As you prepare for university and realise that the cost involved is much more than just tuition fees, wouldn’t it be nice to have some extra money in your pocket, to help you with all the additional expenses along the way?
Well you could if you apply for scholarships, grants and bursaries. DON’T STOP READING, thinking this article doesn’t apply to you… because it could and it does.
Would you turn down £1,000 free money if someone offered it to you? Probably not, and yet that is exactly what many students are doing by not checking out if they are eligible for any scholarships, grants or bursaries to help with the cost of university – and despite popular belief, there are funding opportunities which are open to all students.
The only real difference between a scholarship, grant or bursary is really who gives it to you. Scholarships are usually given by universities, companies or industry associations while grants and bursaries are also given by universities and more often by charities. You will often find the terms being used interchangeably, but the basic premise is the same – this is money that you do not have to pay back.
So here are some tips to help you ensure that you don’t miss out on what could be yours.
- Do not assume you won’ be eligible: It is a myth that scholarships are only given to the academically gifted or those from a low household income. There are lots of other reasons why you might be given a scholarship.
- Look beyond your university: your chosen university should always be the first place to look, but look beyond that. The universities are not the only organisations offering scholarships but they will only have information on what they offer on their websites and not what other organisations offer.
- What have you done to deserve this?: there are so many different reasons why scholarships are offered, so think about the things about you, your background, your experiences which might make you eligible for a scholarship. This could include, sporting or musical achievements, work in the community, particular family circumstances or personal circumstances. Some scholarships are even based on where you come from, your hobbies or your career aspirations and yes, there really are scholarships for the first in their family to go to university. There are even some pretty weird scholarships out there, given for reasons like your surname, what you eat, what your parents do for a living or if you’re a girl. Some scholarships are now being offered to all students, regardless of which university you go to or what subject you are studying and all you have to do apply is write an essay – which you should be quite good at by now!
- Seek and ye shall find: well not strictly true, there probably isn’t a scholarship for everyone yet, but if you don’t look, you definitely won’t find anything. It’s that age old saying “You’ve got to be in it to win it”. It might seem like a long and boring task, but surely better than 100 hours working on the checkout, which is what it might take you to earn the value of a typical scholarship.
- Apply, apply, apply: the more you apply for, the better your chances of getting some money. You would be surprised that the number of applications that some of these scholarships get is often quite low and your odds of winning something are relatively good.
- Eats Shoots and Leaves: And anyone who has read this book, you will know how important grammar can be. Don’t use text speak in your application, use capital “I”s when talking about yourself and check your punctuation. Oh and don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!! Your application could be rejected if it appears you have not taken time and consideration over it.
- Don’t just look once and give up: Scholarships, grants and bursaries are not just offered to freshers, so make this a process you go through each year and you could be significantly reducing your overall student debt. There are new scholarships being created all the time, so if you look once and give up, you will miss out on these.
This article has been written by Karen Kennard, Director of The Scholarship Hub, a website where students can search for university scholarships available to UK students.