Resources for International Students

September 16th, 2021 by Al C

Female international student on campus

Many international students attend college or community college in the USA or go to a university or other higher education institution in Canada, the UK, Australia or many other countries around the world.

At IEFA we encourage students to broaden their horizons and take on the rewarding experience of an international education just like the estimated 5 to 6 million international students currently enrolled at universities in all four corners of the globe.

Some international students may feel they are isolated in their new country away from friends and family. However, this does not have to be the case! You can find communities of other international students, clubs and societies with common interests and the local community who will help you with the transition to your new country. Many international students actually report that the social life and extra curricular activities many colleges offer is even more valuable to them in their future careers than the quality education they receive compared to staying in their home country.

There are also plenty of resources specifically for international students – from housing, to scholarships and even financial assistance – whether you attend a small college or a large university overseas. You will have access to an international student advisor who can provide assistance and guidance to you before, during and often after you’ve completed your degree program. Many schools have dedicated support teams, or an international student office, who can help with any student visa questions foreign students might have, financial aid and advice on funding sources and access to financial resources.

I hope that this article offers some helpful advice on what people need when they first come over to a different country; don’t be afraid or shy! If you ever need any help please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

International Students

International student on campus

International students, or foreign students, are individuals who choose to do all or part of their post-secondary education in another country and relocate there for the explicit purpose of study. Most international students (more than 40% of all international students around the world) study at colleges and universities in just four destination countries – The U.S., The U.K., Canada and Australia.

Requirements

Many countries require prospective international students to complete standardized tests to demonstrate language competence in the language of instruction or the main spoken language in that country. Students who do not have the required level of language to enter onto their chosen degree program may be able to take a Pathway Program at many colleges and universities. Pathway programs allow students to develop their language skills before proceeding onto their chosen degree programs.

Requirements will also vary depending on your chosen academic studies – whether you’re enrolling for undergraduate study or pursuing a graduate degree.

Student Visas

A student visa is one of the required documents for enrolment for many students. The exact student visa requirement will vary depending on the destination country, length of program and many other factors. Your chosen college or university will be able to give you the latest advice on whether student visas are required or not – for example for a short course of less than 6 months in Canada may not require a study visa as the course can be completed in the time allowed for many temporary visitor visas. Talk to the admissions office or international student office for guidance.

Financial Resources

Living expenses, travel, tuition fees, having a social life… the costs of your education soon add up. Of course this is great for a country’s economy! It does mean that you may have to demonstrate that you have the resources to pay for the total cost of your education in that country in order to be granted your student visa. If you will be studying in the U.S. then there is definitely a requirement to prove you can pay for your own education and living costs. You can do this by providing statements from your bank account, as well as information about whether you receive funding from other sources to pay for your education.

Isolation and homesickness

International students gathered

The feeling of homesickness can be very real for international students when they first study abroad. Most students go through a period of adjustment where they may feel very emotional and even want to return home.

It may feel like the people you meet don’t understand your culture, you miss your friends and family back home, or you can’t get used to the weather or find food that reminds you of home. It can be many things. But there are a number of ways for an international student to overcome homesickness:

  • Stay connected with people back home by sending them photos and updates on how things are going.
  • Socialize with other international students who are studying at the same university. This is a great way to get support, advice and make new friends that will be able to understand what you’re going through.
  • Join clubs or sports teams at your college or university – not only will it help you meet people, but you’ll have a great time doing it!
  • Make sure you’re eating well and exercising regularly. You’ll feel better about yourself and be prepared to take on the day with energy.
  • Get enough sleep! If you don’t, it’s going to be harder for you to face each day with positivity.
  • Use the support offered by your university – the international students’ office, counselling services, social and recreational clubs as well as your teachers, lecturers and support staff you interact with every day – they are there to help you get the most out of your education.

There are also plenty of resources specifically for international university students-from housing, to scholarships and even financial aid information, we have it all covered here!

International Financial Aid Resources

International Scholarships

As well as the IEFA international scholarship database you can also search internationalscholarships.com and speak to the advisors at your college or university as there may be some specific financial aid available for you. Many organizations and top universities offer financial and other aid to support talented students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access higher education at home or abroad.

You can set up a free account to use IEFA here.

International Student Loans

Many international students simply cannot afford to study abroad with only their own income and family support. Even after securing scholarships, awards and grants there can still be a gap between the funds available and the costs.

If this is the case most international students on graduate programs or in their final 2 years of their undergraduate studies at many Canadian or American universities may be eligible for international student loans.

Loans for U.S. permanent resident students abroad are also available (and Stafford Loan funds can be used for study abroad, too). The majority of international students studying in other countries will struggle to find loans available to them.

International Student Resources at Your School

Study time for international student

Whether it’s advice on financial aid or support with on or off campus housing, your university has one or more departments dedicated to getting you the advice and resources you need as an international student. Your education, happiness and welfare is their number 1 priority.

You will have access to

  • Financial Aid Office
  • International Student Advisors
  • Admissions Services
  • Housing and Accommodation
  • Cultural, Spiritual and Physical Wellbeing

Studying in the USA

Although the federal government doesn’t offer financial aid to those studying abroad in the USA, that doesn’t mean that there are no other funding sources. In fact, American colleges and universities are among the most generous in the world when it comes to offering international student financial aid in the form of tuition waivers or discounts as well as scholarships based on financial need, academic merit or athletic ability.

Studying in other countries

Wherever you are studying the advisors at your school or university should be your first port of call for any questions or concerns you have along your international student journey, from admissions requirements right through to job prospects and careers advice after graduation.


International Student Financial Aid: What You Need to Know

August 23rd, 2021 by Al C

international students studying

The cost of international education can be a difficult thing to bear for many people and their families without financial assistance. But what about international students who come from outside the United States? International financial aid is available, but it may not be presented in the same way for international students as it is for domestic students

Here are some important aspects of financial aid that international students wishing to study abroad should know about before applying – fees, how to apply and more!

Financial Aid is available for international students

Many international students are hesitant to apply to study abroad because they don’t have many financial resources and expect it to be unaffordable. However, not all expenses are born by the student – there are many financial aid options for international students including scholarships or a student loan.

In the U.S. international students may not be eligible for Federal student aid, but funding such as scholarships are available for a wide variety of fields of study. Some of them may require you to commit to certain countries or regions.

If you’re looking for a scholarship that does not restrict your study choices, there are also scholarships offered by individual states as well as federal scholarships.

How to apply for financial aid as an international student

Applying for financial aid as an international student depends on various factors, but most importantly the source of the funding.

If you’re applying through your school’s financial aid office, you’ll need to fill out the appropriate paperwork. This is the most common way for international students to apply.

If you’re applying directly through a federal or state agency, however, it may be necessary to go in person to their specific offices – sometimes even abroad!

And if you’re applying through a private or independent scholarship provider, you may need to apply directly through their website – there’s no standard application.

This is all part of the reason why it’s so important that international students start planning for financing early!

What you need to know about financial aid before applying

Before you apply, make sure you know the following:

– Whether or not your school offers scholarships specifically for international students. If not, ask if they partner with any external scholarship providers that do!

– Your total cost of attendance. This includes tuition as well as fees and more; it’s important to remember that just because tuition is cheaper doesn’t mean that it’s less expensive for international students once you factor in all of the other costs associated with attending that school.

