Are you dreaming of studying abroad? Can you already picture yourself as an international student at the desired university in a land you are eager to discover? As perfect as it may sound, there are many students who unfortunately give up on their dream because of financial reasons. Besides the unique amazing experience, continuing your studies in another country also implies some considerable financial planning to estimate the costs of your stay (tuition fees, living costs, visa expenses if necessary). If you do not have the necessary means to cover the tuition fees for a Master course in your country of choice, the most sensible solution is to start the research on scholarship opportunities that allow your dream to come true despite the money shortage.
Don’t know how to start looking for a Master scholarship at an international university? Don’t worry! Here you have a 5-step how-to guide to help you organise before starting your quest for the ideal scholarship. Without further ado, here is your plan:
1. Start your research as early as possible
There are plenty of students who had to take a gap year or postpone their Master application abroad because they missed the deadline for a scholarship. Scholarship opportunities arise as early as the beginning of the academic year, so it wouldn’t hurt to start the research even a year before graduation. In this way, you can allot a couple of weeks to check with different organisations, government programmes or funding schemes and find the combination that works best for you. Key word: organisation. Keep a folder in your computer where you gather details about any potential Master scholarship, so you can compare them at the end of the research period and start moving on to the next step as soon as you choose the one (or the ones) that fits you best. Check various funding opportunities both in your home country and your destination country and make sure you come up with an extensive list at the end.
2. Check the eligibility criteria thoroughly
Many scholarships sound just too good to be true. Until you start checking each and every criterion and you realise that you are not eligible. Avoid such a huge disappointment and jot down on your list only the postgraduate scholarships you could be granted. Important requirements to look for: country of origin, academic background, research plans, grades (both during your former degree and the Master programme), previous excellent results in a specific field (for special excellence scholarships), external funding means etc.
3. Gather all the necessary documents
As soon as you picked one or several funding programmes, take a piece of paper (the best idea is to have a planer where you can jot down your progress at every stage and important things to remember) and make a list of all the papers you need for the application. Check them off the to-do list as soon as you are done with them. It is also a good idea to write the time when you can obtain them (some documents can take time to obtain, such as your graduation diploma or the transcript of records), and design a timeline to make sure you have them all before the scholarship application deadline.
4. Get good references
Any Master scholarship provider wants to make sure that you deserve the money they are willing to grant you. That is, you’ve been a good student, with a good academic reputation, who can provide excellent reference from professors, employers, various organisations and companies you collaborated with etc. Taking this into account, it’s always a good idea to do your job well wherever you are, so that you have your list of contact persons who can throw in a good word for you about your interaction with them and your activity.
5. Prepare for the interview
An application procedure for a Master scholarship will end in most cases with an interview, where you have to convince the panel that you are the very person to be granted the scholarship. The good old job interview rules are also valid here, starting from the right clothes to wear, continuing with a positive attitude and ending with demonstrating that you are the one they are looking for. Do your homework well in advance, prepare a short but efficient presentation about yourself, think of answers to potential questions that may arise, be prepared to tackle some more technical questions as well (related to the desired field of study, for instance), and show interest and enthusiasm. Take a deep breath before the interview and convince yourself that you can do it. This is the last step towards your dream, which has never been as close as now.
So now you know what you have to do. It is advisable to start looking for a Master scholarship well in advance of applying for your Masters programme, so that you avoid missing the deadlines or running out of time for preparing the necessary documents. An optimistic mindset will also come in handy for sure, so don’t panic.
Just do what lies within your powers and hope to get a positive answer. We wish you good luck!