International Students

What it Means to Get a Scholarship

by on November 18, 2014 | Top Stories


Thinking of applying for a scholarship? Read on to find out what you need to know before applying and what scholarships are open to students like you.

Most students apply for a scholarship because they need some help funding their education. Who are we kidding? We ALL need some help paying our tuition fees! For many students, receiving a scholarship means many things. Do any of these sound like something you would say?

"I feel so honoured to be getting the award. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me."

"Getting this scholarship means I get a chance to make my dreams come true."

"This award proves that all my hard work has paid off!"

"I am going to do the best I can to make everyone proud!."

"Receiving this scholarship shows me that anything is possible if we work hard for it."

"I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't get this scholarship."

While receiving a scholarship is a great honour and opens up many opportunities for the recipient, accepting the scholarship is just the beginning. Some scholarships pay for almost everything you need in university, most don't. You need to think about funding your other expenses. Also, there are always terms and conditions to the acceptance of your scholarship. You need to make sure you know what they are.

If you:

  • plan to apply for a scholarship
  • have been offered a scholarship
  • are planning to accept a scholarship then here are some things you should know.

Scholarships are hard to get, applying for one could be just as difficult

Truth be told, there are many more scholarships available today than say, 10 years ago. Unfortunately, there are also way more students today competing for these scholarships. Applying for a scholarship is a long and tedious process. You need to comply with all the requirements - fill out mundane forms, make copies of your academic transcripts and identification papers, write essays and prepare for interviews. And at the end of it all, if your application gets rejected, you have to pick yourself up, tell yourself it's OK and try all over again. Tip: Arm yourself with all the perseverance you can muster. It's good experience for when you apply for jobs.

You need to be a model student

Most scholarships are renewable, which means that even after you get the award, it will be reviewed after one year. There are usually requirements for you to keep the award. Top on the list is your grades. Most scholarship awards require you to maintain a minimum CGPA in order for you to retain the scholarship. In addition, you may not be allowed to change your course or college, and may be required to participate in extra-curricular activities extensively. And it goes without saying that you should not get into any sort of disciplinary trouble.

You may be expected to participate in certain events

Extra curricular activities aside, the organisation sponsoring your award may request that you attend selected functions. You could be asked to speak at events, give interviews or write about your experience. That's right, you have to continue to work for your scholarship so make sure you make time for it in your schedule.

The scholarship isn't enough

You've just been offered a scholarship. You're ecstatic. Then you do the math and realise the award isn't enough to cover all your expenses (or tuition fees). What do you do? Do you accept the scholarship and hope for a sudden windfall? Or do you turn it down? Ouch. We feel your pain. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, then you need to get additional financial aid quickly, preferably before you begin the course. Look for personal loans offered by banks or "top up" loans offered by organisations. It's best you iron out all your finances before you begin your semester. After all, you don't want to worry about not having money to pay bills just before your exams - you have a CGPA to maintain, remember?

There's almost always a catch (or in this case, a bond)

This is a tricky one. Usually the best scholarships (the ones that sponsor everything) come with a bond of employment that could range from two to 10 years. Some may view it as a bonus - it means guaranteed employment as soon as you graduate. For others, it could be a bane, especially if you discover that what you studied at college isn't exactly your preferred choice of career anymore. The prospect of doing something you don't like for a decade is daunting. Is there a way out? Usually, getting out of the bond means having to pay your generous sponsor every last sen they spent on you. So you need to be sure. Very sure, in fact. But all is not lost. Chances are your sponsor is a large organisation; there will always be a chance to move to a different department, one that you will happier in.

Are you still here? Awesome. That means you're ready to get going with your pursuit of a scholarship. The good news is that we have compiled a list of the latest scholarships for you, and the list is updated whenever a new scholarship is in the offing. What are you waiting for? Click here to visit our Scholarship page now!

Scholarships are not the only option - you can also check out what student loans you can apply for. Click here.

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