Once again it is scholarship season and opportunities to further your studies are being advertised (if you’re paying attention) on all mediums. Between now and February (2017) annual state and corporate scholarships such as the Chevening Scholarship, Mastercard Foundation scholarships, Fulbright, various Commonwealth Scholarships, Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships, DAAD scholarships and more will be launched for those eager to attain degrees from some of the first world’s leading institutions. Or perhaps you are interested in studying in your own country? Look up the Cameroon Women’s Scholarship .
Either way, if you are one of those considering applying for a scholarship this season, consider this a message of encouragement informing you that there are no magic tricks to winning that scholarship. In fact any magic you may need has been highlighted HERE.
However while there are no tricks to the goal, there are some mistakes to avoid. This post outlines five (5) common mistakes which Cameroonian applicants often make. We hope you avoid them!
5- Not Planning
So your friend shared a link advertising a scholarship and you heard one of your other friends had won that same scholarship a few years back. Must be easy right? So you just apply? Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes you may make during scholarship season is not planning. Most people who win scholarships do so after preparation. They have studied the scholarship, read all the terms and conditions, looked up past winners, researched the degree programs and schools, what is required, what characteristics past scholars shared etc. You rarely get a scholarship by chance; given the long procedure and the in-depth application process, it requires purpose.
4- Looking for the Easy Way Out
Yet another mistake you may be making is cutting corners. Some applicants complain about having to write one thousand (1000) word motivational statements or fill out eleven (11) page application forms. Quite frankly, if a thousand words and eleven pages are too much for you, you shouldn’t be applying for a scholarship in the first place. Any university degree program that scholarship would cover shall entail coursewor
k of at least 2,500 words regularly. Other applicants attempt to copy/plagiarize the personal statements of past winners or have others fill out the bulk of their applications. By cutting corners in filling out your application form you set yourself up for failure at the interview level. Passion cannot be faked, and your personal statement (which essentially presents your passion for furthering your studies and need for a scholarship to achieve this) is defended at your interview. Eventually it will be known if the words written were yours or not. There is no easy way, you either want this or not.
3- Falling for a scheme
You may have seen adverts by agencies offering to get admission and scholarships for you in universities abroad, even assuring you of assistance in getting a visa? A lot of such offers are schemes. Any agency requiring that you PAY to get a Scholarship is suspect. You shouldn’t have to pay an agent to gain admission into a school. The institution or scholarship body will most likely have a direct admission process which you can handle yourself, just go to the school’s website. It’s been proven time and time again that middle men are often schemers.
2- Putting the Cart before the Horse
One of the most common errors witnessed during scholarship season is the error of applying for a scholarship before applying for admission into the desired degree program. This can be considered putting the cart before the horse. Scholarships exist to provide financial assistance to students or potential students. Hence you must establish yourself as a student or a potential student first. Admission into an eligible school is principal to getting a scholarship, it should be put first. With an admission, you can prove you need financial assistance to cover costs associated with the program, without admission what do you deserve financial assistance for?
1- Not Applying
The ultimate mistake you may be making this scholarship season however is not applying. You may be missing out on the chance of a lifetime by procrastinating till last minute, or thinking you need to ‘know someone’ and making a thousand and one excuses for why you won’t get it if you apply.
If you are still on the fence about applying, in the memorable words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Go for it, and perhaps next year this could be you 🙂