Many of us have thought about getting an education abroad, studying higher education abroad is an attractive but expensive prospect. At the same time, grants and scholarships can significantly reduce costs and make life easier for a student. How to get them, we tell in the detailed instructions.
The main difference between grant and scholarship
Both grants and scholarships are types of gratuitous financial assistance to pay for tuition. The recipient is determined mainly on an eligibility basis.
The main difference between them is that the scholarship is usually paid every month, and the grant is one-time.
They are compensated by sponsors-employers, NGOs, foundations, universities, governments, ministries of foreign affairs or education, and regional authorities.
Types of grant
Some grants cover all costs, while others cover only a part of it: for example, tuition fees. There is usually a lot of competition to get the first ones. By duration, they are divided into short ones – from several weeks to months, and long ones – up to three years.
According to the goals, grants are allocated for research, internships and language courses, bachelor’s, master’s, and postgraduate programs. There are more grants for study in master or doctoral studies than in bachelor’s programs.
They also differ in professional areas. You can participate in several grant competitions at the same time to increase the chances of receiving the required amount.
Terminology in different countries and educational institutions may differ, there is no single standard.
Scholarships – awarded by universities. Most often, this is a discount on tuition and/or other services.
Grants – are allocated mainly by independent organizations, which sometimes require reports on the expenditure of funds or work.
Merit-based scholarships – scholarships for academic achievement: the university can independently select the best students of the course and award cash incentives.
Need-based scholarships – social scholarships for needy students. A difficult financial situation will have to be proved by explanatory, certificates or extracts from a bank, tax authority.
Fellowships – scholarships in exchange for which students work as teaching assistants, help conduct classes, research, etc. More relevant for those who plan to take master or doctoral programs. Sometimes they cover room and board.
Specific scholarships – grants to support a specific group of people based on nationality, gender, etc. For example, Google offers a grant for students with disabilities.
Main stages in getting a grant
It is worth starting to prepare for the application about a year before the proposed study. In general terms, the steps are:
- decide in which country you want to study
- choose a grant program or university, if you want to a specific place and plan to apply directly
- confirm language proficiency by passing an international test (TOEFL, IELTS, TestDaf, DELF, etc.)
- collect a package of documents
- submit an application for participation in the competitive selection
- need to pass an interview with the organizers of the program and/or pass the entrance exams
- take care of visa issues, housing, etc. in advance.
It is important to follow the deadlines for submitting documents, otherwise, they may not be accepted.
How to choose a country?
It is believed that in the USA specialists in the field of IT, doctors and lawyers are well trained, in Italy and France, for art and hospitality people prefer Switzerland and UK they specialize in natural and social sciences.
How to choose a university?
The quality of education in universities is different, their number is large. Don’t be confused, you can focus on the universities that appear in these international rankings:
- QS World University Rankings by the British company Quacquarelli Symonds;
- world ranking of the British magazine Times Higher Education (THE) ;
- Shanghai ARWU World University Rankings.
First, decide where you want to go, and then look for where it is taught best.
Communication with graduates helps this way you can find out all the pros and cons of future education in advance and prepare for them.
It is also worthwhile to adequately assess your strengths – the level of language proficiency, grades, knowledge – and compare them with the requirements of the university.
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Each program has its own set of documents. Usually this:
Diploma. Master’s programs usually require a bachelor’s degree; or a specialist in a related field or proven experience in the field;
Certificate of the passed language test.
You may also need:
Letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, employers, experts familiar with your activities
Sometimes additional documents may be required, for example, a certified birth certificate, school certificate, certified copies of a passport, diploma, and application, sometimes with a university, etc.
Basic requirements for grant applicants
They differ depending on programs and grant types. In some grants, only academic achievements are evaluated, in others, the success of the candidate outside of school is also important.
General requirements include good academic performance, a high overall score of the diploma, as well as good command of the language (English or the one spoken in the country of admission).
Pay attention to the rules of staying in the country after completing the training: often, under the terms of the grant, the student must return home for some time. Sometimes he is allowed to stay in the country, but only on a tourist visa without the right to work.