A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Fully-Funded Scholarship
How to get a fully funded scholarship in 2023
Do you want to focus on your education without worrying about your University tuition and other financial expenses? A fully-funded scholarship is exactly what you might need. Fortunately, getting one is not as complicated as you may think.
To get a fully-funded scholarship, start preparing early. Scout for scholarships you’re interested in almost two years ahead of time and equip yourself to qualify for the ones you need. While you prepare, carefully gather all the materials you need and make sure to submit them before your scholarship’s application deadline.
In this article, I will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to qualify for the fully funded scholarship of your dreams. If you would like an in-depth guide on the topic, please read on.
1. Confirm That You Qualify for the Scholarship in Question
There are so many scholarships available for different students. Some fully-funded scholarships for African students include; The British Council Scholarship for Women in STEM, The Government of China Scholarship for Developing Countries, The Open University Commonwealth Distance Scholarships for African Students, and so many more. You can read more about fully-funded scholarships for African students here.
The trick is knowing where to look and how to position yourself in such a way that you perfectly match the scholarship of your dreams.
Types of Fully-Funded Scholarships
While a full-tuition scholarship only covers the applicant’s tuition, a fully-funded scholarship aims to cover the applicant’s full cost of attendance including, tuition, textbooks, meals, accommodation, and so many other costs in between.
There are many ways in which you can qualify for a fully-funded scholarship. Contrary to what most people believe, scholarships are not always about grades. Yes, good grades will give you an edge over most of your peers but they aren’t always the central metric.
The different types of fully-funded scholarships include:
- Merit-based scholarships: These are offered to students based on their outstanding academic achievement. Merit-based scholarships are not offered based on the financial need of the applicant.
- Prestige scholarships: These are awarded to students based on their outstanding service in leadership or a similar area.
- Athletic scholarships: These are available to students with exceptional skills in a given sport.
- Need-based scholarships: These are awarded to students based on financial need. They are given to applicants who can not afford to pay for University.
- Government scholarships: As the name suggests, this is financial aid offered to students by the Government.
- Foundation/Company-based scholarships: These are scholarships offered by Foundations or private companies. You may be eligible for these scholarships if you work or want to work in a particular organization or industry. One such scholarship is The Microsoft Tuition Scholarship. Another example of a foundation-based scholarship is The Gates Scholarship by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Although these are the most standard scholarship categories, they aren’t the only ones. Some scholarships are country/region based. Some are awarded based on gender. There are even scholarships awarded to students struggling with mental illness. If you look closely enough, you can find a scholarship that fits your skillset or life situation. All you have to do is cover all your bases with a little research.
2. Find Out the Scholarship’s Application Deadline
According to Education Data Initiative, while over 1.7 million scholarships are awarded annually, only 7% of college students receive scholarships. To put it simply, the scholarship game is marked by fierce competition.
Scholarship boards are usually flooded with applications towards the application deadline. The chances of them paying careful attention to your application let alone seeing it at that time are slim to none. Additionally, most scholarships only accept a pre-determined number of applicants. That’s why you must send in your application early.
Carefully read the application guidelines over and over again until they become a part of you. Find out if different application materials have different deadlines and respond accordingly. Is the deadline for sending your application essay different from the one for sending your academic documents, for example?
At the end of the day, you must stay vigilant to increase your chances.
3. Gather the Materials You Need To Apply for the Scholarship
This is why you must scout for scholarships at least two years ahead of time. Starting early gives you enough time to gather the materials you need to apply for the scholarship of your dreams.
These are some of the application materials most scholarships ask for: Your academic transcript, reference letters, athletic certificates in case of athletic scholarships, your financial information in case of financial need scholarships, and a personal statement essay. Once again be sure to read your scholarship application guidelines carefully so that you cover all your bases.
Here is what you can do to gather all the materials you need ahead of time.
Find Your Strengths
The idea is to capitalize on your talents so that they can set you apart from other applicants. You need all the competitive advantage you can get. Your talents might not be as obvious so you must be honest with yourself to carve out a clear path ahead.
What are you passionate about? Do you enjoy solving other people’s problems? Are you good at math? Or are you an athletic genius? The idea is to figure out what you are good at and then focus on becoming so good at that you stand out from the crowd.
If you’re passionate about students’ issues, join the student body. Become the best leader you can be. This would make you better positioned for prestige scholarships. If you’re a math genius, choose math-related subjects/course units. This would empower you to qualify for merit-based fully-funded scholarships. If you’re an athlete, find a sport you’re passionate about and put in the work. That’s how you land an athletic scholarship.
You can not become exceptional without putting in the work so you must immerse yourself in your craft.
Now that you’ve found your path you must find mentors. These are people who can guide and push you toward your full potential. These include your guidance counselor, club patrons, sports teachers, coaches, or even other community leaders.
Additionally, your mentors are the people who will write honest, powerful, moving letters of recommendation on your behalf.
Submit a Great Scholarship Application
Now that you have buffed yourself into an irresistible scholarship-ready genius, all that you’re left with is to apply. Gather all your application materials and go after the scholarship of your dreams.
But wait, there is more.
Prepare for Miscellaneous Costs
While most fully funded scholarships aim to cover all the costs of pursuing a given academic program, they can’t be thorough enough in covering all your specific costs. Every individual has their specific needs.
Prepare to fill in the gaps. You may need to cover your travel costs. You might have to buy your textbooks. You may need to take care of your medical bills. Just make sure you research the scholarship thoroughly and prepare to fill in any costs the scholarship doesn’t cover.
Getting a fully-funded scholarship does not have to be as complicated as it is set out to be. While research shows that only 1% of student applicants get fully-funded scholarships every year, you could easily be part of that 1% if you position yourself skillfully. All you have to do is find the right scholarship and start preparing for it way ahead of time.
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