Fully funded scholarships are pivotal in shaping countless individuals’ academic and professional futures.
Olajide Salawu, a Nigerian PhD student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, said getting fully funded scholarships allows students to focus on their studies without any distractions, including working some hours per week to raise funds.
“Postgraduate degrees without scholarship cost up to $40, 000 (over N30 million) here in Canada,”.
Salawu said, noting that indigent students cannot afford such without securing full funding.
Tips for successful scholarship applications
Giving tips for successful scholarship applications, the PhD student who had a Masters in Literary Studies before proceeding to Canada for further studies said: “Applying for scholarships takes a lot of time. It’s not just about getting access to openings on various relevant platforms; you have to start preparing whatever interest you have in academia right from time.
“You have to tighten the loose ends in your academic portfolios/profiles. Scholarships are contests. This means that so many people will apply for it. There can be 300 applicants competing for three slots. So, you will compete with other applicants who are also brilliant as you are.” Salawu said to be successful, applicants, apart from getting good grades, need to boost their profiles by engaging in volunteer work, academic workshops, and so on.
“Having a good CV that contains a directory of academic activities, paper publications, workshops attendance, volunteer records, etc.” boosts your application,” he said.
The literary scholar added that scholarship applicants must know what school they want to apply to, the kind of programmes they run, and their requirements (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL).
“Once you have identified the programme you are interested in, the next step is writing a proposal, personal statement, statement of interest, and so on,” he added.
“Make sure you personalise your proposal so they can feel your voice inside.
You have to personalise the narrative.
You are writing a story that you’re interested in a project in their school and department, and you need them to fund it.
“So you need to convince them why they should give you the funding. Part of convincing them is having a good portfolio, a great CV and a statement of purpose. “One of the ways to achieve this is to check only for winning statements of purpose or ask friends in graduate school to share theirs with you to use as a model.
“But beware, you cannot plagiarise. Plagiarism is a grave offence in academia. If you are caught dubbing someone else’ idea, you are gone. So, you have to be original and that is why your voice must be heard inside. You have to personalise the narrative.” Salawu also advised against using a one-size-fits-all approach in scholarship applications. According to the literary scholar and poet, scholarship openings have unique requirements, and applicants must tailor their CVs, statements of purpose, and other relevant documents to fit in with them.
“Also, get a good, convincing reference letter. The person will have to speak to your project topic. He has to talk broadly about what you have done and achieved together. This will convince the decision-makers that the person actually knows you and your work well. Don’t just find someone to write a 2-paragraph reference for you to submit. Find someone who can write up to three pages. “Also, your CV should be long and cover several pages. An academic CV is different from two or three-page resumes,” he said.