How To Apply For A Scholarship
by StudyMalaysia.com on March 1, 2019 | Top Stories
Have you ever thought about applying for a scholarship? If you have but need help on how to start, read on. If you haven’t, read on anyway because there are more scholarships out there than you think—there could be one waiting for you!
Applying for scholarships is similar to applying to a college or university; there will be forms to fill where you’ll need to provide information about yourself. The only difference is that you’ll have to work a little harder at presenting yourself in a way that makes you look good. You’d certainly want to make a good impression and show why you are deserving of the scholarship—don’t forget there are likely to be hundreds (or even thousands of other applicants) vying for the award!
Types of scholarship
A common misconception is that scholarships are available only for the smartest students who have the top results for a given examination. That is not entirely true of course, although it is safe to say that most scholarships are awarded based on a combination of need and merit.
In Malaysia, scholarships are offered mainly by government agencies, private higher education institutions, and various organisations. For the latter category, this could include corporations and companies from diverse fields, as well as non-profit foundations. In addition, there are also scholarships offered by organisations not in Malaysia.
While many scholarships require good grades from a candidate, it is by no means the only merit considered. There are also sports scholarships, community scholarships (to provide opportunities to those in disadvantaged communities) and creative scholarships (to promote talent in art, dance, music, etc.).
Applying for a scholarship
There isn't one set way of applying for a scholarship. Every scholarship application has its own processes and requirements, which is why the following tips will be extremely useful for you.
Start researching as early as possible
Many scholarships are repeated annually. Try to find out beforehand when a particular scholarship is typically announced or advertised. Ask your teachers, or seniors who may have had experience applying for the same scholarship. When you know when to expect it, you’ll be better prepared in submitting your application, particularly for scholarships with a shorter application period than others.
Doing some homework on the types of scholarships available also helps you to prioritise which scholarships to apply for (first). Finding out the full range of scholarships available also means that you won’t miss out on anything. If there’s a time to be kiasu, this is one of them!
When doing your research, it would be smart to make a note of the applications deadline. Mark it on your calendar, or better yet, set an alert on your phone to remind you to get going with submitting your application. Most organisations receive numerous applications and would be strict about disregarding late applications.
Do you qualify?
Yes, we said be kiasu and apply for all scholarships available, but it also means making sure that you are eligible for it. There’s little point in applying for a scholarship for which you don’t qualify. That said, if you’re unsure if you’re eligible, do take the trouble to contact the sponsor to clarify before scratching the scholarship off your list.
Good organisation is key
Being organised is always useful in any undertaking. In this case, here are some pointers that will help your application process a smoother one.
- Keep a file of each scholarship you plan to apply for: you can index them, sort them by application due dates, and make a note of which you have sent out.
- If it’s possible to track your submission, do so. For example, send your application by courier instead of normal mail.
- Keep copies of your scholarship application. Besides reminding you of which scholarships you’ve applied for, a copy of your application is valuable for when you get called for an interview. The interviewer would want to know more about what you wrote in your application—how do you think you would fare preparing for those questions if you don’t remember what you wrote?
Before you submit your application…
Make sure your application is complete. Have you filled out all the required information? Have you attached all required documents in support of your application?
Conversely, make sure that you include only the documents requested by the scholarship sponsor. Sending an additional 30 pages of irrelevant transcripts may make them think that you're incompetent in following instructions.
Proofread your application and get someone to proofread it for you as well. You would want to minimise spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure your application is neat and legible if hand-written.
It’s common to re-use parts of a cover letter or essay when applying for multiple scholarships. Do make sure that you personalise each one to suit the scholarship you’re applying for, e.g. make sure you get the name of the scholarship or person-in-charge right.
Want to get started on your search for scholarships? Start at StudyMalaysia’s scholarship page.