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10 Ways to Boost Your Chances of Getting a Study Abroad Scholarship

Studying abroad is an exciting and enriching experience, but it can also be expensive! If you’re planning to study abroad soon, but are worried about how you’ll pay for it, the following 10 tips will help you increase your chances of winning a scholarship.

Some of these ideas will be easier to implement than others, but they all work towards helping you win more scholarships so that you can go on your study abroad adventure without having to worry about the financial side of things.

1) Gain experience in your chosen field

Many programs offer scholarships to students with experience, especially relevant work experience. If you’re interested in studying abroad and also have your heart set on working while you study, consider finding an internship or other type of job that will help you gain experience in your field before you graduate.

Not only is it a great way to boost your resume for future jobs and improve your chances of getting accepted into a study abroad program, but it’s also something that could help get paid while you travel.

You don’t want to rack up huge debt from student loans during grad school or even before; think ahead and do what you can now to avoid financial stress later on.

Read Also: 5 Reasons Why Applying for a Scholarship Abroad is Worth Your Time

2) Know what you want from a program

Scholarships, by nature, are very specific. The Federal Pell Grant can only be used for tuition and fees; it can’t be used for books or rent. And most scholarships have restrictions on which majors or degrees they’ll pay for. So if you want to study abroad in London, consider applying for awards at universities in that city, or even ones that could lead you there.

For example, it might seem like every university offers study abroad opportunities in London, but some universities don’t partner with each other.

If you apply for scholarships from schools that aren’t connected, your chances of getting one will go up. You also need to make sure your program is eligible for funding before you apply.

If your program doesn’t qualify, you won’t get any money (and neither will your school). Also, check out our list of study abroad scholarship programs.

Ways to Boost Your Chances of Getting a Study Abroad Scholarship

3) Go for the highest-level opportunity possible

If you’re pursuing a degree that involves travel, search for study abroad scholarships. If your school offers exchange programs with other universities, look into opportunities there as well.

Though it may not always be true, in many cases getting shortlisted for such opportunities will require meeting higher GPA and test score thresholds than domestic awards. Be sure to check application deadlines and don’t forget about all other kinds of financial aid.

If you qualify for need-based grants or scholarships from your university or home country, those might help reduce your overall costs as well.

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4) Get yourself some great letters of recommendation

Scholarships often require letters of recommendation, and there’s no better place to start than by looking at those who can speak to your academic abilities. Professors who have taught you well should be able to write strong recommendations if they can’t think of enough things good to say about you, however, consider taking your skills elsewhere.

The same goes for internship supervisors or any other professional you’ve worked closely with. You also need people who know you well in your personal life, otherwise, they won’t have much insight into why you should get a study abroad scholarship. Ask around, people may be more willing than you think!

5) Ensure your grades are up to scratch

In order to be eligible for any sort of study abroad scholarship, you’ll need stellar grades. This is because many scholarships are reserved for students who have performed well academically.

In addition, some scholarships require a minimum GPA and/or class rank in order to be eligible, so your performance in high school and college is vital. (This also applies if you apply for your university’s own scholarship). If you don’t already have good grades, now is not the time to slack off! It might sound intimidating (and it kind of is), but it can also be incredibly exciting and rewarding.

6) Network with alumni, professors, and industry contacts

Even if you aren’t in college yet, start networking with people now. Reach out to alumni, professors, and industry contacts about your interest in studying abroad and ask for their advice.

Keep them updated on how your search is going, including details about scholarships that you apply for or interviews you have with schools. Be sure to also keep them posted on your results after you study abroad as well, they’ll be impressed by your work ethic and achievement.

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7) Create a knockout personal statement

Whether you’re hoping for an international scholarship or any type of aid, applicants with stronger personal statements are more likely to land a scholarship. Think of your personal statement as an introduction, you have just 150-200 words in which to introduce yourself and demonstrate why you should be considered for financial aid.

Be compelling! This is your chance to prove that you’re smart, capable, and resourceful enough to live and learn on your own in another country. Have some fun with it but keep it relevant. Tell them about something you accomplished that required creativity or strategic thinking. How did you come up with your idea? Where did it take place? What were some unexpected challenges? Were there any obstacles? What was your solution?

8) Pick the right essay topic

One of your top priorities during application season is keeping an eye on which schools you’ve applied to but not just for deadlines. As soon as you’ve sent off all your applications, start reaching out to schools where you haven’t yet been accepted.

Say something like: “Hello, I just wanted to check in and see if there was anything else I could do. [Insert student] would love to attend your school and we are so appreciative that you considered her application.

If she has any shot at being admitted, it will be because of her essay. We’re going to work hard to make sure it’s ready by next week (or whatever time frame you have). Thanks again for considering my daughter/son! Best wishes, [Parent/Guardian Name]”.

This type of outreach is worth trying whether or not you think it’ll get results. The worst-case scenario is that they say no, but they may also agree to read another draft or even extend your deadline. Remember: It never hurts to ask.

9) Remain flexible during the application season

There are numerous scholarship search sites and databases you can use, but always keep in mind that most scholarships have their own deadlines.

If you’ve applied for a scholarship on March 1, you don’t want to miss out on other scholarships with earlier deadlines just because you’ve spent too much time filling out one application.

It’s also important not to get stuck in some sort of loop while writing your personal statement; while crafting an award-winning essay may take time, it’s definitely worth it. In most cases, essays can be edited and revised until they’re perfect before submission. After all, winning scholarships could help pay for your college education.

Read Also: Best Online Nursing Programs That Are Completely Free

Ways to Boost Your Chances of Getting a Study Abroad Scholarship

10) Don’t give up if you don’t hear back on first try!

This is not unusual. Organizations receive dozens, if not hundreds, of applications for their scholarships. It’s not uncommon for them to have so many worthy applicants that they simply can’t respond to all of them in a timely manner.

If you don’t hear back right away, give it at least six weeks and follow up with an email expressing your continued interest. Don’t wait until award announcements are made before you apply, make sure you apply well in advance.

In most cases, organizations do not share applicant information with each other, so following up won’t hurt your chances if you’re also applying for other awards.


Study abroad programs can provide students with a once-in-lifetime opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture, improving their language skills and challenging them intellectually. Some are even able to take advantage of short-term study abroad opportunities that don’t require an entire year or semester away from home.

If you’re interested in studying abroad, there are many scholarships available for those who demonstrate financial need or have achieved academic success. With careful planning and active participation in your college community, you can make getting a scholarship more likely by following these 10 tips.

Source SmartBuzzing.com