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Six top tips on applying for a scholarship

Before you press the 'send' button, read this essential guide on how to apply a scholarship, from tailoring your application to asking for feedback before you submit.

1. Do your research

There might not be one single place where you can find all the information that you’re looking for, so make sure you do plenty of research so you know what’s on offer. Our website is a starting-point, but make sure you also check out your local British Council website and institutions’ own websites as well.

2. Check the eligibility criteria

Check the eligibility criteria carefully to make sure that you fit the scholar profile. Some eligibility requirements across different scholarships or bursaries, for example, will be the same. Pay attention to the details, and only spend time applying for things that you are eligible for and have a real chance of getting.

3. Consider timelines

Be organised. Keep on top of all of your deadlines, for funding, for courses, and even for visas. Plan ahead and make sure that you have all of the timelines in one place that makes sense to you so that you can meet all of the milestones that you have to. 

4. Write tailored applications for each scholarship

Lots of different universities have different questions and requirements when applying for scholarships so you can’t just copy and paste your application. Make a real effort to understand, in detail, the needs or the requirements of each university. This may take a little extra time in the beginning, but it will ensure that you have a really high-quality, tailored application which will increase your chances of receiving funding for your desired programme in the UK. 

 Be very honest about your motivations for studying that particular course in that particular institution. What interests you about them, and what would you want to do with your UK degree in the future? Think specific, and think ahead. People will notice.

5. Seek assistance before you submit

Wherever possible, seek out some trustworthy assistance in proofreading your application before you submit it. For some applicants this could be asking friends, or teachers. However, for those who do not have that kind of support network, you could - for example - reach out on LinkedIn to a current or former scholar from the universities you are applying to and ask them to read your application and give you any feedback.

6. 'Just go for it!'

Isabela Nieto from Mexico, a GREAT scholar who is currently doing her master’s in Political Economy at the University of Essex, said:

‘When I learned about the possibility of being a GREAT scholar I thought there was a very small chance that I’d get it. But I decided that if I didn’t try I would never know. The ‘why not?’ was my main driver. The no was already there, so I thought I might as well take my chances.’

She added:

‘It’s normal to think that there are many people who are more deserving of certain opportunities and certain awards but you might be surprised. [Scholarships] can open doors that we never imagined existed. So, just go for it. And, if you don’t get exactly what you’re looking for there are always other options and different ways to meet our goals. Things happen when we push for them.'

Find out more about UK scholarships on offer

GREAT Scholarships

GREAT Scholarships are scholarships to UK universities across a variety of subjects, for students from 18 countries. Applications for 2023/24 open October 2022.

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships offers fully funded master's degrees in the UK. Learn more about one of the UK's most prestigious scholarships.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Commonwealth Scholarships are UK university scholarships given to talented individuals with the potential to make a positive impact on the global stage.

Study UK blog

Get a glimpse of student life in the UK from international students themselves. Discover UK culture, top tips, scholarships, graduate stories and more.