
  • Is financially in need and cannot otherwise pay to study at [insert school and country name here]
  • Involved in community/volunteer service and extra-curricular activities
  • Applied as an international/oversea fee paying student (common with partial/fee deduction scholarships)
  • Age limit may be required in some cases.
  • You currently Live and work in an African or developing country (this one’s easier to fit in).

A number of students from Africa have had the opportunity to pursue their career studying abroad or at home through scholarships and these Africans go ahead to contribute to the development of the continent in their little way. Each year more and more scholarship programmes are introduced to help brilliant but needy students pursue their academic career.

Do you have what it takes to win a scholarship?

If you are considering applying for scholarships to study abroad this or coming year, you should check out this list of 80 Annual study abroad scholarships for African students.