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How Can I Get Financial Aid? 4 important tips to boost your chances! PDF Print Email
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Saturday, 23 April 2011 18:51







How Can I Get Financial Aid?


I am sure the question "how can I get financial aid?" has crossed your mind a thousand of times, right? Tons of tips and techniques are presented below - I think you will find this article useful.



This article aims to introduce students to the "art" of making competitive applications.


Let's dig right in and help you find the answer to "how can I get financial aid?" - shall we?


You see, applying for a scholarship is an extremely serious matter that many mistakenly take lightly. What many students do not realize is that it entails far more than filling out a form haphazardly and hoping for a miracle. I speak from experience—scholarships are competitive and thus A LOT OF WORK is necessary if you want to even have a slight chance of being selected.



Lots of patience and perseverance are also required. A student recently told me he tried several times before landing a scholarship. There are surely some lucky ones who have succeeded on their first attempt and were granted the first scholarship they ever applied for. It is however important to understand that a large majority of those who go abroad through a scholarship/Financial Aid  have been trying for a long time, often years. The reason is simple; as the old saying goes: 'practice makes perfect'.




To apply for a scholarship is really an art; you get better at it with time. Documents like this are designed to help students catch on very fast. These documents are designed to speed up students' understanding of principles behind scholarship application, and, by doing this, to increase their chances of getting one.



Here is an important principle. Please be aware that any document that is required from you as part of your application will play a key role at helping the jury answer the questions: “what is special about this candidate? Does this candidate stand out from others? Why?” Please keep these facts in mind at all time as you prepare your application. Please prepare each required document with dedication and great care, stressing, where required (CV, letter of motivation…), what makes you unique (past achievements, part of your personality …).


 Getting a scholarship is all about proving to the members of the jury of the particular scholarship that you are the perfect candidate.


Before you even begin preparing a scholarship application it is CRUCIAL that you have a clear answer to each of the questions below.



4 Key Questions to ask yourself before you start preparing your application for a scholarship.courage_




Question 1 - Who are those who launched the award? There are 2 possible answers to this particular question: (1) a University / Research Institute, or (2) philanthropists (a governmental agency or NGO). Knowing who launched the award in question is critical because the criteria used by universities / research institutes in the selection of the ideal candidate are very different from those used by the jury in charge of grants initiated by government agencies and NGO's. For example, while grades are one of the most important criteria used by a jury in charge of scholarships launched by universities, NGO's might award scholarships to an average student instead, if the latter has shown greater potential to use his/her skills to further the growth of his/her country. Students with a record that demonstrates interest in community development often have better chance when it comes to scholarships launched by governmental agencies and NGO's.


Question 2 - Why has the scholarship (Financial Aid) been launched? It is obvious that understanding why a scholarship was launched is crucial because, as we mentioned above, applying for a scholarship = convincing a group of 1-10 men / women that you're the ideal person for 'xxx '.

'xxx' is the answer to this question 2: 'xxx' is in fact the reason behind the scholarship that you need to understand. Scholarships are not launched randomly. There is always a reason. Scholarships launched by overseas governments often have the following aim: to help impoverished countries in their fight against poverty by helping a handful of students from the given countries to obtain the best education possible. The latter are often required to sign an agreement stating that once their training is completed they will return to their home countries to put the earned skills to good use. In this particular case, the “xxx” entails bringing supporting ongoing efforts toward your country's development.





It is important that yoeyeu understand the reason behind the launch of scholarships. Governments / NGOs or universities that launch thousands of scholarships each year throughout the world share the same goal as your parents: they want to give you a good education.


HOWEVER it is critical that you understand that YOU AS A PERSON ARE NOT THE REAL TARGET/CONCERN  




Let me explain: while government agencies and NGO's have this in common with your parents that they want to help you get a good education, it is important to understand that the reasons motivating both parties differ greatly. It is critical that you understand this: your becoming a successful man or woman capable of feeding a family is not the goal that motivates governments and NGO's to spend billions each year in the creation of scholarships.


