5 Scholarship Application Tips for International Students
Updated: Jul 29
As an international student, the cost of attending a U.S. university coupled with travel costs and living expenses can make financing higher education a heavy burden. Applying for scholarships offered by universities and outside organizations can be a great way to lower your cost of attendance. But, with each application requiring separate materials, it’s important to stay organized throughout your scholarship application journey. Here are five tips to help you put your best foot forward in scholarship applications.
Get a head start: Even without additional scholarship work, college application season is busy. To make the hectic months of October through January easier on yourself, start researching scholarships prior to the start of your final school year. If the scholarships you’re interested in haven’t opened applications yet, try looking for applications from previous years to learn what materials you’ll be required to submit. To further maximize your time, come up with a schedule of what scholarship applications you’ll focus on during each month leading up to the school year.
Value quality over quantity: While it may be tempting to throw your name into the running for every scholarship you’re eligible for, it’s best to narrow your list of scholarships down to opportunities that you feel best suited for, and that also offer you the best financial benefits. This way, you’ll have more time to perfect your applications to scholarship opportunities that you’re most passionate about.
Find opportunities that cater to you: Though many scholarship opportunities judge applicants based on general criteria like academic record and leadership ability, there are some scholarships focused on more niche groups of students. For example, if you are of a particular cultural background, have a unique skill, or have faced an unusual set of challenges in your life, there may be an organization who wants to support your education. When researching scholarships, look for organizations that support students who have the same defining characteristics as yourself.
Emphasize your background: As an international student, you will be bringing a unique perspective to the U.S. campus that you’ll attend. When submitting essays and other written materials for scholarship applications, think about how the country you’re from has impacted the way that you view the world around you, and include those details in your application.
Ask for help: If English isn’t your first language (or even if it is), writing detailed essays about yourself and your experiences is no easy feat. Just as you would with materials you include in your college applications, make sure to have a teacher or family member review your essays to ensure they’re both clear and representative of you as a student. Additionally, friends, family and teachers can help you prepare for scholarship interviews, and hold you accountable for submitting applications on time.
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