– Any terms or conditions associated with the funding, such as maintaining a certain GPA, enrolment status or, if applicable, repayment terms.

– Any restrictions associated with the funding, such as specific majors or areas of study or even countries

international scholarships are available

While applying for financial aid can be a lot of work, and the logistics may seem frustrating, it’s important to remember that this is all part of the application process. The more you know about how much money you’re going to need, your options for getting it and the requirements associated with both funding sources and financial aid before committing to a program, the easier everything else will be.

Funding sources

There are many different sources of funding including:

  • The school or university you are attending
  • Official government programs in your destination country
  • Official government programs in your home country
  • Private sponsors
  • Loans
  • Study and work programs
  • Graduate opportunities that are funded

The cost of your higher education

When it comes to studying abroad, the price of tuition and other fees can add up quickly. You should also keep in mind that the cost of living in your host country could in fact be much higher compared to what you’re used to.

What can you do?

There are many ways for you to finance your study abroad program, so don’t get discouraged! Start saving early and keep track of where your money comes from throughout the entire process. This will help you keep a clear idea of what you have left to go, and how long it’s going to take you get there.

Students with undergraduate degrees can usually apply for fellowships, research grants or internships. They can also look into any available student loans, scholarships offered by their home country or even participating in the Erasmus+ program.

Graduate students may find it easier to get sponsorship or funded courses that include teaching or research.

The most important thing is to do your research to make sure you know about all the costs you can expect to encounter and all the funding possibilities out there.

Working while studying abroad

Even if you’re planning to only study abroad for a short period of time, it may be possible to find a part-time job in your host country to help support yourself financially. It’ll require some planning, but having at least one source of income can make things easier.

If you’re considering working abroad then make sure that your student visa allows this.

Get help from your school’s financial aid office

an international student loan may be an option

Your school’s office of financial aid office is going to be the most up-to-date source of information on financing your study abroad experience.

Additional resources

Find scholarships IEFA.org

Find international student loans at InternationalStudentLoan.com

If you’re an international student looking to finance your higher education, it’s important that you know about all of the various options available and what they entail. For example, if your country has a scholarship program for their citizens studying abroad then make sure to apply! Your home government might also have some programs in place that can help subsidize tuition costs or offer additional funding opportunities such as fellowships. If not, don’t worry- many schools partner with external organizations who provide scholarships specifically for international students. You should always research these before committing to a school so you’ll know which ones are worth applying for and which aren’t- especially since there is often more than one option per organization.


What is the Gilman Scholarship?

August 17th, 2021 by Al C

Gilman Scholarship Program takes you around the world

Do you want to study in an English-speaking country for your undergraduate degree? Have you considered the Gilman Scholarship? The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program sends students to college abroad, providing up to $5,000 per year for tuition and fees. This scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as well as the Institute of International Education (IIE).

If you are interested in applying, here are a few things that you should know about this great opportunity!

What is the Gilman program?

The Gilman Scholarship program is a part of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). It offers scholarships to students who want to study abroad for their undergraduate degrees. The scholarship fund also offers a variety of grants and internships that will help students study or conduct research in the field of international affairs.

The IIE acts as the administering organization for the program. There are three types of Gilman international scholarship:

  • The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
  • The Gilman Undergraduate Research Awards program (UGRA)
  • The International Education Exchange Programs (IEEP)

Each scholarship offers several benefits to the recipients and to the colleges and universities that participate.

Who is eligible for the Gilman Scholarship program?

Students can be high school seniors or college students. If you are a high school senior, you must rank in the top 25% of your class and also have an SAT score above 1200 or an ACT score of 24 in order to apply.

College students must be enrolled at least part-time at their undergraduate institutions. They must also have a full course load and be in good academic standing. If you are currently studying abroad, you will not qualify for the scholarship unless your institution is one of the approved host schools.

How do I apply?

You can apply online on or after October 1st of each year. Official transcripts and applications are required to be submitted by December 1st of every year (the earlier the better). You will also need two reference letters from teachers, university administrators, or employers.

Application deadlines vary from December 1st to April 15th of each year.

Check the website for more details on the application process, eligibility requirements, and any recently added instructions or policies.

How hard is it to get the Gilman scholarship?

It is a highly competitive program. Since so many students want to participate in this amazing program, only a few will be selected as a recipient. This is why you should start working on your application early!

You can also improve your chances by having strong SAT or ACT scores and ranking in the top 25% of your class. Because most applicants have excellent academic records, you will also need strong letters of recommendation and a well-written application. You should already have your reference letter writers lined up before you begin writing your essays for the application process.

How much is the Gilman Scholarship program worth?

Gilman scholars are awarded up to $5000 per year. Recipients may use these funds at any participating university in an approved country.

There are two other types of scholarships that you can apply for through the Gilman program: the Gilman UGRAs and the International Education Exchange Program (IEEP) Awards. These differ from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which is the most popular type of scholarship awarded by this program.

The UGRAs offer a wide variety of awards for students who want to carry out research in foreign countries. The purpose of these grants is to fund projects that are related to international affairs or business interests between the United States and other countries. The IEEP also offers to fund to students who wish to participate in a study abroad program for academic purposes.

How does it help undergraduate students?

It’s a great opportunity for those who want to study abroad. It provides up to $5000 per year in financial aid for undergraduates who pursue academic, cultural, or professional enrichment programs abroad.

These funds help you finance any combination of tuition, books, room and board, airfare, visa fees, and other living expenses you need to complete your study abroad program.

It also provides a great opportunity for people who want to conduct research or interact with professionals in foreign countries. If you are interested in studying abroad but do not have the financial support you need, contact one of the program administrators at your school for more details on available awards and grants.

What can this funding be used for?

The funds you receive can be used for tuition, books, room and board, airfare, visa fees, and other expenses related to your educational programs abroad. It is up to the recipient to decide how they wish to use these funds.

You will have a better chance of being awarded the scholarship if you already have a clear idea of what you want to study or the field of research you wish to pursue while studying abroad.

The Gilman Scholarship also provides funding for undergraduate students who want to conduct research in foreign countries or interact with professionals in international relations. If you are interested in pursuing a career related to international affairs, you can request a grant from an organization such as The United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

How does the U.S. Department of state help students?

The Department of State helps students with the Gilman Scholarship by providing $1 billion in funding for all types of grants and scholarships to international students. Of this amount, about $500 million is provided each year for undergraduate and graduate students through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

If you are a current high school student bound for college, the Department of State can help you finance your education. You can apply for funding by following a few simple steps to find out if you qualify and how much money you might receive from the Department of State’s scholarship program.

In Conclusion:

The Gilman scholarship is a great example of how low-income students can get the chance to go abroad and experience new cultures, languages, and ideas. It provides funding for international travel while also teaching them about other parts of the world they may not have been exposed to otherwise. You can find out more information on this scholarship at https://www.gilmanscholarship.org/


Proof of Funds for your F-1 International Student Visa

July 15th, 2021 by admin

Flag over US Embassy for Proof of Funds to study in the US

Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of schools and confirmed admissions, the next step is to apply for an F-1 international student visa to get authorization to study in the US.

All prospective foreign students are required to demonstrate that they have the financial capability to support him or herself while studying in the US. This includes covering tuition and fees, living expenses, and any dependents – without working during your studies.

