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WINNING A SCHOLARSHIP IN A COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT IS POSSIBLE

By Hupile Matora CONTRIBUTOR (Opinions expressed by YOH contributors are their own.)

Wınnıng a scholarshıp ın a competitive world may sound like an impossible mission but it is very possible. I will share some of the golden tips that are necessary to be considered when one decides to apply for a scholarship. The candidate needs to explain very well how the scholarship would contribute to the long term goals. Just like any business investment, the scholarship committee doesn’t want to invest in unclear long term goals and they want to ensure that their investment goes to a worthy cause. At the same time, the applicant should explain how education will play a pivotal role in his career and overall goals after graduation.

A well-written statement of intent also contributes to the success of the application. The applicants should not be afraid to promote themselves. This is the opportunity or chance to inform the committee about your achievements. Generally, the past success and achievement instill confidence about the applicant’s future success. If the scholarship requires applicants to explain the obstacles in their life, it is more advisable to focus on how to overcome them. This will give the scholarship review committee a perception that the applicant is a problem solver and able to persevere through any situation. The applicant may highlight the problems and challenges in the past but rather more attention should be given on the results.

 Many candidates across the international divide they like to use generic statements such as “I deserve the opportunity because I am a hard worker” are not enough. The candidate should avoid generalisation by any means necessary. Every applicant is a hard worker, has good grades, etc. What makes the candidate unique is very important. What makes one special and memorable? You need to highlight some of the social responsibilities, voluntary activities, etc that you participated in. Also, it is important to note that instead of saying “I am a hard worker” for example say, “I upheld two jobs while I was doing my bachelor’s degree to support my university expenses and I still maintained a 3.5 GPA”. This is no longer a generalisation but rather an achievement in the candidates’ life and upbringing.

When an applicant is applying for scholarships, it is very important to use positive language. The applicant may use phrases like “well prepared”, “qualified candidate”, “specialised training” to showcase the achievements and success in a positive dimension.

Last but not the least, edit very well your application. Once an applicant has a solid draft written, it is wise not to jump straight into editing. The applicant may wait for a day or two days before looking over the draft. This will allow the candidate to read with fresh eyes hence getting rid of the inconsistencies and grammar mistakes.

MATORA HUPILE is a graduate student in International Relations in Turkey. He is a social entrepreneur. He writes on his personal capacity. He can be contacted on mhupile@gmail.com

Matora hails from Harare, Zimbabwe

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