For many students, including me, all kinds of scholarships used to be something out of fairytales. Fugazy. I genuinely believed that there is no way on earth I’ll ever be considered for study abroad scholarships or make it to the next round. Not to mention actually getting one. In fact, I thought the judges would laugh about me and my application. That’s pretty much what I thought back then:
However, until today, I received grants worth thousands of euros. This allowed me to study abroad multiples times in my favorite countries around the world. It also allowed me to do my absolute dream internship within aerospace in the USA. From the bottom of my heart, I encourage you to always apply for study abroad scholarships, too, and make your own dreams come true. Here are 8 reasons, motivations, and tips why you should always apply for study abroad scholarships.
First and foremost, you have absolutely nothing to lose but a whole lot to win. Sure, gathering all the required documents, updating your CV, writing an excellent letter of motivation, and asking professors for letters of recommendation isn’t really fun. It involves a lot of work, and in many cases, many students will not be successful, unfortunately. However, if you never try, you never know. This is almost the most important thing to realize. You really have to give it a try. I can assure you that nobody will make fun of you, neither will anyone look down on you for giving it a try. If anything, you can use your updated CV and letter of motivation as templates for any other future applications. So whatever work you put in will not be “wasted”, even if your scholarship application will not be successful in the end. If you don’t want to take advice from me, you might want to listen to Shia 😉
Let me tell you that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room or some sort of genius to receive a scholarship. Sometimes, your motivation is even more important than good grades. Or any other personal circumstances. In that case, convincing the jury with a great letter of motivation is key to success. Usually, it is mentioned somewhere what the scholarships are based on. If not, get in touch with the foundation or institution and ask what they value in a student. Demonstrating your passion and explaining your personal background is often more relevant than only good grades.
As part of every scholarship application, students are asked if they receive any other form of financial support or if they intend to apply for any other scholarships. This way, the university gets a better understanding of your financial background, situation, and plans. Making false statements here or lying could result in losing any awarded scholarships in the end. You may also have to pay back your scholarship in retrospect. That being said…
…Even if you put in a lot of work, your application might be unsuccessful at first. However, some of the people ahead of you might get even “better” scholarships. In that case, they usually have to decide which one they want to go for because they can’t keep more than two scholarships of any kind at the same time. And I am sure they will not make false statements here, as explained above. In addition to that, some awardees might get sick, have accidents, or decide to stay at home for any other reason like family issues or a new relationship. In the end, some scholarships will be awarded to runner-ups instead. Maybe it’s gonna be you!
Do you think you just don’t deserve a study abroad scholarship? Well, in that case, you are not alone. In theory, there are thousands of possible candidates out there. Still, the number of applicants can end up being extremely low. Many students don’t apply because they think they have low chances, are not aware of the scholarship in the first place, don’t want to go abroad anyway, or are too lazy to put in the work. It is not uncommon to be one of only a few applicants with 40% to 50% chances, theoretically.
What reduces the number of possible applicants even further is that not all students can actually apply for all scholarships. There are some only for students within agriculture, real estate, art, music, engineering, etc. Sometimes the target groups are even more specified, which shrinks the number of eligible students to a minimum. Examples of these scholarships are such for women in engineering, refugees, or single fathers and mothers. These are often awarded by corresponding federal foundations or companies. Search for scholarships tailored to your academic or private/personal background and apply for all of them. The more, the better!
People change over time, and so are you. Suppose you were just an average student in secondary school. In that case, you were probably nowhere near getting any kind of scholarships for your first college degree (based on your previous grades from school). That’s fine, but it’s in the past. As a student in college, you have to focus on your current performance. Only because you were an average student in secondary school doesn’t mean you are still average in college. You have to make yourself aware of that. Suppose you are passionate about what you are doing and have good grades. In that case, you can absolutely be considered for much sought-after scholarships. Motivation and extracurriculars are essential, too.
For many people, the only way to go abroad is by receiving scholarships. If you are one of them, scholarships can be an excellent motivation for your academic performance, too. If you work really hard and receive fantastic grades, you are still left with an outstanding GPA even if your application is not successful in the end. But you win in any case. After finishing your first degree, you can also apply for awards that honor students with outstanding GPAs. This way, you might get a generous one-time payment that allows you to go abroad during your master’s program.
This continues the previous thought. Besides scholarships with regular payments, you can also try to get awards, a.k.a. one-time payments for your thesis or research project. In that case, you don’t have to maintain a high work ethic throughout your entire degree but only for a shorter period. Again, this has several advantages:
The best idea is to sign up for your university’s newsletter and follow their social media accounts to stay updated about current events and news, including study abroad scholarships and awards. Also, search for scholarships tailored to your studies and personal background. There are scholarships for everyone. Volunteering and extra-curricular always help to stand out. But most importantly: just do it! You will be successful one day!