Many international students are interested in gaining a scholarship to help pay for their study in the USA. In this article, we provide you with some scholarship tips and advice to assist with your scholarship applications and increase your chances of receiving sponsorship.
Participate in community life
While many scholarships for international students are based on academic merit or financial need, remember that some scholarships are awarded for community participation. This includes community service or participation in community groups, clubs and sporting teams. American institutions often look for students who are active in their community and show leadership skills, so ensure you mention any relevant activities in your scholarship cover letter. Even if you are applying for academic or financial need scholarships, community participation can improve your application.
Apply for as many scholarships as possible
There are many scholarship opportunities in the USA, so we recommend that you apply for as many as possible. Do not limit your search to the education institutions — scholarships may also be offered by residential colleges, the American Government, international organizations and government departments in your home country. University scholarships for international students are often awarded by specific faculties (the science faculty, for example), so be sure to enquire with your faculty. Many are only available to students entering particular courses who are from certain countries (Latin American students studying tourism or Indian students studying business, for example).
Ask for help with applications
Your scholarship applications are very important — they are often the only means of awarding scholarships, so it is important that your application is clear and without errors. Unfortunately, a simple mistake might result in your application being rejected. Common mistakes relate to spelling and grammar issues, lack of detail and poor presentation. To prevent any mistakes when you apply for scholarships, ask a trustworthy source who is fluent in English to review your application, such as a friend, parent or teacher.
Read the scholarship criteria carefully
Before applying for a scholarship, check that you have submitted everything that is required. Make sure that your application meets the deadline, answers all questions asked in sufficient detail, meets word limits and is accompanied by any required supporting documentation. Supporting documents may include a personal statement, a letter of offer, your employment history, references or proof of English language proficiency. Remember that some documents may need to be certified or translated. If you have any questions about your application, you should ask the scholarship provider before submission to ensure you have applied correctly.