Proof of Funds

To meet the Proof of Funds requirement for your F-1 visa, you will either need to present proof of funds for yourself or do so through a sponsorship (such as a relative financially backing your education). It is important that you check directly with the consulate as this may vary by country and agency, but here are some general considerations and documents you should bring during your visit.

Proof of liquid assets

The consulate will want to see that you are able to cover your education and living expenses. While there are generally no specific documents that prove this, there are some commonly used documents that help support proof of funds including:

  • Original tax returns from the last three years (Form 16)
  • Three years of bank records and/or fixed deposit statements of your sponsor (which can also be your parent)
  • Pay slips, employment letters
  • Chartered accountant statements
  • Scholarships (which should be indicated on your I-20)
  • Property documents

The US government is concerned more with liquid assets such as savings accounts and checking accounts since they want to ensure that you have easy access to these funds. Investments with fluctuating values and property deeds are not generally recommended as proof of funds. The embassy is looking to see that you have immediate funds to cover the first-year costs of your education and that you’ll have access to funds for the following years needed to complete your degree.

Original Documents in English

Additionally, it is important that all of your documents are original, in English (or an official translation attached), and official. Your bank documents should be on bank letterhead with the name of the account holder, account number, and the total amount of funds indicated on the forms.

Sponsorship

If you are planning to study in the US but do not have sufficient funds, you can have a sponsor support you instead. Many international students have a sponsor, such as a family member, to help cover their educational expenses. Sponsors can be located inside or outside the US.

There are a lot of available scholarships that are designed specifically for international students. You can search for the latest listings of international scholarships.

All you have to do is to make sure that you are eligible for the scholarship. Some of the requirements are having the right positive attitude in school and towards one’s future career, the willingness to excel in his or her academics, and many more.

Affidavit of Support Form

If the student is sponsored by a US citizen, they would need to complete the I-134 Affidavit of Support Form that requires the sponsor to cover any expenses that the student cannot afford.

If the student is sponsored with funds outside the US, then the embassy would check to see if there are any fund transfer restrictions from the specified country. If there are any restrictions, the student must be equipped with evidence that the student will be able to access these funds during the period of study.

Consulate and Embassy

The final determination of sufficient proof of funds is determined by the consulate or embassy. Even if you provide these documents they can still deny the student visa. Be sure to check with your school and consulate to make sure you have all the proper forms necessary when arriving for your F-1 student visa interview.

Also make sure that you are prepared to answer all of the questions in the interview in the best way possible. Be eloquent, explain things clearly and in a straightforward manner, and always be at your best form. Doing these and matching it with your complete documents gives you a higher chance of being accepted for an F- Visa.

*Please note: you should always confirm he latest requirements with official sources as they can change and this article may not reflect the latest changes.


How to write a scholarship essay

June 21st, 2021 by Al C

We don't recommend using a typewriter for your scholarship essay

With the increased cost of college tuition, students often need to apply for grants and scholarships in order to pay their way through school.

There are scholarships and grants for everyone from recent graduates to first-generation college students – even if you’re still a high school student.

Most scholarships require more than just good test scores. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to win one of these awards, read on. The scholarship application process usually includes an essay question that the scholarship committee will ask you to answer.

Scholarship applications can be stressful for students – especially international students. The worst part is that applicants don’t always know what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. This takes skill and preparation (and some good luck!).

Read this blog before you start writing – it will give you lots of tips that will help you write a great essay, so that your chances of winning the scholarship increase dramatically!

Writing a Winning College Scholarship Essay

Great scholarship essays show the real person behind the application and this could be what gives you the edge over the competition (as long as you meet the other criteria for the scholarship).

Scholarship Essays

Scholarship essays are like college admission essays. They have a lot in common and they are similar in the way that you write them. Prospective students applying for scholarships are in competition with each other, as many will have good grades and great prospects. Your essay is a great chance to distinguish yourself from other applicants.

When applying for a scholarship, it is important to write an essay that the committee will notice. The committee will receive many, many versions of the same essay. All of these similar essays will blend together – in other words, you need to stand out by writing an attention-grabbing story in a unique voice.

These are some tips to think about when writing your essay:

Scholarships are not always based purely on grades, so it is important to mention what makes you strong outside of academics.

It is best to find a scholarship related to your academic or future career goals.

One way to make sure your essay meets the requirements of each scholarship competition is to do some research on which type of essay it requires.

How to write a winning scholarship essay – scholarship essay tips

It’s not enough just to know what you want to write about. You also need to meet any given requirements and develop a plan for researching the topic before starting on your essay.

Scholarship Essay Instructions

Make sure to read the scholarship essay instructions fully

Before you start working on your essay, make sure to take a moment to read the instructions and fully comprehend what is required of you. If it’s not clear, then look over them one more time until you have all of the information that you need. Do not start writing until everything is clear in your mind. If you have any questions about the essay, contact the scholarship committee and ask for instructions. This shows that you are serious about the essay prompt and will not make you look worse than if you did nothing at all.

Pay attention to the prompt and be sure you maintain focus on that

When reading the prompt, make sure to read it carefully several times and try to understand what is being asked. Scholarship prompts typically ask a variety of similar themes, such as how receiving the scholarship or gaining your degree will change your life. A good way to start the essay would be figuring out which specific question the prompt is asking you.

You should also avoid adding anything unrelated to the prompt. You should be able to talk about the specific topic in-depth. Stay focused on the prompt when writing your essay.

If you can, choose a topic that you are interested in

You’ll create better work and be more expressive if you care about what you’re writing. You may get to choose the topic of your scholarship essay for some applications.

So if you have a choice, choose a topic that you are passionate about. This should make it easier to write your scholarship essay without having to do more work.

If the prompt is asking for your past, present or future goals and aspirations (or something else), it’s best to tie those into how receiving this scholarship will change what you’re able to do.

If you make your writing from your heart, it will be more meaningful.

Avoid Negative Topics

Don’t do essays that are about negative things. That’s not good to read or write.

Scholarship program administrators are most impressed with essays that inspire and give hope, shed light on overlooked problems, or tell stories of overcoming great obstacles.

Don’t be shy

Who are you? What makes you special? This is your chance to talk about what you want to say that you couldn’t say in other parts of the application. When you tell the story of your own life in a scholarship application or essay, it will seem more real to the people reading it.

Spelling and grammar are important

People notice mistakes in grammar. Even small mistakes can distract a reader from your message, and nailing the spelling and grammar in your scholarship essay shows your writing ability and attention to detail. This includes good sentence structure and a wide vocabulary throughout your entire essay.

Proofreading your essay is crucial to submitting an application that will be in with a chance of winning.

Stick to the word count

stick to the word count in your essay

When you write a scholarship essay, the prompts usually tell you how many words (or characters) to use, so follow instructions and stick to the rules. You would be surprised how many applicants go over the word count, and despite submitting a well written scholarship essay, they make a bad first impression by sending something in that doesn’t meet the scholarship requirements.

You may not know what 250 words looks like. It’s hard to tell. As a general guide, you need to write 250 words for one typed page (double spaced). That means you need to write 500 words for two pages and so on. Microsoft Word and Google Docs both have functions to show you your word count.

You can’t go over the word or character limit. If you do, you may be disqualified. You do not need to write an essay that exactly hits the limit, but it is good to come close.

