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How to Earn a Scholarship

scholarship tips

This article is sponsored by CQUniversity

Sometimes, a bit of extra study assistance can go a long way. If you are interested in earning a scholarship, we’ve put together some handy scholarship application tips to help you out.

1. Do your research – prepare and apply early!

Research intensely! Some scholarships ask for application essays on research topics, while others require academic portfolios – make sure to focus on the criteria and ensure you’ve met all the requirements. The earlier you research, the earlier you’ll be able to prepare, compile and submit your application – and the more organised you’ll appear!

2. Write to impress – tailor your application 

Research your audience. Become aware of the goals, values and aspirations of the organisations, institutions or academics sponsoring this scholarship. How well do you match up? Scholarship providers will want to know exactly if, and in what specific ways, you fit their criteria. Write with the judges in mind.

Remember, the committee will be reading countless applications from students just like you, studying similar degrees. Sure, you can meet expectations, but what about exceeding them? What factors make you more unique, driven or passionate about this specific scholarship over all the rest? Think outside the box and come up with some creative ways to demonstrate your suitability!

3. Engage in volunteer/extra-curricular activities

Why not volunteer, join a local sports team or start a university society?

Engaging in extra-curricular activities and/or community service is a fantastic way of gaining professional experience, enhancing your portfolio, demonstrating leadership/teamwork capabilities, and standing out. Plus, it’s a personally rewarding experience that benefits your community.

4. Assemble an academic portfolio

An academic portfolio is a collection of documents (electronic folders divided into sub-sections, curated websites, printed paper portfolios, and so on.) showcasing your individual academic record. It highlights your achievements, research activities, volunteer work, professional developments, and involvement in academic life.

In general, you should address:

Teaching and learning activities. Include self-reflective statements on your teaching/learning philosophies, methods and goals, evidence of your educational development, peer evaluations from supervisors or mentors, and so on.

Research activities. Include reflective statements demonstrating your areas of research interest, your CV/resume, your research achievements (publication details, documentation of accredited research funds or awards you’ve received), and so on.

Service activities. This means evidence of any extra-curricular, community service or other leadership/team experiences.

Academic portfolios are highly individualised. However, different scholarships may require different elements of your academic portfolio. Always tailor your portfolio to meet the criteria.

5. Attach a cover letter

Cover letters should encourage readers to browse your application and/or academic portfolio. You should include:

Personal details

Use the format:
<First name, Surname>
<Home address>
<Phone number>
<Email address>

Open politely with a personalised greeting

Don’t know specific names? Ask around, or politely address your letter to the organisation, institution or scholarship committee.

Concisely explain why you are right for the scholarship

Sum up exactly how you fit the scholarship criteria, why you are chiefly interested in and applying for this specific scholarship, as well as what you feel you could personally and uniquely offer as a scholarship recipient. Here, highlight your most relevant skills, qualifications and interests in answer to the scholarship criteria, evidencing specific examples.

In the closing paragraph, reinforce your interest

Show enthusiasm! End by (concisely) reiterating your interest in and motivations for the scholarship. Use confident phrasing in a humble manner (eg. ‘I believe’ over ‘I think’). Summing up, acknowledge judges by thanking them for their consideration.

Remember to check your presentation and formatting

Is your cover letter well spaced and easy to read? Whilst style guides vary, generally cover letters are expected not to exceed one page in length, written using a 10-12 size font. Opt for clear, commonly used fonts like Helvetica, Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri.

6. Proofread everything!

How’s your grammar, punctuation and spelling looking? Before sending off your application, ask a friend, classmate or family member to proofread your documents to catch any mistakes you might have missed.

7. If at first, you don’t succeed – apply, apply again!

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just miss out through no fault of your own. The secret is: keep applying!

If you’re dedicated, thorough and passionate enough to try again, with persistence you’re highly likely to win yourself that scholarship.

Good luck!

Now that you’ve got some insider tips for applying for scholarships in Australia, why not kickstart the application process? CQUniversity offers a range of scholarships to international students, including the International Student Scholarship and the International Student Scholarship – Regional. Both scholarships have recently increased from 20% to 25% of course tuition fees for all new students commencing their studies for the first time at CQUniversity in Term 2, 2020 onwards. Plus, each scholarship lasts for the duration of your studies!