The most obvious route to cutting study expenses is by seeking refuge in scholarships and financial grants. Nirva Vira chalks out a sequential line of action to help you get the funding you need
Wondering how life would be just so perfect if a leading university like Harvard or Cambridge came knocking on your door with a fantastic scholarship? You might not get a literal knock on your door, but you may get to walk down their hallowed halls at little cost. Here’s how you land a coveted scholarship:
1. PICK YOUR COUNTRY AND SUBJECT
Decide the country or countries you want to study in as well as the subjects (P.S: even though most students prefer the United Kingdom, US universities are known to provide more scholarships). Run a generic search of universities that provide scholarships to Indian students. Search for government-aided and privately awarded scholarships available for Indian students to study abroad. Short-list those scholarships and universities that suit your requirements. Look up the tuition fees and living expenses of the universities so you have a rough idea of how much funding to ask for.
2. APPLY, APPLY, APPLY
Don’t restrict yourself to one scholarship; the chances of winning it are low. Apply to multiple scholarship awarding bodies. Application forms are usually available in the websites of the universities (look under the ‘funding’ tab). Similarly, forms for privately funded scholarships are available in their respective websites. Read all the clauses of government and private scholarships. They may contain terms you may not find agreeable, for example, one may state that the student has to return to work in their own country or in a particular sector.
3. WRITE A WINNING APPLICATION
There are more applicants than scholarships; your application therefore needs to stand out. Besides academic excellence, bring out your hobbies, passions and work experiences. Use your strengths to your advantage. For example, if you are good at debating, mention how this reflects your command over English, your speaking skills, your confidence, etc. Give a rounded impression of yourself, your aspirations and what the scholarship can do for you. A good application essay will increase your chances of winning the scholarship.
4. SUBMIT BEFORE DEADLINE
After you have finished constructing your application, submit before the deadline. In fact, submit your application way before so that you are on top of the pile and get preference above others. Missing the deadline will ruin your chances completely.
5. BE PATIENT
Scholarships don’t come easy, and one of the most important things they require is patience. So be patient. If you are good enough and deserve the scholarship, you will be awarded.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SCHOLARSHIPS
To help you get started, here are some well-known scholarships for Indian students wishing to study abroad. They are a mix of government-aided and privately funded scholarships.
ERASMUS MUNDUS SCHOLARSHIP
Erasmus Mundus provides scholarships to 126 Indian students to study in Europe.
Benefits: Covers subsistence allowances, travel costs, tuition fees and all university fees. Also pays for individual insurance on health, travel and accidents.
Eligibility: Requires an Indian citizenship. You must not have resided or carried out any activity like studies or work for more than 12 months in any eligible European country five years before applying.
Deadline: The application usually opens in December and closes by mid-February.
Only 83 postgraduate students from all over the world are selected for this scholarship at Oxford University, UK, out of which only five scholars are from India.
Benefits: Covers university and college fees and living expenses for term and vacation time. Air travel expenses borne as well.
Eligibility: Besides an outstanding academic performance, commitment and capacity for leadership is also considered. You must be between 19 and 25 years old (as of 1 October of the year of application). You should also possess a first class degree in either humanities, engineering, agriculture, sciences, law or medicine from an Indian university.
Deadline: The application form is available online by 1 June. Complete applications must be submitted by 31 July of the same year.
FULBRIGHT NEHRU MASTER’S FELLOWSHIP
This scholarship allows students to pursue a master’s degree at select US institutions.
Benifits: Covers tuition and university fees, living expenses, J-1 visa support and round trip travel expenses.
Eligibility: Applicants should have an equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree (a 4-year bachelor or completed master degree) from a recognised Indian institution with a minimum 55% score; 3-year work experience in the proposed field of study; community service experience; no prior degree from a US university.
Deadline: 8 July (a year before the degree starts)
J.N. TATA ENDOWMENT SCHOLARSHIP
Around 120 scholarships are available for all subjects and are open to mid-career professionals, graduates and students in final year.
Benefits: Loan scholarships ranging between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 4,00,000. Some scholars may also qualify for a gift scholarship and a travel grant of no more than Rs. 3,80,000.
Eligibility: Applicants should have graduated from a recognised Indian university with a good academic award. Mid-career professionals up to the age of 45 may apply if they want to go abroad for research studies.
Deadline: Application forms are available from the first week of December at their administrative office. The deadlines vary every year but are announced through advertisements.
The selection of students is based on consistent high academic performance, interest in the field of study, extracurricular activities, how they add value to the programme, and the genuineness of receiving the scholarship. Focus on these to ensure chances of getting the scholarship. – Swati Salunkhe, education counsellor
Volume 3 Issue 4