It’s easy to think that when you write more than the word limit, people will think you are working harder, have put in extra effort, and are therefore more deserving of the scholarship money. In truth, the people reading your essay care about how well you follow directions as much as they care about a well written essay.

For a great scholarship essay, do some research

What do you know about the organization awarding this scholarship? Look them up online. Learn about why they are offering the scholarship and their mission statement.

Learn about the award provider’s mission and objectives. As you write your scholarship essay, think about the point of the company’s mission and what it is they are looking for in a successful candidate. Then share a story from your life that demonstrates how passionate you are for the organization or cause.

Many scholarship providers also showcase previous winning scholarship essays on their websites. You can see what a winning essay looks like and learn from their experience. Studying other scholarship essay examples will give you many ideas about what to write in your personal statement, how to create your essay’s introduction and a really good understanding of the scholarship essay format you should use.

Start the essay writing process early

Time management is key when applying for scholarships. Plan ahead to ensure you have the proper time available and be sure to check deadlines and requirements.

Give yourself plenty of time to come up with a thought-provoking essay. Take the time to brainstorm ideas, compile an outline, and edit your entry thoroughly just like you would for any assignment.

It is best to do your work before the deadline. That way you have time to make sure that it is good and you can fix anything if it needs to be fixed. When you finish writing the essay, leave a few days before you edit it. You’ll have a better chance of finding errors and places for improvement if you do not edit it right away.

Here are some scholarship essay tips:

Make sure you have a good introduction

Introduce the essay with a strong introduction or “hook.” Try to make your first sentence engaging enough to grab your reader’s attention.

Introduction, body, conclusion – a classic framework. Start with an introduction. The introduction should tell the readers what you are going to say in your essay. Write a body that tells about the main idea of your essay. The body should have many details, sentences, and paragraphs to support your argument. Finish by writing a conclusion that tells the reader what you talked about in the body of your

New ideas should always start new paragraphs. Paragraphs should be short and concise for easy reading!

Try to tie up any open threads and bring your essay to a conclusion with a personal statement.

Be truthful

The most memorable essays are written with the utmost authenticity and are often built around a series of events that detail how these experiences have impacted your life. Remember, you do not need to embellish or make up details to try to seem more deserving for the scholarship money.

Show, don’t tell

This is the most important tip for writing an essay. Instead of just explaining how you feel, try to paint a vivid picture through your words. For example: instead of saying that I’m really stressed at work and school, illustrate what stress looks like to you – late nights studying and forgetting to shower for days?

Keep it concise

Clear, specific and concise writing is one of the best tips for a solid scholarship essay. 

Providing a compelling and concise essay is challenging, but necessary. Employing simple language with specifics and vivid imagery will help you do just that.

Write about resilience

Use your life experience in your scholarship essay

Scholarship essays are rigorous and require a lot of thought. Often, the essay will ask you to write about an important issue in your life that required you to be very resourceful when solving it, or a specific hardship you have overcome.

Many applicants make the mistake of writing more about their struggles with overcoming obstacles and not giving much insight into how they actually accomplished it.

One of the most important components for crafting a worthy scholarship essay is to focus on one event that has influenced or had an impact on your life. If you have experienced many different adversities throughout your life, it can be hard to narrow down which one to focus on.

However, by choosing a central theme you will be able to provide a more concise, coherent essay and will be able to tell the story of overcoming your obstacles in greater depth.

Use a professional tone, but also show who you really are

Instead of using overly colloquial language, focus on professionalism. But don’t be too formal – this is still your essay! Just keep readers interested by being yourself and sounding like you instead of trying to sound stuffy or formal.

Balance humility and pride

Your scholarship essay is the place to share your accomplishments and backstory, but don’t just list all of your virtues in an effort to prove that you deserve a scholarship. It’s important to strike a balance between being humble and proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Avoid these common errors

don't make these mistakes

Now that you have a general sense of how to approach your essay, let’s review what we should avoid mentioning.

Generic inspirational quotes

By all means put quotes on social media. Or on your desk. But for a scholarship essay, you should not use them.

Instead, include advice or wisdom you’ve been given from the people who are important to you. Doing this will add a personal touch and give readers insight into what motivates you.

Platitudes, cliches and meaningless phrases

Be original. Don’t paint the same picture as everyone else when you’re applying for scholarships.

Platitudes are common phrases that people use all the time. For example, “Good things come to those who wait.”

Try not to use them in scholarship essays because you will sound like everyone else if you do.

Cliches are overused phrases or stories that no longer have any power or meaning. If you want to write a great scholarship essay, don’t use any clichés.

Swearing 

Sounds obvious, right? You’d never even think of doing this in a scholarship essay, would you? You’d be surprised at how many people actually do – and it can cost them the scholarship! 

Try to avoid any swear or curse words, even if you hear others use them frequently in mainstream media or TV shows. 

It’s unlikely that you will offend anyone, but be safe rather than sorry.

Use a thesaurus to find new exciting words and paint vivid imagery of your experience.

Txt spk and emoji

Avoid emojis and text speak in your essay

While you may be accustomed to using abbreviations and acronyms in daily conversations, keep them out of your scholarship essays.

The scholarship essay is one of the best places to showcase your writing skills, so it’s important that you write in a formal style unless otherwise directed.

Avoid using slang and informal language in your essay. Keep it professional and academic but also personal. A scholarship committee is looking for a special person with unique qualities.

The same goes for emoji. Keep them out of your scholarship essay! ;p

Trending topics

Don’t address a currently trend, controversial topic unless the essay prompt asks you to. A winning scholarship essay will be about you and your experience, not the latest trending topics. 

It’s ok if you touch on these ideas as part of your essay, but not as the main theme.

The most compelling essays often deal with personal subject matter rather than popular topics.

DO take a strong stance on causes that you care about and show how winning this scholarship will help you continue fighting for them if appropriate, though. A critical thinker will stand behind something they can argue for convincingly.

Writing scholarship essays requires following the prompt and avoiding unrelated points. 

Photos, and fonts

Don’t make your scholarship essay a visual project. Keep it professional. You want people to read it without getting lost in all the pictures and fonts.

If you there are no formatting instructions, when uploading your essay to an application, use Times New Roman font and size 12.

If you copy-paste your essay into the text box on an application site, this will format your content for you.

Ensure that your writing follows all formatting requirements for headers and footers, margins, and single- or double-spacing.

Extreme statements

Scholarship essays should not only consist of extreme perspectives. Avoid unnecessary pessimism about the future and strong stances on irrelevant issues. 

If the prompt asks you about a problem facing the world today, you can answer by focusing on the hope for the future and the possibilities to overcome the issue. Many scholarship essays focus too much on the problem and not enough on the solution.

Criticism of other applicants

It is not okay to say that someone else – like another applicant – is less deserving of financial aid than you are. Scholarship committees really frown on this as a practice. You can tell the committee why you are deserving of the scholarship money without putting any other applicant down.

Your life story

Every scholarship essay needs to be focused and concise, so it is important to remember that you only have limited space. It can be tempting to write a lot about your life, but stay focused on the prompt given.

So while the story of your life may well be worth writing about, you probably can’t do it within the word limit set, and it almost certainly won’t meet the brief in full.  

