How to Get a Full Scholarship
Full scholarships, also known as full scholarships, are the ultimate form of financial aid because they almost completely cover the cost of attending college for three or four years. The supplier will pay for your living expenses and tuition, allowing you to concentrate on your learning and social life without having to worry about money. Great, isn’t that right?
Unfortunately, there aren’t very many of these “dream” scholarships available. Full scholarships are hard to come by and extremely competitive when they do. Even so, you should still apply for them. Continue reading to learn how to improve your chances of receiving one of these coveted scholarships.
Understand where to look
Where can you genuinely find complete scholarships, first and foremost? Your first stop should be the official site of the university of your choice, as they may list external scholarships you may apply for or offer their own financing possibilities for students in your area or studying your field.
In addition to your university, you could look at websites such as InternationalScholarships.com or FastWeb.com, as well as our own Scholarships to Study Abroad page, which lists funding opportunities in various study destinations, scholarships focused on specific subjects, and scholarships aimed at specific student groups (e.g. African students).
Plan ahead of time
If you know you’ll need a comprehensive scholarship to attend university, it’s critical to start planning as soon as possible. This is especially important if you are required to attend an interview – some universities hold special ‘scholarship weekends,’ where 50-100 students are invited on campus to interview with a faculty member, answering questions about their goals and motivations, as well as how this fits in with that university and course. If you need to attend a scholarship interview, you should treat this as you would any other formal interview, dressing smartly and coming well-prepared with good answers for their possible questions, as well as having a few questions ready to ask them when invited to at the end of the interview. Find out how to answer common admission interview questions here.
Maintain your motivation by working hard.
Although some full scholarships may be offered solely on financial need rather than academic performance, others will consider both factors or will be awarded only to outstanding candidates. It goes without saying that you should study hard in your studies, but if you want to earn the full scholarship, you’ll need to truly put in the effort, as the majority are offered to the highest-achieving students. In certain situations, institutions will immediately examine applicants for full scholarships based on your normal university application, thus strong grades are essential.
While pushing oneself intellectually might be mentally tiring, strive to stay motivated by remembering your goals and taking breaks to relax (particularly during and after test season!).
Make your application stand out from the crowd.
With so many candidates vying for a full scholarship, it’s critical to separate out from the crowd by exhibiting a genuine desire to develop yourself as a person. This includes having a few extracurricular activities to show off to scholarship sponsors, displaying your hobbies and interests outside of the classroom, and instances of times you’ve been engaged with the local community, perhaps by volunteering for a good cause.
Scholarship providers prize leadership qualities as well, which you may demonstrate by offering to lead initiatives in your extracurricular activities or community work.
Another thing that could really make you stand out from the rest when it comes to scholarship applications is a glowing report on your academic and personal qualities through your letters of recommendation, so it’s important to build strong relationships with your academic mentors – if a mentor knows you well, they’ll be able to provide a more personal and accurate reflection of you in their letter.
Examine the application instructions thoroughly.
This may sound apparent, but you don’t want to blow your chances by forgetting to include a document or piece of information that was specified in the scholarship application guidelines. To avoid missing anything, read the application advice carefully and often, and write the provider if you need clarification on anything.
Submit an exceptional scholarship essay or cover letter
Another one that goes without saying, but your application essay/cover letter needs to absolutely be the best quality it can possibly be. This means making sure it’s clear and concise, is formatted correctly, grabs the reader with a strong introduction, stays focused on its key theme or topic, and has flawless spelling and grammar. Don’t just rely on proofreading it hundreds of times to make sure it’s perfect – ask a friend to go over it and check for typos and any sentences that don’t read as well as they could do.
One of the winners of our QS scholarships wrote a very helpful article on submitting a winning scholarship essay, which you can read here.
Finally, as we mentioned earlier, there aren’t enough full scholarships to choose from and they’re incredibly competitive, which means that many candidates who meet and surpass the standards for a full scholarship wind up losing out. Don’t let this deter you from applying, but keep your expectations in check. Remember, there is no limit to the number of scholarship applications you may submit, and there is usually no limit to the number of scholarships you can get, so you may be able to create your own full scholarship out of two or more lesser awards. (Of course, check with providers to see if you may apply for and get support from other sources.)If you do get rejected, don’t let it get you down; instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep trying until you get what you want.