How to find a scholarship?

Students usually feel confused when searching for scholarships or other funds allowing them to go abroad and to survive having lots of expenses and at the same time being tempted by attractions waiting for them.

We created a list of the most important issues you will need to know to help students go from novice to expert scholarship hunters before long.  As a student advisor you should start with a few things beforehand:

# First and foremost, make sure that students at your university are aware of various funding possibilities (they can be informed via social media, webpages, newsletters, orientation days, financial guide books  etc.)  

# Secondly, advise your students to start locally. They should start with checking the offer available at the university. There is less competition amongst local grants. Students can ask their international mobility offices or financial mobility advisors about scholarship possibilities.

If there are students with special needs, they can reach the office for disabled students or the student aid office responsible for financial support. Refugees can also appeal for special funds offered by public institutions or other organisations.

# Furthermore, recall student times: do you remember that chatting and consulting with peers was an impulse for further actions?  Why not advising students to visit the students’ associations such as student self government or ESN?

They can learn from personal experiences and they can obtain immediately a first-hand opinion about the grant. It is also worth holding the review of collaborating associations that support prospective mobile students.

# Moreover, if local resources are insufficient, there are plenty of external possibilities. The best place to begin with are the state’s education websites, e.g.: ministries of education, national agencies for academic exchange and mobility, national organizations that focus on education and youth.

The second reference can be the European Commission webpage and its offer. Last but not least, the embassies of  foreign countries. Additionally it is also possible to find partner universities which offer extra scholarships. It would be required to check it with a partner university webpage. 

Finally, despite rich offers and wide possibilities, you should make yourself and your students aware that not everyone wins. What could you do in this situation? The following solutions you can find below.

What if a student cannot get any scholarship?

There is no guarantee that all student efforts will pay off, but your role is to activate students to seek for various options. If scholarships are not available, there are some other possibilities that students may consider. Primarily, you should draw students’ attention to working opportunities and loans.

# working opportunities

Students are allowed to work abroad 20 hours per week which is always a good option. Before finding a job abroad, it is reasonable to visit the careers office at a hosting university to receive assistance in this matter. The careers office can also help prepare a successful CV or motivation letter.

When searching for a part-time job, it is recommendable to refer to the EURES - a European cooperation network of employment services, designed to facilitate the free movement of workers.

The network has always worked hard to ensure that European citizens can benefit from the same opportunities, despite language barriers, cultural differences, bureaucratic challenges, diverse employment laws and a lack of recognition of educational certificates across Europe. EURES - The European job mobility portal - European Commission

# loans

Students’ loans are not very popular in Europe; however, there may be some institutions in your country which offer students’ loans.

Checking the requirements

It is crucial to draw students’ attention to the scholarship enrollment requirements, its timing and model (one-time or periodic grant). There will be only a few scholarships that are suitable for particular students. It is not worth wasting time completing applications for scholarships that are not suitable.

Successful CV and motivation letter

Knowing the possibilities of scholarships and institutions where your students can apply for funding it’s just the starting point you need to guide them. When applying for any scholarship, the CV usually works as the first step to fulfill the requirements of a programme that students want to apply for. Therefore remind them why it is important to write a proper CV. A perfect CV does not exist but you should focus on some crucial writing tips to help students get started. Make sure that they remember about:

# Using language from a scholarship description (applying for scholarships is similar to a job interview. If students want to create a positive impression they have to make sure to use a proper language and include all required information on their application).

# Emphasizing particular skills and achievements from internships, volunteering or job and studies (the role of CV is to attract attention of institutions that provide a scholarship. The most difficult thing is to convince the scholarship provider that the student’s candidacy is unique and distinctive. Paying attention to skills and achievements from internships, volunteering or job and studies will definitely spark an interest).

# Focusing on their interests or talents (providing information about students’ experience is very important but don’t forget about interests and talents. Adding personal interests description could be the opportunity to present a candidate as a person who is open to new knowledge and new ideas).

# Designing a professional document (before students send CV they should ask someone to proof-read it. It is the best way to correct possible mistakes and avoid irrelevant information. Don’t forget to mention that a professionally designed CV is the attribute of a candidate. It is worthwhile to recommend some on-line tools like kickresume or canva, which can be very useful in designing an impressive CV ).

‘How to write a scholarship motivational letter?’ is another question that students face. Don’t forget to inform them that the goal of a letter is to explain why they are good candidates for the scholarship. The motivational letter should be concise and convincing. There are several writing tips that can double your students’ chances of getting a dream scholarship.

First of all, the motivational letter has to have a clear structure with opening, middle and closing paragraphs. Second of all, it is important to include the most important elements from a CV, mainly by focusing on the student's strengths. Last but not least, remember to remind your students that they should mention their plans for the future and how they will use the scholarship experience in their studies and career.

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