You can choose to focus on one period of time, or one important event in your life that will allow you to write your essay and show a different perspective from all the other applicants. 

Essay Writing Process

Scholarship essay writing process

Understanding how to write a scholarship essay can be difficult, but we’re here to give you some help.

Idea generation or brainstorming

Many students just dive straight into writing their essay. But if you want yours to really stand out, you should start thinking, planning and generating ideas before you begin writing.

Think about the essay prompt. Start to think of what you want to write about to address it fully.

To ensure that your idea fits with the prompt and communicates what you are trying to say, brainstorming is necessary. As you think of ideas, write them down as bullet points or notes on paper.

Outline

An outline is a useful tool to help you avoid structural mistakes, omission, repetition and fluff in your scholarship essay.

Your outline is like a complete answer to the essay prompt but without any of the detail.

As you write the full version of your essay you will have all the space you need to expand on what you’ve decided on in your outline.

Structure

The outline can help you structure your scholarship essay properly.

Your outline should allow you to see that you have answered the prompt, and done so in a logical order such as:

An introduction that sets out your ideas for the essay

Explanations that support the ideas you raised

A conclusion that summarises your points and wraps up the essay

Write

Once you’ve drafted your article and outlined its key points, you can begin writing the piece for real. Be sure to follow your outline and check it for anything you may have missed while drafting.

Try to be succinct, avoid rambling on about unrelated topics and make your point quickly and clearly.

If the scholarship doesn’t mention a maximum essay length, a good rule of thumb is that your essay should be around one full page long.

Take 5 (or longer)

Take a break!

When you’ve completed a first draft of your essay, stop for a little while. Take a break by getting outside for some fresh air or going for a short walk. This will give you time to take in your own work and get some perspective on it.

When you return from your break, the essay will seem clearer in your mind than before. If possible, wait until the next day to come back to your essay. Continuing to edit it fresh in your mind will help you make any final revisions.

Editing

With a fresh set of eyes on your scholarship application essay you may notice things that you want to change, add or remove. Is there a better way to say something? Do you need to elaborate more on a certain part? Is there something that doesn’t make sense?

You also need to look out for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and typos.

When revising your essay, you should always ask yourself if there is a better way to express what you want to say. Are any of the sentences not necessary? Could they be shortened or rewritten? Is it clear how this section connects with another?

If you find that you’ve repeated the same words too often, you try to vary your language. It will make reading and understanding your essay easier for a reader who is not familiar with what you’re trying to say.

Tools such as Grammarly can help find errors in writing, so it’s a good idea to check your work there before submitting anything or sending off your application.

Format

Once you’re happy with the content it’s time to format your essay by following the instructions provided in the brief.

If no specific instructions are given, then our advice is to use a standard 12 point font like Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Courier, or Georgia font.

Double spacing is a standard requirement for many scholarships.

It is also important to use a ‘Title Page’ and include the following information: name, address, year of study, current course(s), email address.

Ask someone to read your essay

It can be hard to be objective when reviewing your own work. That’s why you should ask someone else to read through it before you submit.

Ask them what they think about your writing, and if the essay presents all of the main points that were requested in a clear way.

If there are any gaps then ask them for ideas so that everything is well-balanced.

Ideally someone who has experience with reading essays would be the best person – someone like a teacher or counsellor. But really anyone like a friend or family member will do here because their perspective will be different than yours.

Take their advice and update your essay not submit your essay until you have made the requested changes.

This will give you an edge and help ensure greater success!

Don’t quit!

If you get tired, rest but don’t give up. Writing a scholarship essay is not an easy task, but if you break it down it is manageable. If you need more money to be able to afford to study abroad then winning some extra financial aid in the form of scholarships could make all the difference to your financial stability in college.

We hope that you’ve learned something new about how to write a scholarship essay in our article. Now it’s over to you…

Good luck!

Do you have any other scholarship essay tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Find your scholarship here.


Study in Spain as an International Student

May 24th, 2021 by Al C

International Student in Spain - Barcelona
Study in Barcelona

Studying abroad is a great way to experience new cultures, meet people from all over the world and learn about different perspectives on life.

Studying in European countries can be a life-changing experience. Especially if your’e planning to study at a Spanish university.

Studying in Spain as an international student can be a hugely rewarding experience because it is a country with so much to offer. However, in order to stay for more than three months, you’ll need a student visa for Spain.

Studying abroad can be intimidating and scary at first but once you’re there it’s easy to get into the swing of things.

Read on if you want some tips about studying in Spain.

Spain

Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula and neighbors countries like France, Portugal and Andorra. Spain is no doubt a beautiful country with a rich history and diverse culture. Spain is famous for its architecture, food, and wonderful climate. Spanish cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Valencia are famous around the world. Also, if you are a fan of Soccer, you will be able to enjoy the world-famous Spanish Football League La Liga. Visitors to Spain will also enjoy its rich culture, such as Flamenco and Gaudí architecture.

Spain is a beautiful country with a diverse climate, food and welcoming people, so it’s no wonder that international students are flocking to this country in droves to study abroad!

Spain has a large number of universities including both private and public universities. Many Spanish universities are hugely famous among international students and have good rankings as well. Universities like the University of Barcelona, the Complutense University of Madrid, and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid rank among the top international universities. These are just some of the universities you should consider if you are looking to study in Spain.

There is no better place than Spain to get a degree in Spanish language. Many universities also offer degrees for foreign students who prefer a course delivered in English.

If you are thinking about getting an MBA degree as an international student, Spain would be the place for you. Because three of the top colleges for MBA in Europe are located in Spain and they are IESE Business School, IE Business School, and Esade Business School. 

Average Living Cost and Tuition Fees in Spain

Spanish Market
Spanish Market

The living cost varies from location to location. Cities like Madrid and Barcelona have a high living cost. And on the other hand, cities like Granada, Valencia have a lower cost. So depending on your budget, you can choose a place to live in.

The good news for international students who study in Spain is that the cost of living is generally quite affordable there.

You can find excellent quality food at very reasonable prices in Spain. There are many inexpensive stores where you can buy fashionable clothes at an affordable price.

Even transportation costs are more reasonable than other European countries. It won’t be hard for you to travel wherever you live – no matter where and when, including exploring the rest of the country.

Universities in Spain are also cheaper than in many other European countries. The average tuition fees of a Bachelor’s degree are around 550 EUR to 3,500 EUR per year and for a Master’s degree is around 750 EUR to 4,000 EUR per year. That makes Spain one of the cheapest destinations for international students. However, the private colleges set their own rates according to their facilities. Private colleges charge around 10,000 EUR to 25,000 EUR per year. 

Top 5 Spanish Universities for International Students:

University of Barcelona:

The University of Barcelona holds the no. 1 ranking in Spain and one of the finest colleges all over Europe. The University of Barcelona was founded back in 1450, making it one of the oldest universities all over the world. The university consists of more than 100 departments, which are classified into 18 faculties and 2 schools. The 18 faculties are based on multiple subjects including Biology, Dentistry, Earth Science, Chemistry, Fine Arts, Education, Economics, Geography, Law, Math, Library Science, Medicine, Philology, Philosophy, Pharmacy, Psychology, and Physics. The University of Barcelona offers 75 Bachelor’s degrees, 353 Graduate degrees, and 96 Master’s degrees. 

