According to Wikipedia, a scholarship is a form of financial aid awarded to students for reasons such as academic merit, diversity and inclusion, athletic skill, and financial need to further their education.
As a student, you may have needs to apply for a scholarship. Regardless of the reason for your application, their are documents that must accompany every scholarship application for it to be considered.
Omitting even one among these documents can lead to your application being rejected and you wouldn’t want that for yourself. So, it is important that you take note of them (documents) to have a successful application that would most likely lead to an offer.
The following are the required documents needed for a successful scholarship application:
- Academic curriculum vitae
- Statement of purpose/ Personal statement/ Motivational letter.
- Degree certificate or Statement of result.
- International Passport
- Letters of recommendation
- Referees detailed information
- English proficiency letter/IELTS/TOEFL/DUOLINGO.
- GRE (optional)
- Research proposal (optional).
1. Academic curriculum vitae
Academic curriculum vitae is slightly different from the one used in seeking for employment opportunities which can be called work or industrial résumé. Work résumé or curriculum vitae focuses on your job experiences and skills as these are what employers are often interested in while hiring people.
Whereas, academic curriculum vitae is detailed as it focuses not only in one’s work experiences and skills but also on the following areas:
- educational and academic background
- professional qualifications
- teaching and research experience
- Extracurricular activities
- special qualifications.
We recommend that you hire a professional CV reviewer to go through your CV before using it to make scholarship applications. Having them review or make input in your CV will definitely boost your chances of getting a scholarship.
How to write an excellent academic CV
There are people out there whose job is writing academic curriculum vitae for students seeking scholarships. You can hire them if you don’t trust yourself enough to do a good job.
A good curriculum vitae should be detailed and convincing. The following are a summarised method for writing a great academic CV:
- Start with your contact details:
- this should include your name, email address, Phone number and residential address. Use a professional email address for this purpose. Example: FIRSTNAME[email protected]
- Continue with your personal profile
- Then talk about your educational history
- Educationalhistory should be followed by professional appointments (if applicable)
- Then you should talk about your teaching experience if applicable.
- Then list your publications. Your undergraduate degree project can come in handy here.
- If you have received grants and/or fellowships before, include it after enlisting your publications.
Samples of academic CV
The following links will take you to see samples of various academic curriculum for different countries.
Academic curriculum vitae templates and/or samples for different countries
For your scholarship application to be considered, you will need to include your transcript among other documents while applying.
Depending on your country or the school your attended, you can request and get your transcript online, in days or weeks.
3. Statement of purpose (SOP)
Just like the name, this document summarily tells the admission committee the purpose you are applying for a particular program in your chosen school.
So, this document should be able to answer these questions clearly:
- Why this program?
- Why this school?
- Why should be offered an admission instead of other prospective students?
A 500 to 1000 words or a 5 paragraph SOP might be enough to convince the admission committee to offer you an admission.
How to write a winning Statement of purpose
A good statement of purpose should have the following parts:
- Part 1: introduce whom you’re, your interest and motivation for a graduate study.
- Part 2: summarize your undergraduate and other graduate career. Include the following under this part:
- Research you conducted (title), the team involved, your responsibilities during the work, and the result or outcome of the research.
- Important and relevant paper or thesis project you completed. Add, if available, other scholarly engagement you were part of which isn’t part of your curricular requirement.
- Part 3: Work experience. Your statement of purpose should include your work experience which is relevant to what you wish to study in grad school. Here, indicate the place you worked, your team, your responsibilities, your achievements, and what the job taught you (lessons).
- Part 4: elaborate on your academic interests. This entails specifying what you desire to study, and your motivation behind it. Under this part, the admission committee should be convinced that you understand the scope of research in their discipline. Important information the admission committee would look out for in your SOP under part 4 are:
- Your study area of interest
- Problem Statement
- Questions arising from contemporary research
- Professors, in the faculty you are applying to, whose research interest aligns with yours, whom you desire to work with, your excitement and readiness to face the challenge ahead.
4. Degree certificate or Statement of result
You need to include your degree certificate or Statement of result for your application to be valid. Failure to do so will lead to trashing of your application.
5. International Passport
For any scholarship that is not offered by your country that you wish to apply to, an international passport is a must have. Without it, you will not be able to travel out of your country.
So, it is not wise to offer someone a scholarship when the said person cannot travel out of his country because he doesn’t have an international passport.
If you are an international student seeking to study abroad, whether through self funding or scholarship, get an international passport as it is a must have document for students seeking admission abroad.
6. Letters of recommendation
Recommendation Letters from your lecturers, professors preferably, are needed for a successful scholarship application.
Without them, your application will not be considered.
Some persons, including professors, may not know the best way to write a befitting recommendation letter for a scholarship application. It is, therefore, important that you write them yourself and give them to just sign.
Note this, some professors might find it offensive if you write or draft a recommendation letter and give them to sign.
If you suspect that a professor would be offended by this, allow him or her to write the recommendation letter. If you’re not convinced by the letter, look for another professor for a new letter.
7. Referees detailed information
You need to provide the detailed information of your referees.
8. English proficiency letter/IELTS/TOEFL/DUOLINGO.
If the program you’re applying for is taught in English, then you need a proof that you can communicate effectively in English language.
9. GRE (optional)
Some schools in the US and Canada require Graduate Record Examinations for a scholarship application to be accepted while some don’t.
You are required to find out if this is need by the school you’re applying to.