Future students of American universities think about is the opportunity to receive a scholarship to study in one of the educational institutions of the country. But how to find and get a suitable scholarship, who and when can apply for it?
Annually the government of the country and various funds allocate a large number of scholarships for students. Most of them are designed for USA citizens. But for international students, there are also opportunities to receive financial assistance for education. However, it should be noted right away that most of them are suitable only for students of the master’s degree, or at least the last courses of the bachelor’s degree.
The competition for a scholarship must be carefully thought out and planned in advance and approached this issue no less responsibly than to admission to an institution of higher learning.
Get scholarship information
All that concerns financial support for study is available at the Financial Aid Office in any educational institution. After contacting the Financial Aid Coordinator, you can find out about current scholarships, requirements for job applicants and deadlines for submitting documents. You can also go to the university’s website and in the Students/Current Students section find information about scholarships and other funding programs.
Meet the scholarship requirements
It is essential to review the requirements for candidates carefully, assess their current situation and choose the most suitable scholarship. Do not ignore such requirements as the number of credits for the previous academic period, a particular score for TOEFL or IELTS, the age of the applicant and so on. No need to apply for a notoriously inappropriate scholarship, for example, First Generation College Student Scholarship (a scholarship for the first-ever student in a family). After all, the requirements are not made by chance, and the compliance of the scholarship to each of them must be documented.
Form a package of documents
It is not enough just to meet the requirements to qualify for a scholarship; you also need to take care of receiving and/or preparing the necessary documents for submission to an ad hoc committee. The full list of documents depends on the scholarship, program, specialty or university. In any case, the student will need the following.
- A school of achievement that demonstrates a good result in the previous academic period (semester, year). It should reflect the required number of credits, points, the percentage of progress and so on.
- Certificate of successful passing of tests GRE or GMAT. Depending on the institution of higher learning and the specialty, for which a scholarship is stipulated, the student must pass one of the following exams: GRE – Graduate Record Examination – for admission to a master’s or graduate school; GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test – on the determination of a student’s readiness to study at the magistracy in economic specialties and under the MBA program.
- Recommendations from teachers. It is worth asking teachers to write letters of recommendation and positive characteristics in which they must indicate the student’s achievements, his personal qualities, leadership abilities, special skills and show under what circumstances they were manifested, in what work (activities) the teacher could observe the manifestation of the student’s abilities and so on.
- Documents are confirming the active participation of the student in social life. For example, if the scholarship participant participated in events organized by the university or in their organization, consisted of organizational committees, played an active role in student life and the life of the institution as a whole, engaged in volunteer activities for the benefit of society, all of which would be an excellent advantage applicant.
- All diplomas, certificates and other awards received for any achievements: participation in competitions, performances, competitions (including sports).
- Publications. If a student is interested in science, conducts any research, scientific observations and other works and publishes his materials in publications, it should be demonstrated. This, of course, will be beneficial to distinguish the applicant from his competitors.
- Essay, or “Justification of the purpose,” which should reflect the purposes for which the student needs a scholarship, the reasons why he claims it and why he deserves it. Perhaps, this is the most important and basic in the whole package of documents. Therefore it is necessary to pay special attention to the essay writing, to prepare for it in advance, having studied the format, structure and form of this work. An incorrectly written essay or insufficiently grounded goal of receiving a scholarship can cross out all other student benefits.
The goal of such a particular formation of the student’s portfolio of achievements is an advantageous difference between him and others because hundreds of smart and capable applicants apply for the same scholarship.
About the scholarship timeline
For submission of documents for the scholarship, there are terms, usually different from the timing of admission to the university, examinations and enrolling in an educational institution. In order not to miss the period of acceptance by the commission of documents, it is important to distinguish such concepts as Admission deadline and Application deadline. Very often, these dates are very different, and the deadline for the receipt of documents for a scholarship may end a few months earlier than the student’s admission to the university. For example, at the University of Houston for the fall semester, the deadline for the receipt of documents for the scholarship is April 1, and the end of the enrollment period for international students is June 1. At the same time, only an already enrolled student can apply for financial assistance, be it scholarship, credit or university work. Thus, the student just does not have time to receive and even apply for a scholarship for the first semester.