International students pay around 3,500 EUR to 6,000 EUR per year depending on the course.

The University of Barcelona is a public university which ranks among the top 100 best colleges and universities in Europe. It has about 150,000 students enrolled from over 140 different countries making it one of the most diverse institutes for higher education in all of Europe. The Compl

Complutense University of Madrid:

The Complutense University of Madrid is one of the top universities all over Europe. It was founded back in 1293, making it one of the oldest universities around the world. The Complutense University of Madrid offers more than 90 undergraduate degrees, more than 170 postgraduate degrees, and more than 175 Master’s degrees. All the courses are taught in mostly Spanish. However, the Complutense University of Madrid also has English programs for international students. It offers subjects such as Arts and Humanities, Science, Medical Science, Social Science, Law, Engineering, Business Management, etc.

International students pay around 3,000 EUR to 9,000 EUR per year depending on the course.

University of Navarra:

The University of Navarra is one of the best universities in Spain for international students. It was founded back in 1952. The University of Navarra is located in Pamplona, Spain. More than 11,000 students study here and over 10% of them are from other countries. The university offers 35 Bachelor’s degrees, 32 Graduate degrees, and 38 Master’s degrees in both Spanish and English languages. Its main campuses are located in Pamplona and San Sebastian. However, its prestigious IESE Business School also has offices in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, Munich, and Sao Paulo. It offers courses such as Engineering, MIM, MBA, MArch, etc. 

International students pay around 3,300 EUR to 8,500 EUR per year depending on the course.

University of Granada:

The University of Granada is the 4th largest university in Spain. It also hosts a large number of international students each year. It was founded back in 1531. it is also one of the most significant universities in Europe in terms of its historical importance. The University of Granada offers more than 89 Bachelor’s degrees, 100 postgraduate degrees, and 28 doctoral courses programs. The University of Granada has a wide range of courses including biology, biochemistry, food science, environmental sciences, statistical sciences, mathematics, dentistry, etc.

International students pay around 2,300 EUR to 7,500 EUR per year depending on the course.

University of Valencia:

The University of Valencia is one of the most popular colleges all over Europe. It was founded back in 1499. The university now offers degrees in sciences, engineering, health sciences, humanities, education, and social, economic, etc. It has 18 faculties, schools, and 19 interdisciplinary research institutes. The University of Valencia offers more than 50 bachelor programs, 110 master’s degrees, and 60 doctoral programs in both Spanish and English languages. 

International students pay around 3,500 EUR to 7,500 EUR per year depending on the course.

In Conclusion

Studying in Spain is an attractive prospect for many international students. The Spanish universities and colleges are highly valued among people looking to pursue a higher degree. Many affordable colleges are available and offer high-quality education.

Studying in Spain is an interesting and rewarding experience, but you should be sure to explore the country outside of your studies as well. There is so much to do and see in Spain that you won’t want to be stuck inside your classroom all day.

Studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime, and there are many reasons why people choose to study in Spain as international students.

If you’re studying in Spain and need additional funding, you should seek out a scholarship. Alternatively, if you are a US citizen in Spain, you may be able to apply for a loan.


Study at a University in Europe as an International Student

March 25th, 2021 by Al C

Student in Europe

When you plan to study abroad, considering a European university might be a great idea for your higher education. Some European universities are amongst the best public universities in the world. You will have a huge variety of subjects to choose from. Also, some European universities have lower tuition fees and the cost of living may be lower in Europe than you may find at home. Some European universities don’t even charge tuition fees at all, and many offer scholarships to attract non-EU students.

Germany and Italy are two of the most popular countries when it comes to international students studying abroad. The UK, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and France are hugely popular among international students as well.

Europe has a huge variety of cultures, is rich in history, mysteries, and many more things to explore. When you study at a European university you’ll get the chance to explore beautiful places, learn languages, and experience different cultures, visiting famous and historical monuments and sculptures. It will be the journey of a lifetime.

Now, when we talk about the educational benefits there are numerous reasons to study at a European university. Europe has some of the finest colleges in the world and you can study your undergraduate degree, master’s degree or postgraduate level program. You will have the benefits of low tuition fees and living costs, and a wonderful quality of life as well. You will have a multicultural environment to study, and most colleges offer English-taught programs, too.

Which European countries are best for international students?

When we talk about Europe, influential art, architecture, history, and culture are the most common things that come up in our minds. Every country has its own specialties. You can add a world-class education to this list, too. Even some universities and colleges are famous all over the world. Tuition fees are low compared to many other countries. Some colleges don’t even charge any tuition fees at all. Countries like Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and France are famous for their educational benefits and programs.

Germany

Germany is one of the best countries to study in Europe. Whether you choose to study in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, or any other German city, there are multiple colleges available for international students. German colleges are particularly famous for their Business and Management courses. They also offer all the other undergraduate and postgraduate courses you would expect as well.

The best part is, German public colleges don’t charge any tuition fees to international students. The only exception is the Federal State of Baden-Wurttemberg. There you might have to pay a tuition fee of $3,500 a year. But otherwise, german citizens and international students can study at German universities without tuition costs.

Italy

Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with many historic cities. Italy also welcomes thousands of international students every year. If you are interested in architecture, history, art and design or social studies, Italy is probably the best country for you.

Amongst the top most popular destinations, Italy is one of the cheapest countries. You can take advantage of low living costs, low annual tuition fees, excellent teaching, and a multicultural study atmosphere. You will also get the chance to visit beautiful cities and enjoy some of the world-famous Italian cuisine.

Italian colleges are also some of the cheapest for international students. The average cost of public universities for an undergraduate course is around $1,100-$5,000 per year and the cost for a postgraduate course is around $1,800-$6,000 per year. Private universities can charge up to $24,000 per year.

Spain

Spain is also famous for its rich history, beautiful environment, warm climate, and low cost of living. Spain also has some of the most prestigious universities in all of Europe. Madrid is famous for its wonderful social life but it is a relatively expensive city, however there are many alternatives.

Of course, Spain is a popular country if you are taking Spanish Language courses. Spanish universities are also well known for many other study programmes as well, such as Law, Arts, Humanities, Finance and Marketing, and many more. Spain has beautiful cities and places to explore.

For sports fans, La Liga is one of the greatest soccer leagues in the world. You can enjoy watching it with your friends at the weekends.

The average costs of tuition at public universities for an undergraduate programs is around $900-$2,500 a year and the cost for postgraduate studies is around $1,500-$5,500. The average living expenses in Spain would come to around $12,000-$16,000 per year.

France

France is arguably the most visited country in the world. France has countless things to explore. Cities like Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, and Marseille are some of the most famous cities in France. Symbols such as the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and The Cathedral of Notre Dame are some of the things that you can explore while you study in France.

French universities are world-renowned for quality education in Fashion Design, MBA, Sociology, Marketing, and Law.

The average cost of public universities for an undergraduate course is around $3,200-$5,000 a year and the cost for a postgraduate course is around $4,000-$7,000. On average costs of living in France are around $11,000-$16,000 per year.

Study in Europe as an American student abroad

Thousands of non-EU students, including American citizens, apply for degree courses, PhD level courses and exchange programs at Europe’s outstanding colleges and amazing universities every year. Because the average living costs and average tuition fees are low compared to back home – certain European countries are amongst the most affordable countries in the world to live and study in, making them an obvious choice for non-European students.

