If you are willing to pursue a career or profession then acquiring a degree to that effect is very important. After leaving high school, the reality to get into a college or university sets in, which are likely expensive depending on the institution, location, and other factors.
A scholarship or a grant can be a very good opportunity to use or find. Scholarships are financial assistance awarded to help students afford an undergraduate degree. Scholarships are established by many organizations or the government of a country. They are different from students loan hence would not be repaid at any time.
Although there are clauses in getting these opportunities depending on the category of scholarship it is. Sometimes the student may receive funds directly in the forms of check-in their names and at other times the organizing body of the scholarship may pay the agreed categories of fee for the student to the school, and there may be a balance to remit if the funds do not cover accommodations or other extra costs, but mind you, some scholarships do cover all cost from tuition fee to living expenses.
Money received from scholarship organization directly in the student name on a check should be very wise in spending awarded funds, as highlighted earlier depending on the kind of scholarship it is, will determine how much cost it is going to cover. Sometimes monies do not come as a whole bunch but may be paid in installment.
It is worthy to note that not all scholarships are awarded to the best student achieving excellent academic results, depending on the category and details of the scholarship; some are awarded based on needs, the field of endeavor, location of locality, or belonging to a particular organization.
Knowing these basic things concerning scholarship and its acquisition is very important but what is important first is to prepare you with the basic questions you need to ask yourself before proceeding to continue with the application for a scholarship. Here are some 10 question guidelines to follow and ask yourself prior to your application;
- Why should I apply for a scholarship?: this is a crucial first question to ask yourself, it’s a question that seems like a no brainer, but essential to ask yourself because there are various types of scholarship offered by different organizing bodies, from the government to companies or non-governmental organizations just to mention a few, as highlighted above. Some scholarship benefits cover only tuition fee, while some are strictly for international students only which means as an indigene of a particular location you would not be able to apply for such scholarship, yet there are some that require only the needy, and they must be able to prove how needy. So you need a reason for a scholarship and also have to take some time to select which category of scholarship would truly and fully benefit your university choice, location, and the degree course you have chosen to offer. All these are very important factors to check and know before applying for a scholarship.
- College or university degree course of choice: what do you want to become in the future? Is a familiar question asked many times especially as kids while growing up, here is a time when that question comes to reality and plays an important part in selecting a pathway for a future career. There are several scholarships and many categories of which a particular organizing body can have a variance of categories from engineering to medicine or even some social science course. Some private organizing body that is established by a company may be affiliated inky to a particular field of endeavor and wish to help people gain the education to work for them upon graduation, for example, if Apple Inc. organizes a scholarship body, they may add a clause that only candidates interested in studying computer science can apply. So it is important to make up your mind on a career path.
- Scholarship providers available: Every year there are always numerous scholarship opportunities at different intervals throughout the year. Once you know why you should apply for a scholarship and your career choice has been confirmed then this understanding will guide you to apply with the appropriate agencies or organizing body. A student from Africa may choose to narrow down their search with my school portals, which will provide information on organizing body, location, and terms and conditions that are applicable. For example, the University of Strathclyde in the UK avails 100 scholarships for the faculty of science for an outstanding applicant that is interested in studying a degree at the institution.
- Why choose a particular scholarship organization?: as you know there are several scholarship organizing bodies scattered throughout the world, while some are renowned, some are not so pronounced, but it is essential when you narrow down your search for a scholarship to a particular organization, it is advised to read through the reviews of such organization to see if their clauses work best for you and if you would be able to meet up to their expectation in order to continue the funding. You may also at the vision or missing statement to see their company culture and if you can grow with their support.
- Knowing the terms and conditions: scholarship opportunities from every organizing body come with some terms and conditions that are more like a contract, this means when a scholarship offer is presented it may come with a term, for example, that upon completion of the degree course you would have to work for the company for a certain period of time. Another condition is always that you may not be able to change your course of study when you have already begun the course registered with your scholarship. There are also serious consequences if you should break the term or conditions that were in place.
- Growth opportunity: not all scholarships are there to only support you financially maybe due to excellent academic grades, but some are interested in grooming you for a future in your career with their organization. It is important to see if in your choice of career there are scholarship opportunities that promote your development, in forms of internship with their organization during your degree years, this will be a plus on your CV in the long run. Internships will give you an idea of both the career in pursuit and the organization.
- How long can you wait?: this is another question that seems like a no-brainer, because to the most student it is as soon as they can get the offer on their lap, but considering the several available scholarships, not all cover accommodation or living expenses, so it is left to you to consider this and make a prior plan before applying and this will determine how long you want to wait for. It is important to wait and plan so that you would not be in a rush before considering your financial capability also. It is not advisable to be in a hurry when applying for any scholarship opportunity.
- How much is the scholarship awarding: scholarship opportunities offered are always awarded some monetary benefits and sometimes other benefits add up. Some sponsors offer to cover the tuition fee for a period of course duration without support for other necessities, but oftentimes offers from sponsors for an international student especially choose to cover not just tuition fees but as living expenses and other allowances. It is just a piece of great advice to know exactly how much the scholarship sponsor is willing to offer and how they would come in if it will be in installment or a bulk payment. However, it is a general idea that the more support your scholarship provides the more commitment you are obliged to involve after your studies.
- Can you apply for multiple scholarships and grants?: it is a great idea to be able to gain more than one scholarship at a time and also use the opportunity at the same time, while this might be acceptable by a few to be able to apply for other grants, it is not always acceptable by many other agencies due to their framework or purpose behind the scholarship initiative. Some organizing bodies may not even allow any other side activities that might help you financially. So it is also a good idea to check if the scholarship agency you are applying to would permit another application or a grant elsewhere.
- Do I really need a scholarship?: this could be the final question to better help you discern if you are ready to take the necessary step towards achieving your career goals. Peer pressure is a factor that can influence your decision in taking a scholarship, so you should be certain that you want an opportunity offer, this final discernment will help you navigate through the chore of settling for the best scholarship alternative that best fit your career goals. Then you may finally be on the right part in your application.
Also See: 10 Common Scholarship Interview Questions And How to Answer Them
It is important and also worthy of note that in applying for a scholarship opportunity, it may be very easy in filling a form to the effect and can also be difficult if you do not have a complete idea of the requirement, you should go through the available information and search for other sources of review to help you better suggest appropriate answers. This is a warning to students that would be required by any website to pay a sum to get a successful application, kindly decline, after all, you are supposed to gain support financially for your education, not the other way round.