IT IS CRITICAL that you understand that far from being you, the real target of these NGO's and governmental agencies is improving conditions for  the whole population of your country.

As stated before, an NGO/governmental agency might award a scholarship to an average student instead of a straight-A if the former has shown greater potential to use his/her skills to further the growth of his/her country.

CAUTION. The concepts are reversed when it comes to awards launched by universities; these are research grants generally. Universities neither care about you as a person, nor your country. They care about their own growth. Understand that foreign universities are usually managed as companies and therefore recruit only the best students—those who will prove by a + b that they have the potential for carrying on a specific research project with great success.



Note that there are exceptions in this case and in fact several European universities for instance dedicate entire budget lines to ASSISTANCE TO developing countries’ students, and each year launch several special scholarships for which such students are exclusively eligible. It is very easy to recognize such scholarship, as the words 'poor countries and developing countries' appear over and over in the Ad. Note that in the preparation of your application, such awards should be treated as philanthropic scholarships even though they are launched by a university.



Question 3 - What is the profile of the ideal candidate? As we said earlier, the basic criteria used in selecting the student to whom the scholarship will be awarded depends  on the category to which the scholarship belongs, i.e., philanthropic or academic / research. The expectations of the jury are usually clearly stated in the advertisement. It is therefore important that the student clearly point out throughout his/her application how he/she meets the criteria.

This will only be possible if you determine, "what exactly is the ideal candidate?"  After you have determined this in your CV, cover letter, or similar document, make sure to present yourself along these lines.

In the case of research fellowships, remember that they are simply looking for someone able to lead a research project successfully. In this case, you must remember to mention the scientific techniques that you mastered, especially those relevant to the project. If you have any scientific publications, it is crucial to mention them.

Question 4 - NGO's who launch awards generally have a vision / mission. Scholarships launched by these organizations are often created in an effort to help fulfill the given mission.

 If your targeted scholarship was launched by an NGO, have you located their vision? Did you give any evidence or at least mention that you share their mission / vision? It is really beautiful when the idea emerges from your application that you really share their vision or that you are the ideal candidate for making a significant contribution toward the achievement of the said mission in the coming years.





NOW, here is something very important

Once your application preparation has been completed and before you mail that application, you must be your own judge and ask yourself whether you gave the judges enough reason to select you. In your cover letter/letter of motivation/personal statement/study objectives and CV, remember to put the most salient facts about your eligibility/interests right at the beginning because the FIRST WORDS usually determine whether or not the jury will bother to read your application material till the end. Each piece of your application (motivation letter, letter of recommendation, grades ...) is required for a reason and aims to project a certain image of you.


What are our final thoughts regarding "How to get financial aid"?

We have 5 final thoughts regarding "how to get financial aid"?

  1. Things aren't as complicated as they seem. Thousands of people get a scholarship/a ticket to study abroad for FREE each year. They are simple people just like you. You can do it.
  2. Here is the number one thing to keep in mind:  scholarships are competitions. No wait, let me rephrase that: scholarships are FIERCE competitions - we are talking about FREE MONEY HERE. Give it a try and above all, give it YOUR VERY BEST - if you don't, remember that your neighbor/classmate probably is; we both know what that could boil down to in the coming few months.
  3. Make sure you follow the recommendations presented above.
  4. Remember that  perseverance is crucial.
  5. Also remember that applying for a scholarship should be your plan B. What I mean by that is go about your normal activities: continue school/work while applying. Applying for scholarship should be one of these things you have going in the background - CONTINUOUSLY.


Allow me to leave you with this fun pics :)


That's it for our article on "how to get financial aid".


Loved this article? share it with your friends - they'll thank you for it.

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Good luck!

- Avalenche





IT IS CRITICAL that you understand that far from being you, the real target of these NGO's and governmental agencies is improving conditions for  the whole population of your country.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:53


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