Foreign students are welcomed and there is a huge variety of courses available at world-class universities, making it a hugely popular study destination. There are plenty of options available for graduate and postgraduate students alike. Every country has its own advantages and specialties. Most offer English medium academic programs, so international and American students can easily understand all the classes.

Countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Germany, and the UK are some of the most famous destinations among American students.

American students who choose to study in European countries will have the journey of their lifetime. Thousands of historical places to visit, world-famous cuisines, multiple cultures, low living costs, and many more reasons. Europe has some of the top-ranked colleges as well. All the international colleges have either partial or full English taught programs for their international students.

Doing your master’s or bachelor’s degree in a European college is probably the best step if you choose to study abroad. With great academics and a multicultural environment, your life will be completely changed for good. You just have to make sure you carefully understand all terms and costs to study in European colleges.

Don’t forget that there are many funding opportunities for you if you are studying abroad. As an American citizen you should definitely fill out the FAFSA to gain access to federal funding for your university tuition fees. There are also private international student loans and many international scholarships for students that you can apply for at www.iefa.org/scholarships.


Can DACA students get a loan to pay for college in the US?

February 26th, 2021 by Al C

The DACA program was started in 2012 to allow undocumented children who came to the U.S. as immigrants a chance to stay and work in the country for two years.

Loans for DACA Students

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy initiated by President Obama in 2012 that allows certain undocumented immigrant youth, those who have come into America before their 16th birthday, with no criminal history and meet other requirements, to get temporary permission from deportation and be eligible for work permits. In 2017, then-President Trump tried unsuccessfully to end the program but has since rescinded his decision. The future of this program is still unclear; however, it remains one of Obama’s most significant legacies on immigration reform.

Who qualifies for a loan to pay for college in the U.S.?

The cost of tuition could be an obstacle for many in the pursuit of higher education. Thankfully, there are a number of private student loans to help fund your tuition costs! Student loans can provide up to the total cost of attendance at your school per year and you typically don’t have to start paying it back until 6 months after graduation.

Tuition is expensive. In fact, according to College Board’s 2017 report on Trends in College Pricing 1 out of every 10 college students drops out because they couldn’t afford their degree without putting themselves into debt. Fortunately, student loans might bridge the gap between what you earn at work or have in your savings and what your tuition costs.

Most college students with DACA status, like international students, can’t get federal loans.

The U.S Department of Education says that illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal student loans which includes those who have DACA status and work permits. In order to finance their college tuition, many DACA students will need private lenders or scholarships from colleges and universities they’re attending.

Schools can be expensive, so students might need a private loan to cover the cost. They’ll often need to provide a co-signer who has good credit and is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to qualify for this type of financing.

When it comes to loans for college, DACA students are often at a disadvantage because they may not have any credit history or have a poor credit score. However, this is not the case for all loans as some student loan companies have stepped up and offered to offer student loan options without cosigners.

When DACA students need a loan, they often do not have access to a co-signer who is willing or able to help them with their financial needs. However, there are new rules in place that allow these individuals to make an application for loans without needing a cosigner. The bill requires any loan request from someone with Deferred Action status must undergo additional screening before approval and does not guarantee acceptance.

DACA students may be able to get a loan or receive financial aid through their college’s financial aid office. Getting a loan is not the only way DACA students may be able to pay for their education. Some options include grants, scholarships, and paid internships.

How much can you borrow?

You may be able to borrow up to the full cost of your education, minus any other financial aid you are receiving in the form of grants and scholarships.

When does the borrower need to start paying back their loans?

When it comes to student loan payments, all lenders are different and have different repayment terms. After graduation there is usually a 6 month grace period where your payment is either nothing or is lower than the full monthly repayment amount.

What are the interest rates for DACA students?

You can confirm the actual rates with your lender before you agree to take out the loan. Make sure you understand the rate that applies to your product and whether it is a fixed or variable interest rate.

Here are some example rates:

These are examples only and you should check the current rates from your lender.

Graduate DACA students: 7.99% introductory rate ( 8.89% APR ), reduced to 6.49% ( 7.52% APR ) if you qualify for certain discounts.

Undergraduate DACA students: 9.99% introductory rate ( 10.91% APR ), reduced to 8.49% ( 9.56% APR ) if you qualify for certain discounts.

What are the requirements to get a loan as an undocumented student in the U.S.?

In order to qualify for a loan as an undocumented immigrant in the United States, you need to have a Social Security number and be eligible for employment.

Can I still go to college if I don’t have a Social Security number or driver’s license and am not eligible for federal financial aid?

You can still go to college without a Social Security number or driver’s license, but you will not be eligible for federal financial aid.

Can DACA students apply for the FAFSA?

If you’re in the DACA program and have received a Social Security number, you can complete your FAFSA. You’ll even get a Student Aid Report outlining your eligibility to receive nonfederal aid! The Department of Education suggests that you talk to your high school counselor and college financial aid office before filling out the FAFSA. You might live in a state with an alternative application for undocumented students, so it is important to research this option.

What about scholarships?

There are many scholarship opportunities for DACA and international students. You can find a list of scholarships at IEFA.org/scholarships


How to find an international scholarship in 2021

February 15th, 2021 by Al C

Whether you want to start your university or college journey, or further your studies beyond undergraduate level with a higher degree, an international scholarship program might be just the thing you need to make your dream of international education become a reality. An estimated $7.4 Billion is awarded in scholarship funds each year. That might seem like a lot, but less than 10% of scholars are lucky enough to benefit from a scholarship opportunity. It can therefore get quite competitive which is why this article will show you how to find international scholarships the right way.

International Scholarships Search

A scholarship is a financial aid gift that is awarded to someone for them to cover some of the costs of their education at university. There is no need to pay back the money the scholarship providers pay you. 

Thanks to technology and the wonders of the internet, it is now easier than ever to find scholarship programs to study abroad. There are a lot of scholarship opportunities available online that you can take advantage of. You could be searching scholarship sites today and by next month you could be on a flight to Sydney, Sao Paulo or San Francisco. 

Of course, it’s not an easy process, you have to put in the work. But if done right, you should have a fair chance of getting a college scholarship to put towards your tuition fees and education expenses.


1. Figure out what you want and plan for it first 

Planning is the key if you want to do anything right. This is also true if you want to go abroad and study. This is therefore the first step you should take on your scholarship search. 

One thing you will notice immediately when you start your search for scholarships is that they each come with different conditions. While some are micro – scholarships of just a few hundred dollars, others will pay for a full semester abroad, or you may even find full ride scholarships that essentially cover all of your expenses. Some look at your academic achievements, while others require you to have something special besides your grades. 

You should write a list of what you are looking for exactly. This is in terms of location or locations you’d like to study, majors or specific fields of study you are interested in, financial flexibility, culture diversity, and so on. This will make it easier for you to spot the most suitable offers, prioritize the most ideal options and allocate your time and efforts accordingly. 

You’d be surprised how many people miss great opportunities due to being disorganized. 

2. Do your research

Few opportunities come to you without you chasing them down in life. If you want to find the right academic scholarship, you should be ready to dig. There are more than 25,000 universities in the world and around 1.7 Million private scholarships that are awarded each year. Your job is to find the right scholarships and the institutions they can get you into. 

