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How to hustle scholarships abroad

1. Complete your Bachelors degree or Masters degree first.

2. Don’t count so much on degree scholarships after completing high school. Most scholarships are only for postgraduate studies i.e. Masters & PhD. You rarely ever find degree scholarships abroad. My opinion & belief though.

3. You’re going to have to research potential Universities first & then choose your preferred degrees. I personally prefer SA unis because they’re among the world’s best & they’re close like University of Johannesburg, Rhodes, UCT etc. Spend all your time in those Uni websites.

4. Make a list of:

  • your preferred universities,

  • their programs of interest,

  • start & end dates of each program,

  • entry requirements of each program,

  • application deadlines and

  • application fees if there’s any e.g University of Joburg does not require application fees for all online applications. There’s plenty of Unis don’t require fees. Some like UCT, Pretoria etc only require about BWP120 per Application. Compare this with local college/university fees.

5. Recognize that ‘most’ scholarships you’ll only get if you have an Acceptance from some University. No Acceptance letter, no scholarships!! Ideally aim to have an Acceptance letter all year around every year waiting only for that advertised scholarship. Ideally every single unemployed graduate should always be applying for international unis; getting acceptance letters and then worrying about funding after. This is very important. Scholarships usually have short open periods to keep applications small. It’s important to always be ready.

6. In handing in your application the most important things are your story (also called motivation letter) and whether you’ve completed your degree. University name, GPA, marks, GMAT, transcript don’t usually count that much. It’s the ‘motivation letter’ that wins.

It should be original, talk about you & where you come from, your day-to-day life, ambitions, hopes and dreams. So align the motivation letter with the particular faculty/department research interests. If it’s good enough, they’ll sometimes even offer a scholarship on their part. I know many stories of my friends who’ve written exceptional motivational letters that the Deciding Member of the University called the applicant & even volunteered to sponsor the student for their degree on their behalf. They’d usually be biased towards their research topics though.

7. So, recognize that not all scholarships are advertised. Actually ‘most’ are won in such subtle ways. Typically you go to a University website, find out about the program, find the Course Leader/faculty lecturers, research about them, their background & research interests (using google, social media etc) & then send them an email (before submitting an application) saying,

“Hello Professor X,
 I’m writing from Botswana, Africa. I’ve met your published work on the Use of Technology in Classroom Learning via random google search. I have some questions on your paper titled “Efficiency of Tech classrooms.” Have you ever considered directing your research towards Emerging & developing countries such as in Africa? I was also wondering how your model can be best suited towards Africa since you don’t use cost as a variable in your model. I’m very interested in your research Prof and I personally believe it’s particularly important to developing or third world countries such as mine.” 

Such an email can really excite some lecturers that they’d even call you, ask you if you have funding, are open for partnership, what you’re currently doing etc. It just might be what you need.

8. Read, read, read and read all the Research published by many University professors & researchers & then engage with them on their research. Sometimes some would even ask you to carry out their research in your country by way of Research Grants or even engage you on a short term basis on their personal projects. Still, others will personally recommend you to their university or direct you to a colleague in another Uni etc. It’s all a long shot yes ~ but what in life isn’t?

9. Also, It’s important to be very prayerful about such things. Sometimes we’re only just a prayer away from where we want to be. Pray hard & earnestly with every try. Have faith too!


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