Are you considering studying abroad in the United Kingdom, but unsure how to pay for it? Studying abroad is an ambitious and rewarding endeavor that requires determination and hard work like any other academic goal, but it also requires extra time and effort to turn your dream into a reality. Scholarships open doors for individuals of all backgrounds to achieve their academic goals, so if you are wondering how to get scholarships to fund your studies abroad in the UK, but you're not quite sure where to begin, this article will give you the tools you need to get started.
What Are Scholarships?
Rather than loans that must be repaid with interest, scholarships are funds awarded to students based primarily on academic merit and financial needs but sometimes awarded for sports skills and other special circumstances. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of scholarships available around the world, some of which are onetime offerings and others can be given repeatedly each year.
Understanding how to get scholarships in the UK can open the gateway to countless educational opportunities. University options can be expensive, and course costs vary significantly depending on whether you are from a country within the European Economic Area or European Union, where exactly you are studying within the UK, your year of study, and the university itself.
There are also scholarships designed solely for students from specific countries, such as Africa, Armenia, France, and China, to give a few examples. There are also scholarships open to individuals from any country, provided the applicant meets all the requirements, and special grants given to fund scientific and research endeavors.
Kinds of International Scholarships in the United Kingdom
The first step to take when learning how to get scholarships in the UK is to look at those funded by the UK government. There are quite a few scholarships that fall into this category, such as the British Chevening Scholarship, which is for international students and funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its partner donor organizations. Another government scholarship is the Commonwealth Scholarship for Developing Commonwealth Countries, which is for students enrolled in graduate or Ph.D. programs from developing Commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme at UK Universities may be ideal if you will go to graduate school in the UK to study a discipline related to the growth of society, economy, or technology. For American students, one of the best government scholarships available is the Marshall Scholarship. This scholarship is for graduate students intending to go to school in the UK who exhibit strong academic practices and leadership skills. The scholarship is not available for certain courses of study, including those working to earn a Master’s in Business Administration.
Government Independent Scholarships
Next on our list of how to get scholarships in the UK are the scholarships independent of the Commonwealth’s government.
The first of these is Euraxess UK, promulgated by the European Commission and designed for individuals conducting research in Europe. The UK sector is controlled by the British Council and provides a multitude of research scholarships for international graduate students. It has strong sources of funding and supports researchers moving to the UK in their career endeavors. UK estate company CastleSmart offers the CastleSmart Scholarship, and it's meant for undergraduate students of all nationalities.
Other scholarships offered independent of the UK government are nationality based, such as the Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship for students from Africa, the Luys Scholarship Program for students from Armenia, the Entente Cordiale Scholarship for graduate students from France, and The Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust Scholarship for graduate research students, doctoral students, and visiting fellows.
If you are wondering how to get scholarships as a science student, then you should look into the Royal Society Grants. Independently funded, this organization works to further scientific study and students showing potential in those areas. In fact, the Royal Society Fellowship is comprised of several of the world’s premier scientists and stands as the longest standing academy of science in existence.
One of the best solutions for how to get scholarships is to look at the individual university you wish to attend. The University of Cambridge offers some of the best scholarships available to international students, the University of Oxford, the King’s College London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Imperial College London.
Some other top options include the University of Edinburgh’s Global Scholarships, which include awards to individuals from Central and South America; the Kingston University International Scholarships for students of all years of study; the University of Nottingham-International Scholarships comprising various awards for all years of study; and the University of Westminster Scholarships for International Students, geared towards graduate students who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.
Global Scholarship Options
One other answer regarding how to get scholarships independent of the other offerings previously mentioned is to apply for the Global Study Awards Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded through the partnership of the ISIC, British Council, and Studyportals, and is designed for international students who want to study abroad. The scholarship is available bi-annually and is awarded to two students.
How to Get Scholarships in the UK
Applying for Government Scholarships
The next step in the process relating to how to get scholarships in the UK is to take the plunge and apply. Remember, application requirements vary, so double-check on any individual scholarship’s website for full details to make sure you qualify. For government scholarships, there are a few common application requirements. Some awards are per semester while others will pay for an entire school year or more. Students must show strong academic merit, and often, leadership skills. For scholarships based on country of origin, you must be of a specific nationality.
Many scholarships are geared towards graduate degrees and doctoral degree, but there are others including undergraduate studies and beyond. Applications often include submitting the application form, and university endorsements, letters of recommendation, and any other required documentation based on the specific program.
Applying for Government Independent Scholarships
If you are wondering how to get scholarships that are government independent, such as Euraxess, you must apply through their job funding search, to see if you can be placed into a specific research role. Being involved in and studying scientific research is essential. Also, various visa conditions will be applied to placement.
To apply for scholarships such as the 6000 pound CastleSmart estate agent scholarship, you must go to their website, filling in the application with your name, age, university name, and course. You must also submit a YouTube video with your own personal spoken application, detailing your educational background, career goals, and your interest in the program.
Many of the nationality-specific scholarships are based on financial need or academic merit, and they are often geared to graduate and doctoral students, but there are many available for undergraduate students as well. To apply you must be from the specific country where the scholarship is based, and then submit a completed application and any letters of recommendation, CV, and documents showcasing your academic achievements and background. You must also show proof of your current enrollment in a college or university.
Applying for University Scholarships
As for how to get scholarships that are university specific, you will definitely need to check out each universities’ website to ensure that you don't miss any key requirements. To begin with, you must apply to the university, at which point you will sometimes be automatically considered for any scholarships you might qualify for. Your application, letters of reference, any essays, and academic merit are used to assess your eligibility. However, most scholarships require that you fill out a separate, specific application.
Applying for a Global Scholarship
If you are interested in how to get scholarships in the UK through the Global Study Awards ISIC, British Council, and Studyportals partnership, you can go onto the application portion of their website, and see if they are currently accepting new applicants for the next term.
You will need to be at least 18 years old, have taken the IELTS test, received the resulting test report form, have a valid International Student Identity Card or International Youth Travel Card, plan on enrolling full-time in an undergraduate or master’s program, and include your letter of acceptance from the educational institution. The website also requires you to write a review of your study experience.
Learning how to get scholarships to help fund your study abroad endeavors is a process that takes time, diligence, dedication, and effort, but it's definitely worth it when you earn one. There is a wide variety of scholarships available to students of all backgrounds, nationalities, and academic levels, so there is something for everyone to choose from, and it's important to take the time to select the scholarships that fit best with your personal educational and financial needs. Studying abroad is one of the most exciting journeys you could ever embark on, and scholarships can help finance your academic adventure!