I want to make a general guide on how to increase international students’ chances of getting a scholarship and getting accepted by universities. This guide is a general guide, and there are specific guides for different countries, which you should take a look at after reading this one. So, let’s get started.
1. The more time that you spend on preparing, the better your chances
This step seems obvious to many, but it cannot be emphasized enough. You need to dedicate your time and effort to better yourself so that you’ll have a better chance at receiving a scholarship.
The earlier you prepare, the better your chances will be. Take a look at the next steps to see what you can spend your free time on.
Check Also: Available Programs for International Students
2. Improve your language skills, especially English.
So, if you have a lot of time in your hand, what do you do? First, I would recommend to many applicants to improve their English skills. I have encountered many applicants who have written emails that were full of grammatical errors. Universities, especially those that are in English-speaking countries, will be extremely hesitant to accept students who cannot speak and write English fluently.
Even universities in countries whose primary language is not English, such as China and Korea, emphasize English skills because it is the language of academia.
Almost all dissertations and thesis are written in English, and many undergraduate and graduate courses are taught in English, even in Korean and Chinese universities. Because of these reasons, improving your English skills will help you to secure a scholarship as an international student.
So, how can you improve your English skills? There are many resources on the internet that can improve your English skills. Check out 24 Free resources to Boost your English. Another site that I recommend is Duolingo.
You can find other resources on Google that help to improve your English. There are limits on what you can do with these resources, so you should buy a good grammar book to help you to be better at grammar.
3. Improve your resume by getting a better GPA, test scores, internships, research experience, extracurriculars, etc.
If you have time, you definitely need to improve your resume. Study to get a better GPA and test grades. To see which exams that you will need to take, visit the Complete Guide on Required Exams.
Internships and research experience will be helpful for graduate schools, and extracurriculars will be helpful when you apply to undergraduate programs. So, spend your time preparing a good resume by improving these components.
4. Research possible universities where you can receive scholarships.
A. Take advantage of scholarship databases.
If you have free time, you should definitely research many universities and look at their eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and competitiveness such as admissions rate. If you go to Scholarship Database, you will see universities around the world that offer scholarships to international students.
This database is helpful because you can quickly scan all the scholarships available to international students and choose which ones to apply for. There are other scholarship databases available for international students, so take advantage of those also.
B. Visit University Scholarship Page to find the detailed information!
This is a very important fact. Scholarship databases can do so much to provide information. You need to go to individual universities to find out detailed information on scholarship amount, application deadline, required documents, application procedure, etc.
The great thing about uscollegeinternational.com is that it has scholarship links to the official scholarship site on every page! So click on those links to find detailed information.
C. Fill out the application form and apply!
When you have read the application procedure carefully, apply using the application form provided. Many universities now have online applications. So, you can pay the application fee and apply using the online portal.
5. Note: When looking for possible universities, you should include universities that you have never heard of.
A mistake that many international students make in applying to universities is that they only apply to those that they had heard of before. If you have heard of that university before, the chances are that the university is famous and prestigious.
You definitely should apply to a couple of prestigious universities where you might have a chance of getting in, but the majority of your application should be places that are not as famous but still offers a great education.
These universities are eager to recruit international students from various countries to increase diversity within their student body and are willing to give out scholarships to international students. So, don’t dismiss a university because you’ve never heard of it before, but research to see what that university has to offer you.
This applies to countries as well. Many international students want to study in the USA, Canada, and Europe. You should apply to universities in those countries but also should apply to ones in Korea, Japan, and China.
Universities in those countries tend to give very generous scholarships than the ones in the USA, Canada, and Europe. So, broaden your perspective, and apply to both prestigious and less prestigious universities to have a better chance of receiving a scholarship as an international student.
6. Note: For undergraduate programs, scholarships that award large sums of money are not major-specific.
This is a question that I get asked frequently: “Is there a scholarship offered to a [Blank] major at [Blank University]?” The answer to that is, “If scholarships are offered to international students at that particular university, and that major is offered by the university, then yes.”
During my years of compiling scholarship information, I have seen yet to see a university that offers only major-specific scholarships. The ones that I saw offered both major-specific scholarships and not-major-specific scholarships, or only not-major-specific scholarships, or scholarships that are divided into big academic fields such as STEM, Humanities, Arts, etc.
Another thing to note is that major-specific scholarships are smaller than not-major-specific scholarships. For example, the University of Alabama offers not-major-specific scholarships that are full tuition, which is more than $20,000 a year.
However, they offer scholarships that are specific to engineering students, which is only $2,500 a year. Other universities also offer not-major-specific scholarships which are bigger than major-specific scholarships.
Since the policies are different for each university, you should definitely read the scholarship page for the university that you are interested in. This is just a general guide that applies to most universities.
7. Note: For graduate programs, scholarships policies are different for individual departments such as humanities, STEM, art, etc. in many countries, especially the USA.
If you are pursuing graduate scholarships, you should note that many universities have different policies regarding scholarships in different majors. The university’s scholarship page will clearly state whether it awards scholarships for a particular major. So, consult the scholarship page to see if scholarships in your field are awarded.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this scholarship guide and that it helps you get the scholarships you will be applying for. To know more information about studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.