Study Abroad Scholarships
Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences a college student can take on in their undergraduate careers. However, the cost for doing so can be very daunting. Luckily, there are many options for students to obtain study abroad scholarships. These scholarships can be awarded for a range of reasons, varying from academic achievement to project-based awards. They can also be from local, nationwide, or international sources, and for varying amounts. There are many techniques for application to scholarships; it is important to first examine all the different types of study abroad scholarships.
Types of Scholarships for Studying Abroad
Merit-based awards are perhaps the most common types of study abroad scholarships. These awards judge based on academic achievement, volunteering, extracurricular activities such as honor societies or writing on the school newspaper, as well as sports and art. The more that you can show that your talents are unique, they better the chances are that you will receive awards for your talents.
Geo Specific Scholarships
Many scholarships are based on where you are going. This may actually influence the area in the world that you choose to go. Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are very popular study abroad destinations, and as such, destination-specific scholarships are far and few between and very competitive for these places. However, choosing a study abroad destination not as common, such as Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, can reward a student with many more scholarship opportunities. Scholarships such as Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship give large awards that are merit-based but focus their attention on destinations that aren’t as common.
Area of Study Scholarships
Additionally, there are also scholarships available that focus on your program of study, such as environmental policy, language, or international relations. In fact, scholarships for studying languages abroad are very much available now, especially languages that the federal government deems as “critical need languages,” such as Arabic and Mandarin. An example of a scholarship of this type is the Boren Awards for International Study.
Scholarships Based on Demographics
Your own demographics information is also another type, in which examines the diversity of their applicants based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, and other factors. An example of a scholarship based on gender is the American Association of University Women.
Sometimes, scholarships will be a combination of many of these different types. For example, maybe they will ask you to be in a specific program of study while getting good grades in that program, be a woman of lower-socio economic status, and participate in many different types of extracurriculars. The best strategy to applying for study abroad scholarships is to choose those scholarships that best fit with your experiences. The more specific the scholarship that you can find that fits you, the better chances of obtaining that scholarship.
Helpful Scholarship Award Strategies
Scholarships can be sourced from local, domestic, or international businesses, organizations, or schools. A good tactic is to start close to home where there will be less competition. These awards tend to be less substantial, but can be a great addition to a larger award which can help pay for expenses while abroad. They usually come from your university or college, your home town organizations, or local businesses. Local scholarships tend to have shorter application processes, making them worth trying for.
Conversely, national scholarships will be more competitive, but could be worth the extra effort. They can typically be upwards of $4,000, which is a fair amount when considering you can expect to have program fees on top of your normal tuition, as well as airfare and cost of living in country.
If you consider applying to scholarships to be a part-time job and take the applications seriously, tailoring each essay and each application to what the scholarship is asking for, this will seriously help the odds of winning those you apply for. And considering the potential pay off, it can be well worth your troubles. One thing to remember is to always start early. Look for scholarships whose deadlines are at least two months in advance. This gives you enough time to spend enough time on the application as well as get together all needed documents, such as transcripts and recommendation letters.
Looking for scholarship opportunities can be a year-round job, but often deadlines are focused around the end of semesters, in December and May. That doesn’t mean that you can’t apply to all of the ones that you want to-it just means that you’ll need to be on top of each application and make sure you have all of the requirements settled. When you know yourself and your skills and can translate that into an application, as well as with a little time, patience, and luck, there is no doubt that you can obtain a study abroad scholarship to make your dreams of studying abroad come true.