For many prospective students, the main obstacle or problem with coming to study in the UK is the cost of education. To be honest, it’s very hard to get “free “education in the UK. By “free” I mean fully funded by a scholarship, government or university. But you can get a scholarship from many UK universities, you can expect to get 10 to 50 % reduction on your fees of the course. Also, keep in mind, the higher the level of study you going to pursue, the higher the chances of you getting a scholarship.
There are a few types of university scholarships in the UK:
The first one is based on educational excellence. These types of grants are solely based on the grades you are going to get on your exams. Just to give you an example, a University of Nottingham offers an IB Excellence Scholarship, of course it depends on the university you are going to study at, the course, but just to let you know: you have to be way above average to be considered.
Second types of scholarships, are scholarships based on the country you are from. If you are coming from a developing country, and you never studied abroad and you are willing to come back to your home country to make a positive impact, many UK universities will consider to sponsor you. You can even get the whole Master’s course paid for you.
Third types scholarships available, are scholarships based on the school you are currently studying at. For example, many schools have ties to UK universities. School-specific grants are usually given to students with exceptional grades. You have to check with your school if they have any links with British universities, if they work with these universities and can help you get this scholarship. Also, if you are choosing school right now, it’s probably worth asking them if they have any links to British universities.
The fourth type of scholarships available, are course specific. So, there are some scholarships available from universities overall, but there are also separate schools within universities, such as school of Engineering or Business Studies, that provide specific scholarships. For example, the University of Bath, the faculty of Engineering, offers 8 scholarships for students studying a Master’s degree. You can get around 10 % discount on your fees. But that’s specifically if you are going to study Engineering.
And the final type of scholarship that I know about, are scholarships based on Sport Achievement. What I mean by Sports Excellence is some kind of achievement you have on national or international level in any sport. Obviously, the university will consider if your achievement is significant enough for a scholarship, but do keep in mind if you have some exceptional talent, if you are good at any sport, you should use it to get a scholarship. Let’s take an example, a University of Exeter offers up to £3,000 pounds worth of scholarship available for a single student if you have some exceptional sport talent.
As you can see there are so many scholarship options available from universities. Now, what’s the process of actually obtaining these?
First step is research. I think this is the most important step. Some people just apply for university, and then check: oh, are there any scholarships? If scholarship and funding help is super important to you, do your research beforehand, you have to research whether the university has any scholarships that are suitable for you. So do your research, check the criteria, are your grades good enough? are you from the country the scholarship requires you to be from? are you meeting the deadlines? So many universities offer very specific unique scholarships, for example for a woman from a commonwealth country that wants to study physics. Perhaps this is YOU, but how would you know about this scholarship available if you never did your research? You could be a perfect candidate for a scholarship, that you never found.
Step 2 is also quite important, but probably very logical, you have to apply for these universities. So undergraduate students, around 5 universities, for Master’s and PhD – as many as you want. Before applying for a scholarship, you usually have to apply for university. This is the case for most undergraduate scholarships, for Master’s sometimes you can be considered for a scholarship along with application, for PhD as well, but I think what is the point for applying for a scholarship, preparing all this application if you haven’t even got a place. You have to prepare a very strong application. Because not just your grades will be considered, your personal statement as well. This personal statement could be looked at when you will be considered for a scholarship. So perhaps it is worth putting an extra effort into your personal statement, ensure you demonstrate all your skills, show your leadership qualities, show your talents! Take time preparing your application.
Step 3 is apply for a scholarship. Yes, only now at a third step you are applying for a scholarship. Once you get an offer, that’s when a scholarship application comes in. I recommend emailing the universities to find out, what are the requirements for a scholarship application. The website could be clear, but still what if there are any changes? Why don’t you just send them a quick email saying ” Hello, I have an offer from your university and I would like to be considered for a scholarship.” Obviously, you have been working very hard to get amazing grades, so now it is time to pay attention for your scholarship application.
There are four main things that could be part of your scholarship application
First one is Motivational Letter. Make sure you write very clearly, you answer the question the university asked, you show not just how great you are, but also how the scholarship will benefit you, what you are going to do with your career plans.
The second thing that might be asked is Reference Letter. Or maybe a few of them. So you have to think about, who you are going to ask for a reference letter, make sure this person knows about a format of the letter that is required, they speak good English, they know you well and they know about your career plans and they know why you deserve this scholarship.
Third thing that might be required from you is to attend an Interview at the university. It could be by Skype, by call or in person. There are so many aspects for a success in an interview, so I am sure you will do your research, and I can’t cover this whole topic in this post. But do make sure you prepare in advance. And the last thing they might ask for, is financial documents. To be honest nowadays there are not that many scholarships available for students in financial hardships. But it could help if you are struggling financially. So do ask universities if they require any proof of your financial struggle, but this could not even help you as most university scholarships are based on academic merit only.
Step 4 is wait for amazing news and hope for the best! I am sure if you put your best effort into your grades and application, you will get something! Just make sure you plan in advance, prepare, do your research and be patient!
In this post I just shared university scholarships available, but there are other types of scholarships available to study in the UK, such as scholarships from government or companies.