After the stress of college applications and prequalification testing, it’s disheartening to have to suddenly shift your focus towards figuring out how to finance your education. Fortunately, with a bit of planning, you can make graduate school affordable by applying for scholarships. Keep reading to find out the best ways to make sure you can secure scholarships and earn free money at the graduate level!
1. Have a Story
Most scholarship applications ask you to briefly describe any challenges you have overcome and how they have better prepared you for school. Spend a few minutes brainstorming about your life and thinking of how to best explain your experiences.
2. Be Honest in Your Scholarship Application
Scholarship selection committees want to hear YOUR story, not a made up story! It can be easy to want to exaggerate to make your postgraduate scholarship application seem more impressive, but this is morally wrong and even illegal! The New York Times reports that, in 2008, a Yale student was arrested after it was discovered that he had lied on his application to the prestigious Connecticut university.
It is always better to be slightly less impressive and honest rather than impressive and a liar.
3. Earn and Maintain Good Grades
Of course, excellent grades are needed if you want to earn postgraduate scholarship money. Make a study schedule, stay focused throughout school, and meet with your professors often to ensure you earn the highest GPA possible. Never settle for less than your best! most local scholarship GPA requirements range from 2.5 to 4.0 GPA.
4. Be Involved
Grades are important, but so are extracurricular activities. Find a few activities that you are passionate about and then pursue them to the highest levels. Value quality over quantity and always look for leadership positions. Seek these volunteer opportunities in your community, church, school, clubs, employer or various government ministries.
5. Apply For Specific Scholarships
Oftentimes, postgraduate scholarships will be designed for a certain type of student. For example, there are many scholarship funds for students with certain college majors, ethnicities, or even disabilities! Think of what makes you unique and then search for scholarships based on that. For example, if you reside in the Milk River, Clarendon or areas of Spanish Town Road in St Andrew, you would be qualified for the annual J. Wray & Nephew Scholarship Programme.
6. Apply For Everything
While you should apply for postgraduate scholarships particularly geared towards you, you should also recognize that the hardest part of winning a postgraduate scholarship is filling out the application correctly. If you are qualified for a scholarship (even barely), try applying. If you are looking for easy scholarships to enter, you may want to try this short list. Also, no essay scholarships are no brainers as well!
7. Dress For Success
If the postgraduate or undergraduate scholarships you are applying for require an interview portion, be sure to look the part. Monster.com offers some great suggestions about how to dress for an interview so that you can express yourself while still nailing all the questions you’re asked! Additionally, make note of the interview requirements. Some scholarship committees will indicate the dress code and venue. Make sure that you dress the part for a formal job interview when you are unsure.
8. Talk to Former Postgraduate Recipients
If you are applying for a postgraduate scholarship with a large prize pool (such as the Carreras PostGraduate Scholarships), it may be beneficial for you to talk to some former recipients. Ask them what they did best on their application and try to emulate that on your own.
9. Keep Looking
The search for scholarship money should not end once you start classes. There are awards available for students in nearly every level of education, so keep applying for scholarships until you have no more tuition left to pay. The best time to search for your postgraduate scholarships are during Fall season – September to December or to be safe at least one (1) year prior enrollment.
10. Be Yourself
As cliche as it sounds, being yourself is really the easiest way to secure postgraduate scholarship money. Keep your sense of humor, tell your story well, and work hard so that you can get the best financial aid package possible!
Now, you are on your way to securing a scholarship! The best part is scholarships could add a boost to your resume, so don’t forget to tell prospective employers and graduate mentors about your success.
A scholarship not only means you can worry a little less about finances, but you can also show your smarts and commitment to education.
Also, See additional resources below:
- Rita Marley Celebrates 75th Birthday, Starts Annual Scholarship for Women
- Derron Watkins Awarded the Erasmus Scholarship to study in Europe
- Davia Henningham | Budding Animator Receives NCB Foundation Scholarship
- How to Compose a Scholarship Reference/Recommendation Letter Template – with Samples
- Apply for the 2021 Jamaica Labour Party Scholarship Programme