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Getting ready to go to university and need information about how to apply for a scholarship? Here’s how…

1. Research the possibilities

If you have done particularly well at school, either academically or in sports, a university may already have approached you with a scholarship. If you haven’t been approached, you will need to do the legwork yourself to find a possible fit for a scholarship.

There are three types of scholarships:

  • education providers (the universities)
  • the federal government
  • private organisations.

The first place to start looking is on the website of the university you are interested in. Most universities have a dedicated page for scholarships for future students, and current students.You can also ask the university for a booklet listing all the scholarships, or make an appointment to see a student counsellor specialising in funding. Here is the first page of the future student scholarships available at just one university, the University of Western Australia. There are 20 more pages of scholarship offerings on this site.

If you read through the list, you will see that the scholarships offered cover a broad range of studies, such as agriculture, minerals, medicine, nursing, etc.

Others are targeted at women, or men. Some are religion based. Some cover fees only, others cover living expenses.

Some of the questions you need to ask when assessing scholarship options are:

  1. Which scholarships are available to my desired field of study?
  2. What are the criteria, for example, academic merit, gender, indigenous people, etc?
  3. Do I fit these criteria?
  4. How much is the scholarship for?
  5. Does it cover fees only?
  6. Does it cover living expenses?
  7. If the scholarship is for a small amount, which other scholarships shall I apply for?
  8. Does the scholarship have any conditions, for example, that I must work for the company for a certain number of years after my degree, or I must do community service.

We suggest the you draw up a table with different columns, much like the example above, for each scholarship that you would like to apply for. We also suggest that you do not restrict yourself to one university; you may find more suitable scholarships at another university.

2. Applying for scholarships

Check the requirements for your application. Do you need photos, letters of recommendations, photos of yourself, a transcript of your academic achievements so far, or anything else?

Do your documents need to be validated by a commissioner of oaths?

Is there an interview you must attend? Must it be in person or can it be via Skype? When is it?

If you are applying for multiple scholarships, make sure you meet the requirements of each one.

3. Meeting the deadlines

Start as early as possible to do your research.

All applications have a cut-off date, and you need to start preparing your application well before it. If you miss the deadline, your application will be rejected.

Once again, if you are applying to more than one scholarship, there will be different deadlines. Make sure you don’t miss them.

Don’t leave your application to the last day. Hand it in before.

4. Proofread and checked your application

If you want your application to be taken seriously and given due attention, you need o make sure that it looks like you have put a lot of work and thought into it. Here are some tips:

  1. Is your name clear?
  2. Are all your contact details there, and are they correct?
  3. Have you answered every question fully?
  4. Have you run a spell check?
  5. Is your grammar correct?
  6. If writing an essay was part of the application, have you stuck to the word length?
  7. Have you used a consistent font, so that the application does not look messy?

Before you submit it, ask someone to proofread yourapplication.

5. What happens if you don’t get a scholarship?

Because scholarships are very competitive, you may not get one, or may get a part scholarship that only covers some of your fees and your living expenses.

  • You can apply for a youth allowance through Centrelink if you are a full-time student between 16 and 24. The money is sent fortnightly into your account.
  • If you are regional or rural student living away from home, you can apply for an allowance either as a dependent orindependent. Your parents’ income will be considered when classifying you. Both independent and dependent students living away from home are eligible for ‘away from home’ payments.
  • Austudyis another source of funds for full-time students of 25 and over.
  • ABSTUDY provides funds for indigenous students and apprentices.
  • If all else fails, you can take out a loan from a bank, which you will have to pay back.

To find out the best option for you, call Centrelink on 132 490 to arrange an interview before you finish high school.

Getting a scholarship (one or more) to assist you with your studies takes a lot of pressure off you and your family. If you put enough hard work into your school years and choose a university course that is compatible with scholarships, and put in a comprehensive and thoughtful application, you’re in with a chance. Good luck.