Of the various kinds of financial aide available to foreign students studying abroad, the most desirable are scholarships. The reason is obvious: they do not have to be repaid.
The individuals and groups that establish scholarship funds do so for a wide variety of reasons. Most often, it is to recognise the recipient’s scholastic merit. However, other factors that qualify applicants for scholarships include intended field of study, country of origin and even such surprising things as physical disability. Donors generally wish to help students to whose needs they can relate directly.
The surprising thing is that, despite their clear advantage as a means of funding study abroad, thousands of scholarships go unclaimed – or even not applied for – every year. The reasons for this are many and not worth detailing here. The more relevant matter is how you can find out about scholarships that may be available to you.
Here are two tactics to try:
1) When you apply for admission to a university, inquire explicitly whether scholarship aide is available and, if so, how. Many scholarships are university-specific, created by the respective universities to attract types of students they find particularly desirable. Ask for a list of available scholarships for which you may apply, if one exists.
Bear in mind, many universities are now as resource-challenged as the students they admit, so their admissions staffs may be too small for them to provide all the services they would like to, particularly in the area of help with financial aide. Some schools either grant available scholarships to the foreign students they admit or inform those students of scholarship aide that is available to them if they apply for it. However, if that does not happen in your case, do not assume that scholarship aide through the university is not available. Inquire politely about any available scholarships and take the responsibility of applying for them yourself.
2) Do an Internet search for scholarships. Many scholarships are not university-specific but, rather, available to qualified students attending any suitable school. Your Internet search should include the words scholarship, the country in which you intend to study and your intended field of study. If the search results do not yield the information you want, consider changing the parameters to include such things as your country of origin, e. g. “Chinese students”, or other things that pertain to your background, character, religious affiliation or physical disability.
Hugh Nelson is an e-learning specialist who has worked in the education industry for more than 10 years. He currently lives in Hong Kong and is director of UniRoute, a company that runs educational websites helping students prepare and successfully apply for post-graduate studies abroad.
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