When it comes to applying for scholarships as an international student, many international students are left out of the conversation because they aren’t even aware that they can apply, or they don’t know how to go about completing the application process.
But this doesn’t have to be the case; there are plenty of scholarships available for international students, and with these 10 tips, you can learn how to get your hands on one!
How to Get Scholarships as an International Student? [10 Tips]
1. It’s best to start early
The scholarships for international students generally start very early in the school year. I would advise students to apply for their scholarships at least 3 months before the final semester of their sophomore year.
If you are applying for an international scholarship, it is a must to apply more than 6 months prior to your study abroad program. Some scholarships also require that you complete your degree before they will pay you.
This is why starting early is best.
2. Consider using a scholarship matching tool
When looking for scholarships, a good tool to use is Cappex.
It’s a scholarship matching tool that will alert you when a college or university with your chosen major has scholarship opportunities.
When using scholarship matching tools, it’s important to be persistent and pay attention to deadlines; if you don’t apply by each individual deadline, you could miss out on some great opportunities!
Some schools also have additional internal scholarships; try reaching out to your admissions office for more information about these opportunities.
Visit Scholars Rank for a complete list of sites you can use for your scholarship search.
3. Turn to your advisor
If you are an international student with little to no experience in your field of study and need advice on how to get a scholarship, do not hesitate to contact your advisor.
International students sometimes struggle with getting scholarships because financial aid opportunities can be focused on U.S. citizens. Turn to your advisor for guidance about where to look for funds, if there is any availability at your school and other useful information.
Turning to your advisor is always a great idea, but if you’re still unsure about who to approach for advice, here are some other options you might want to consider: counselors, teachers, or members of your local community.
4. Develop your Online Presence
Thinking about going to college in America as an international student? It’s a great idea the U.S. has some of the best colleges and universities in the world, after all, but it does come with its own unique set of challenges. And one of those biggest challenges, by far, is funding your education.
Your chances of getting a scholarship increase dramatically when you’re able to demonstrate to a potential sponsor that you have a well-developed online presence. Whether your goal is simply getting on more scholarship lists or getting noticed by specific sponsors, developing your online presence will help open doors.
5. Tap into your network to find information
Your network is where most of your scholarship information will come from. Stay in touch with your former teachers, coaches, colleagues, and other people in your network that have connections at colleges to find out about scholarships you’re eligible for.
If you don’t know where to start with these connections, start by writing a LinkedIn request message or adding them on Facebook to see if they might share some helpful information.
6. Don’t focus so much on your grades
While your grades may be an important part of scholarship applications, it’s much more important to focus on your extracurriculars and other achievements. While you can boost your GPA with specific actions (like talking to your teacher about getting a bad grade modified), only grades earned during high school are usually factored into scholarship criteria.
For example, many universities offer merit-based scholarships based on extra-curricular activities or community service. If you want to stand out in a competitive applicant pool, you should aim for honors societies or varsity sports as opposed to pushing yourself towards better grades alone.
7. Apply for multiple scholarships
It is important to apply for multiple scholarships so that you don’t rely on just one scholarship for your entire college education.
There are many scholarships out there and if you play your cards right, you can find scholarships for almost any interest or major. The key is to search early and make sure you meet all of their eligibility requirements.
There are also scholarship programs that look for students who excel in particular fields. If you’re a computer geek or math whiz, there’s likely a scholarship program that you can apply to which recognizes and rewards your skills.
However, if you have any special talent, such as singing or art, it is still possible to get a scholarship based on those skills even if they aren’t necessarily linked to your major.
8. Write a compelling essay
You’ve written your essay, and now you’re ready to submit it. But before you click send, make sure that you avoid these common mistakes or you might be giving away points without even knowing it.
Before you press send on your scholarship application essay, read through these common problems and see if they apply to your own writing. And for even more tips for a successful scholarship essay, click for the full list of scholarship essay writing tips here.
9. Request letters of recommendation
Requesting letters of recommendation is a daunting task for many students, and it can be hard to know where to start. Scholarships like The Common Application offer two opportunities for recommendation letters; while there are instances in which you can submit letters through certain programs if those aren’t available, it’s best to reach out directly via email.
Scholarships that ask for an online profile and application also sometimes include a space where applicants can request letters of recommendation.
In these instances, you should follow up with your recommenders directly to ensure they’re aware of what you’re asking.
Remember: it’s important to be professional in all communication with those who are supporting your scholarship application, as well as during your scholarship interview.
10. Practice interviewing skills
Before you apply for a scholarship, it is essential that you practice. This will help you to become more comfortable with answering interview questions and show how articulate and knowledgeable you are.
Practice interviewing skills by asking friends or family members who have experience in business and finance to ask you challenging questions about your chosen field of study.
It is important that they vary their style of questioning so that you are prepared for every question imaginable.
The best way to perfect your interviewing skills is through practice, practice, practice!
In conclusion, I hope you’ve found a useful tidbit of advice in these 10 tips for getting a scholarship as an international student. If you want to get your hands on scholarships, stick to these points and try not to let your FOMO guide your decisions. You never know if you follow these steps, you could be well on your way to winning some money! 😉