10 Best Tips For Winning Abroad Scholarships
Don’t let study abroad costs get you down. A common misconception about study abroad is that it is unaffordable, but guess what?
There are literally thousands of study abroad scholarships and grants out there, just waiting for you to apply for them! And who doesn’t love free money? We all get those heart-eye-emoji vibes just thinking about it.
You might have to make some sacrifices in the months leading up to your summer/semester/year abroad (say no to splurging on dessert and cut down on on that post-Christmas-sales shopping), but being smart with your money before studying abroad is just one stepping stone on the way to bigger and better adventures.
Smart saving tactics mixed with financial aid (like scholarships to study abroad) mean you’ll be able to finally achieve your travel goal
We know you want to travel in great places, but since you are busy juggling school, work, family, and friend commitments, we didn’t want to waste YOUR time with outdated ideas or strategies to help you win those awards
Here are 10 sure-fire steps to score the best study abroad scholarships
1. Apply Early
Even if there’s no preference indicated for early applicants, remember that humans — humans who most likely have other jobs and responsibilities besides selecting scholarship winners, are reviewing all applications.
Once the deadline is reached, those evaluators will be inundated with applications and may start skimming through applications.
2. Understand the Organization’s Goals and Values
Before starting an application, you have to understand your audience. Look at what the organization actually does their mission statement or values page, and understand what seems important to them and how they talk about themselves. Then identify those keywords and values, and make sure you work those into your application.
3. Understand How They Evaluate Candidates
Who are they really looking for? Look at past winners or the detailed FAQ that is probably on their website. Re-read the parts where they describe how candidates will be evaluated. Keep coming back to this and checking yourself and your application against each one of those criteria.
4. Make a List of Everything You Qualify For
Start with your home university, and then move on to external providers. Meet with folks at the career center or study abroad office. Find out what is available, who is eligible, what the requirements are, and when the deadline is.
Make a spreadsheet in Google Drive. Then move on to the bowels of Google. Search “study abroad + undergraduate + scholarship + country/language/major” and add those to the list. You are going to wind up applying to as many as possible.
5. Be Prepared to Work Hard for Study Abroad Scholarships
Trying to get a scholarship, whether for full-time study or for study abroad, is hard work. You will probably need to apply to half a dozen opportunities for every one you hope to win. It will take time, so set up a schedule where every Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday night you sit for 3 hours and work on applications (or something to that effect).
6. Avoid Generic Statements at all Costs
You have a unique story by virtue of being alive. So do not say things like, “I want to explore new cultures” or “I’ve always been interested in Arabic.” Tell the story about the refugee family that moved down the block, or how you love Egyptian cinema, or befriended the Korean exchange student in middle school. Make your interests come alive through concise stories and personal experience.
7. Double Check Eligibility and Application Requirements
Before submitting anything, double check that you meet all the eligibility and that you have all of the application requirements satisfactorily completed. Many students wind up being disqualified because they have simply forgotten something.
8. Contact the Scholarship/Grant Funder Directly
The best way to know all the nitty-gritty details of the scholarships you will be applying for, as well as up-to-date application requirements, is to contact the funder directly — they practically wrote the book on how to get a scholarship to study abroad!
Will this ensure that you have all the correct information, not only you will also be showing the scholarship or grant funder/provider that you are not afraid to take the initiative and actively pursue the scholarship you are applying for.
9. Check Your References
No, we do not mean your bibliography. Most study abroad scholarship essays and applications require personal references; that is, someone you have worked with either in a professional or academic setting.
For most students, this means reaching out to professors and asking for their assistance. When asking a professor to be a reference, or to write you a recommendation letter, always ask them far in advance so that they may prepare.
10. Take Your Time & Take it seriously
It can be easy to feel the need to rush through applications, especially if you are applying to a number of them. However, you should treat study abroad applications just as seriously as the applications you completed to be accepted into your university.
Read and follow the directions for scholarships to study abroad, and leave yourself enough time to complete all of your applications without feeling as if you are under a heavy-hammer deadline.
You will turn out better-quality work if you do not feel rushed, and better-quality work means a better chance for more financial aid!