How to Get Scholarship and Funding Opportunities for Master’s DegreeIdes Ofune 10th March 2019 0 COMMENTS
You are from a low income country and you want to get a Master’s degree but funding seem to be a problem. This challenge is more common than you think, however, it should not stop you from aiming to get a Master’s degree. The question is how? Pay attention to these tips:
Believe that you can: the first thing you MUST do is believe that you can get a scholarship to study in the school of your choice. You must be have this self-belief and disabuse your mind from whatever negative stories you must have heard. Your race, gender, socio-economic background do not matter at all. What matters is your ability to prove to the scholarship evaluation board that you can excel in whatever area you choose – emphasis on prove. I had a friend who told me he wanted to do his master’s degree but no funding. I advised him to apply for scholarships, and his response was that “scholarships are not for people like me”. That’s a self-limiting belief. The scholarships available in schools and private organisations are for human beings not for animals, so you can get it. Just believe it
Make Good grades in your undergraduate study: that’s a prerequisite for getting a scholarship but not the only way. There are many others that I will outline below. Getting good grades simply means you have shown that you can work very hard and excel in academics. It doesn’t mean that you are better than others but it will prove to the evaluating board that if given this opportunity, you will also excel in your master’s degree. Usually, the criteria for most scholarships is a good first degree. Once you have that, proving that you are capable becomes less daunting. This is a very good start and you have gained leverage.
Get good working experience: this is also very important in getting a scholarship. Your working experience does not have to be in a fortune 500 company or a high paying job. It could be in any organisation. This proves that you can apply yourself to work and have gotten some other skills apart from academic. Your working experience could be volunteering or a part time job – just make sure you are working somewhere. If you don’t have a good first degree, then a good working experience is compulsory. This should be in the field you are applying for a master’s degree. When applying, state clearly that getting a master’s degree in addition to your work experience will give you leverage in your future career. Don’t have a good first degree? Get work experience!
Write a fantastic cover letter: your cover letter is your selling point. Whether you made good grades or not, your cover letter must be great and convey why you think you deserve the scholarship. In your cover letter, highlight your excellent qualities: academic achievement, work experience, leadership positions, times when you have excelled, sports etc. anything that makes you stand out must be included. Surely, you have something unique about you which others don’t have. You should also include why the Master’s degree will be useful for you. For me, I wrote that I wanted to change career paths to what has always been my dream job. I then outlined steps I had taken – getting a Master’s degree will propel me further in this chosen career path. You must prove to the people evaluating your application that you deserve it. Your cover letter enables you to do that.
Apply to as many universities as possible: apply, apply, and apply! Yes I know, you have that one university that you want to attend, which is a great thing. However, to get a scholarship/funding, you have to apply to as many universities as possible. The more you apply, the better you get at applying and the higher your chances of getting at least one. Don’t get tired of applying. When I was applying for a scholarship, I applied to as many as 20 schools and was selected for two. Different schools have different criteria and you may just suit one of them. Remember, you only need one scholarship and not two. Apply to schools, private funding organisations, Non-governmental organisations, and government bodies. Basically, anywhere you see a scholarship opportunity, apply, believe you can get it and you will get it.
I have outlined important tips that could help you get a scholarship but there are many others. Get information from universities, internet and friends. Network with as many people as possible. When I was applying for funding, I told so many people even acquaintances. They sent me emails and messages whenever they came across a scholarship opportunity. If you are having challenges in writing a good cover letter, need it to be proofread or you just need a second eye to review what you have written, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The information is out there for you, you just have to get it. Wishing you all the best!
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at email@example.com