Are you an overseas-bound student applying for admission to foreign universities? Whatever maybe be the level and stream of the program you are applying for, studying abroad can be an expensive proposition. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you have the financial wherewithal to support and see you through your study abroad endeavor, as the cost of the program requires budgeting beyond tuition fees to include your lodging, travel and day-to-day living expenses. This is where grants and scholarships can help you secure your study abroad funding process.
Before you can avail of the financial aid, it is important to understand the process of scholarships and grants and evaluate them to determine your suitability for the same.
Here is a look at the various types of financial aids that you can benefit from to enliven your study abroad dream.
• Scholarships – Most of the scholarships are merit-based financial aid given to students with proven academic credentials, notable extracurricular or sporting achievements, community achievements, leadership qualities, character, etc.
• Grants – These are need-based financial aids given on the basis of your family background, financial status, etc.
So what’s the difference here?
Need-based scholarships are usually provided to local students, for example, universities in the US prefer to grant scholarships to American nationals on a priority basis. This is the case with most countries, with each country giving preference to its own student community.
Merit-based scholarships, on the other hand, adopt the following approach:
The judges of the universities you are applying for will evaluate your entire profile which includes your overall academic grades and test scores like GRE and IELTS/TOEFL, your internships and jobs, personal accomplishments, community service, etc. So, it is important to make a list of all your achievements – both academic and extra-curricular. Mention if you have received any scholarships during your college or any awards during your professional work or internship.
Point out the leadership experiences and involvements in social and cultural activities that can distinguish you from the thousands of equally merited applicants.
Further, the university may offer scholarships along the following lines :
1. First-In-First-Out: This process follows the ascending order of application and the profile suitability of students. For example, NY Tandon and RIT in USA
2. While applying: Some universities provide you with the option of applying for scholarships online, during the course of your admission process. For example, TU Delft in Netherlands
3. Along with Admit: Some universities grant scholarships at the time of admission. For example, UIC, CMU, Ny Tandon, etc in USA
4. Apply at Admit: Some universities offer you the option to apply for a scholarship after you are admitted. For example, UT Dallas (USA)
5. Upon Checking-In: You can also apply for a scholarship once you are at the university and have cleared the personal interview rounds. This applies to majority of the universities ranging from GaTech to ETH to Stonybrook to University of Melbourne, etc
Most of the universities offer scholarships after you have cleared interviews with the admission panel and professors. You have to prove your worth at a holistic level, your skills and abilities to keep up with the coursework at the University will be duly tested. Most importantly, you have to convince your suitability for the grant by convincing the panel of contributing to the applying university and the host country as an international ambassador.
Sometimes, during the first semester, the professors may ask you to work on a minor project relevant to the course you are applying for on the basis of which he/she would consider you for a scholarship in the form of RA / TA which would commence from your second semester onwards. This gives you ample time to converse with the professors, discuss your interest in the course, work on your project and prove that you are worthy of the intended Assistantship and convey your serious intent to contribute to the ongoing research.
Furthermore, if you are looking for financial help through private funding, associations in India provide loans and scholarships.
You can apply for an interest-free loan ranging from INR 20,000 to 20,00,000, which you will have to repay as soon as you start earning. You can also apply for a scholarship ranging from INR 20,000 to 10,00,000.
If you are looking for interest-free loans and scholarships in India, you will have to do the following:
Essay & Letter of Recommendation :
You will be required to write an essay stating your goals and talk about how you intend to acquire knowledge and obtain a degree from a foreign university, come back to India and make a difference to the society by putting your learning and knowledge to best use. Ensure that your career goals India-centric. Also, make sure to talk about the social benefits that would accrue out of your professional work. How you intend to contribute to the economic development of India through your work?
You can also stress on how obtaining the scholarship would ease the financial constraints your family is likely to be subjected to in the event of self-funding. You also need to convince the donor about how being self-sufficient would enable you to pursue the program with poise, security, and confidence and motivate you to excel academically.
Your letters of recommendation should highlight your zealousness to acquire quality education from a foreign country and demonstrate your capability to contribute to the progress of India. It is a good idea to include how your learning at the university can help you in contributing to the benefit of the Indian society at large.
Here, you will have to interact face-to-face interaction with the panel responsible for granting you the loan or scholarship, and explain your position of wanting to be self-sufficient. Most importantly, you have to convince the panel of your overall worthiness to avail of the financial aid, and your desire to make a difference to your country and society upon completing your education.
Here is the list of scholarships we have collated. We will keep on updating this excel sheet.