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10 Easy Steps to Get a Study Abroad Scholarship

April 4, 2024by admin

Studying abroad is a dream for many students but the costs associated with international education are undoubtedly very high. However, there are scholarships available that can help fund your study abroad experience and make it financially feasible. Applying for scholarships takes time and effort but can significantly reduce your expenses.

This article outlines 10 easy steps that students can follow to effectively apply for and get a study abroad scholarship. It provides detailed information on each step from researching funding opportunities to submitting strong applications. Following this guide systematically will boost your chances of receiving a merit or needs-based award for your overseas education.

5 Reasons Why Scholarships Are Essential For Studying Abroad…

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Step 1: Start Researching Early

The most crucial step is starting your scholarship research well in advance, at least 6 months before your planned departure for your study abroad program. There is a wide variety of scholarships offered by different organizations for international study and it takes time to explore all options.

Go through scholarship databases like FastWeb,, and individual university/college websites to get an overview of available awards. Make a list of relevant scholarships along with their eligibility criteria and deadlines. Some scholarships have early deadlines so the earlier you begin, the better your chances of meeting them.

Read details carefully to check your fit for the programs considering factors like:

  • Your field of study, level of education, citizenship/residency status
  • Specific countries or institutions that are funded
  • Merits or needs-based nature of the award
  • Minimum GPA/test scores and other academic requirements

Target scholarships you are highly qualified for rather than unsuitable ones to optimize your efforts. Research is the foundation for effective application planning and submission.

Step 2: Craft Your Essays and Personal Statement

Most study abroad scholarship applications require one or more essay responses highlighting your qualifications, experiences, interests and plans. These written components often determine your odds of winning so adequate preparation is key.

Start early by brainstorming compelling topics that showcase your unique attributes. Highlight qualities like resilience from facing hardships, cultural exchange experiences, career aspirations relating to your host country etc. Ensure your essays align with the specific themes or questions in the applications.

For your statement, draft several versions stressing why international education fits your goals and how it will help achieve them. Express clearly how you will contribute as a global citizen and ambassador for your home country. Request reviews from advisors, and teachers for feedback on improving your essays over multiple revisions. Perfecting your essays strengthens your candidacy.

Step 3. Assemble Strong Letters of Recommendation

Great letters of recommendation (LORs) from respected people who can vouch for your character and abilities significantly boost your profile. Approach potential referees at least 4-6 weeks in advance, and provide them with information on the scholarship and deadlines.

Good options for referees include professors who can speak about your academic excellence and integrity, and employers highlighting your leadership qualities and community engagement. Provide them with a draft LOR, your resume and goals to help shape strong supporting statements on your behalf.

Closely following up politely will also remind them of deadlines and ensure timely submissions. Have alternate referees lined up in case your first picks are unavailable? Steadily acquiring solid LORs fortifies your candidacy.

Step 4. Maintain a High GPA and Test Scores

For many study abroad scholarships, a strong academic record is an essential selection factor. Most require minimum GPAs and standardized test scores that put you in a competitive range.

If you are still in the process of taking courses, double down on your studies in the upcoming terms to boost your cumulative GPA. Consider retaking entrance exams like the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL for higher scores. Request for official transcripts and score reports well before deadlines to be submitted with applications.

Outstanding grades and scores demonstrate your merit, academic preparedness and potential to succeed overseas which scholarship committees seek to fund. Maintaining high performance strengthens your credentials.

Step 5. List Extracurricular Activities and Leadership Roles

Scholarship applications want evidence of your passions, interests, and experiences beyond classroom academics. Provide information on extracurricular activities through:

  • Membership in university clubs or community organizations
  • Participation and leadership roles in events, competitions, campaigns etc.
  • Volunteer work and internships showcasing your skills and character
  • Awards or recognition you received for excellence

Quantifying your contributions like hours invested and achievements earned lends credibility. Explain how these shaped your personal growth and aligned with your career objectives. Compelling profiles of well-rounded students are most attractive to evaluators.

Step 6. Seek Funding Resources and Financial Aid

Many qualified candidates may not have the full estimated costs covered through grants alone. You can still boost your affordability through additional funding streams:

  • University program and departmental-specific awards
  • Partner organization grants your host institution has arrangements with
  • Crowdfunding campaigns to raise money from family and friends
  • Student loans through federal financial aid programs and private lenders
  • On-campus jobs for international students through your host university

layering multiple small and large sources makes studying abroad realistic irrespective of full or partial scholarship wins. Exploring all options expands your funding potential.

Top 5 Scholarship Benefits of Studying Abroad…

Step 7. Proofread Applications Thoroughly

Never underestimate the value of proofreading your submissions with a fine-tooth comb before final delivery. Ask at least two other people including a writing expert to scrupulously check:’

  • The factual accuracy of your details and information provided
  • Correct formatting and logical flow as per guidelines
  • Grammar, spelling, punctuation and overall clarity of expressions

Have them look carefully for any errors, revisions or weak areas that could question your standard of work. Fix oversights promptly and avoid last-minute rush. Perfect applications leave an assured impression of your diligence and readiness.

Step 8. Request Early Application Materials

Instead of waiting until the last minute, reach out to recommenders well before deadlines seeking LORs and official transcripts, score reports etc. This relieves their workload and helps manage unforeseen delays.

If allowed, submit applications piecemeal as elements are ready rather than altogether on the due date. Some parts like transcripts take time to process so the sooner you send requests, the faster the completion. Prior planning prevents cutting things too close.

Additionally, check with scholarship providers on accepting electronic documents to expedite submission and acknowledgement of receipt of application materials. Organization and prompt action help navigate application logistics smoothly.

Step 9. Follow Up On Application Status

Do not hesitate to politely follow up with scholarship coordinators if you have not heard back after a reasonable timeframe post deadlines. Inquire about timelines for decisions or request confirmation of receiving your complete application package.

Their responses may offer useful information on the selection process, if your candidacy needs any addendum or simply assure you of pending reviews. Staying in contact addresses any potential concerns with your submissions without coming across as impatient.

Additionally, if awarded but waiting for disbursements, follow up timelines for transferred funds to plan your program finances optimally. Gentle reminders maintain visibility as a proactive applicant committed to succeeding abroad.

Step 10. Thank the Selection Committees For Their Consideration

Regardless of outcomes, send a short gracious note to all scholarship boards appraising them of your appreciation for their time and efforts in reviewing many worthy candidates. Share how experiences from the process itself enriched your global perspective.

This demonstrates your character in gracefully handling results while still connecting with the sponsoring organizations. It may also potentially keep your credentials on record in case funding opportunities arise again later. Maintaining positive relationships remains beneficial in the long run.


While getting scholarships demands effort, by systematically following these 10 steps, studying abroad can become a financially viable option for motivated students. With early planning, strong applications and polite follow-ups, candidates optimize their profiles for competitive awards. Do not lose heart from initial denials and keep reapplying with improvements each cycle. Hard work and persistence eventually pay off in realizing your dream of international education.



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INDIAKochi Office
Cliftons Study Abroad
2nd Floor, Kudiyirickal Towers
Metro Pillar No 528, Palarivattom
Kochi, Kerala - 682025
UKLondon Office
71-75 Shelton Street,
Covent Garden,
London, United Kingdom,
OUR LOCATIONSWhere to find us
GET IN TOUCH Social Links
Like and follow us on our Social links to know us better

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