You can break this process into three sections; browser searching, social media searching, and direct inquiry. Google is very broad, so the best way to do your search is to start broad and narrow down to where what you’re looking for.

Broad searches

You can start with a simple “How to find international scholarships,” like you probably did to get to this article. Bookmark or save the offers that look interesting and actionable. 

From here you want to start searching for opportunities that are related to your interests like:

  • Scholarships for studying in USA OR,
  • Scholarships for Medicine students.

You also have to save any interesting offers along with their requirements. 

Specific searching

A detailed search is likely to give you the least options, but it will have the most relevant results. To get the best offers, you have to try thinking outside the box. For instance, Instead of just taking all results, use google and social media platform filters to refine your search. You can start by going to the scholarship search tool at  internationalscholarships.com for a start. They have helped thousands of students around the world so far. 

You can also take a shortcut by filtering your results. For instance, you can filter your results by date to find the most recent offers, considering that you will find the most recent scholarships for international students that haven’t yet been found by other applicants.

How to use google to find international scholarships

Direct inquiry

You can also get the answers you are looking for directly from the source. Through your research, you should be able to find a lot of contacts and connections. This allows you to directly call the institutions you find, contact the scholarship funders or education counselors, and build relationships with other people who managed to study abroad through scholarships. 

After all this, along with asking and searching the right queries, you should have a clear picture of what’s available, what the requirements are, and how it aligns with what you want personally. 

3. Apply as if your life depends on it

At this stage, you start writing your scholarship applications. This will probably take the most effort and time to do. This is where you’ll be writing, searching for documents, drafting and redrafting scholarship essays, and getting sleepless nights. 

As mentioned above, there are different types of scholarships for international students. Knowing each type will increase your chances of writing an application that convinces whoever is reading it. It’s easy for the administrators to tell when an applicant has done their research and when they haven’t. So make sure you write a separate application that is specific to each program.

Here is a brief breakdown of the main types of scholarship available each year:

  • Academic and merit-based scholarships

Based on your GPA (Grade Point Average) or other test scores such as the SAT, ACT or similar which you may have to take to qualify. The requirements will vary depending on the provider. 

  • Special Interest or Field-of-Study Awards

Based upon your chosen academic subject or sometimes a particular area of interest such as Arts or Drama

  • Need-Based Scholarships

These are awarded to students in the most financial need of assistance. 

You have to do your research on these as you can find grants and awards from institutions that are looking for someone like you already. Submit your applications in time and be sure to follow the application process to the letter. In-fact, just try to do everything way ahead of time so you don’t have to rush at the last minute. 

4. Stay alert for responses

My athletics teacher always said, “Even if you’re far ahead of the others, you’re not a winner before you cross the line.” 

Online meetings and communication

These days a lot of universities, colleges and sponsors like to see you or at least talk to you before they decide if you’re the right person and that you meet the eligibility requirements. Thousands of people might apply for the same funding as you, so award administrators are right to do their due diligence and make sure before a decision is made.

Sometimes they do background checks on social media. This means that you have to make sure all of your online profiles communicate the message in your application. You don’t have to start making big changes on your profile, but your application should not have information that can be easily contradicted. 

Quick responses

Always be on the lookout for replies that come in. This will help you to respond quickly. The last thing you want is to lose your chance because you responded too late. As they say – the early bird catches the worm.

5. Choosing an offer

If you get an offer – congratulations! If you get more than one offer and have to decide between them you’ve done a fantastic job of all the steps above! 

When choosing between options, you have to go back to the beginning and think about why you applied in the first place. Is there an offer that already aligns with what you were looking for?

For example, was there a specific international university you wanted to attend, or a particular experience you wanted to have? Maybe you had a specific goal or destination in mind. 

You need to do your research here as well. Talk to admission counselors, ask questions of your peers, find related institutes, contact the embassy for the country you want to go to, and get a full picture of all your offers. 

Once you have made a choice, don’t just ignore any other offers. Contact them to let them know that you are grateful and inform them that you have made other plans. After all, they were willing to help you. 

Good Luck!

The last piece of advice that I’ll give you is that going to a different environment and experiencing new things is amazing. Just make sure you don’t get too carried away and forget about your main priorities. Have a healthy balance between everything that you do. 

With all this, I’m sure you now have a clear picture of how to find international scholarships. 

All the best in your pursuit.


Stress-Free Budgeting: Tips for International Students

January 28th, 2021 by Al C

Yes, it can be stressful when you’re planning to study abroad. There are many perfectly understandable reasons to feel stressed or anxious. Tuition fees are high, you’ve got food costs, study materials, transportation, health insurance, and lots of other expenses. 

Even the currency exchange rate can be a concern.

When you don’t have enough financial means you might consider taking out a student loan. Paying back the student loan can add another layer of stress. But still millions of students can be found at international colleges every year. 

Students find ways to manage their financial situation and complete their education in international colleges.

Stress-Free Budgeting Live with ISI

Here are some budgeting tips for students who want to study abroad:

Tuition fees and other expenses:

The tuition fees are probably the most expensive thing you will face when you plan to study abroad. The yearly cost can reach up to five figures and for some private colleges it can even reach up to six figures (USD). The Financial Aid Office or Admissions Office at your college of choice will have up to date information about their tuition fees.

But tuition is not the only cost to consider, living abroad involves other expenses like transportation, phone bills, health insurance, food expenses, holiday expenses, accommodation and more. When we talk about the cost of accommodation, most colleges provide (or at least offer) dorm rooms to their international students. But you can still choose to live off campus — alone or with a group of people. The rental cost for private accommodation will depend on the location you choose to live in. 

It will be cheaper if you choose to live in a dorm. You can save money because you won’t have to pay for electricity, water, and internet bills as they will be included in the cost. You can also save money because you will be living on the college campus and therefore probably won’t have additional transportation costs. 

Part-time jobs:

Depending on your visa status you might be allowed to have a part-time job while studying. When allowed students can typically work for up to 20 hours a week during the semester and full-time during holidays and semester breaks. This could be a useful source of income to help you with your daily expenses.

Take advice from international student advisors:

Most international colleges have a dedicated advisory office for international students. They provide students the necessary advice so they can manage their experience — including their finances. They help students with budget plans, part-time job information, and other related information. It is a good idea to get their advice before making any decisions relating to your finances.

International student loans:

Although they might seem like a golden opportunity, remember that paying back your international student loans can cause stress and worry for some students. Getting an International student loan should usually be your last port of call for additional funds. We suggest you first look for financial aid and scholarships from schools and other sources. If you still find a financial gap after exhausting all the other sources, this is the time when international student loans come in handy. 

Summary: 

If you focus on your education and keep an eye on your budget, you’ll be able to enjoy completing your education at an international college. Try to avoid unnecessary expenses and focus more on savings. Here are a few examples of how you can save money: Use a bicycle to avoid transportation costs, try to cook your food at home rather than eating in a restaurant, so you can avoid food costs. Most importantly take advice from school advisors, they can assist you with your budgeting.

At the same time, look for ways to make the most of your time as a foreign student, take part in activities and explore your home away from home while you can.


IEFA logo
Thank you for visiting IEFA.org
Providing information about international financial aid & scholarships since 1998
2021 Envisage International Corporation
224 First Street, Neptune Beach, FL 32266