Insider Tips from Successful Scholarship Winners: How to Maximize Your Chances of Securing Funding

When it comes to scholarship applications, who better to provide advice than students who have already triumphed in their pursuit of funding? We reached out to a few of this year’s esteemed QS Scholarship recipients and asked them to share their top tips for finding and applying for scholarships. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into their invaluable insights, providing you with a wealth of knowledge to maximize your chances of securing the funding you need for your education.

Scholarship Application Tips

  1. Apply Early: The Early Bird Gets the Worm

One of the most frequently mentioned pieces of advice by our scholarship winners is the importance of applying early. While this may seem like common sense, it cannot be emphasized enough. Schools and scholarship programs have a specific amount of funding available, and the earlier you apply, the better your chances of receiving a scholarship. By applying early, you not only increase your chances of securing funding but also make the process easier for yourself. Alexis Csizmazia, a recipient of the QS-IE University Scholarship, stresses the significance of early application, stating, “The earlier you apply, the more you will receive and the easier it will be to get a scholarship.” So, don’t wait until the last minute—start your scholarship journey promptly.

  1. Explore University Websites for Hidden Opportunities

If you have specific universities in mind for your studies, it’s essential to explore their websites thoroughly. Doris Fang, winner of the 2015 QS Connect Masters 1-2-1 Scholarship, recommends starting your scholarship search on university websites. Universities often provide a wealth of resources on scholarships, financial aid, and other funding options. By carefully combing through their websites, you may uncover hidden gems that align perfectly with your aspirations. Take the time to explore each university’s scholarship offerings, eligibility criteria, and application deadlines. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of each scholarship to ensure that you submit a well-prepared and targeted application.

  1. Cast a Wide Net: Look Beyond Universities

While universities are a great starting point for scholarship opportunities, our scholarship winners stress the importance of expanding your search beyond traditional university scholarships. Thuy Phamova Thanh, a recipient of the QS-Manchester Business School Scholarship, advises aspiring scholars to cast a wide net and look for alternative scholarship providers. While universities offer scholarships, there are numerous other organizations, institutions, and foundations that provide funding for students. Research is key in discovering these opportunities. Thuy recommends, “Talk to people and search using various resources, such as libraries, the internet, or books, to find available funding opportunities.” By exploring diverse sources, you increase your chances of finding scholarships that are tailored to your field of study, background, or specific interests.

  1. Craft a Targeted Application Essay

Once you have identified the scholarships you wish to apply for, it’s crucial to invest time and effort into crafting a targeted application essay. Many scholarships require applicants to submit an essay or personal statement that showcases their goals, aspirations, and suitability for the scholarship. Salimatou Balde, a recipient of the QS-IE University Scholarship, advises applicants to take the time to thoroughly analyze the essay topic provided. Identify all the keywords, ensure you understand them, and stick strictly to the question when constructing your response. A well-crafted essay that directly addresses the scholarship’s objectives and requirements will significantly enhance your chances of standing out among the pool of applicants. Remember to highlight your unique experiences, achievements, and aspirations, demonstrating why you are the ideal candidate for the scholarship.

  1. Seek Feedback: A Fresh Perspective Can Make All the Difference

Writing a compelling scholarship application can be a challenging task. That’s why it’s crucial to seek feedback from others. Having someone else review your application not only helps identify typos or grammatical errors but also provides you with valuable insights and perspectives. Stephen Jarvis, recipient of the 2015 QS Academic Excellence Scholarship, acknowledges the positive impact of feedback on his scholarship applications. “My scholarship applications have always been greatly improved after I’ve gotten someone to pass a critical eye over them,” he shares. Choose someone who is familiar with the scholarship application process or has knowledge of your field of study. Their feedback can help you refine your essay, bring attention to your strengths, and ensure that your application is polished and professional.

  1. Master the Art of Time Management

When you’re juggling multiple scholarship applications along with your regular academic and personal commitments, effective time management is crucial. It’s essential to create a calendar or timeline that outlines all the application deadlines for the scholarships you’re interested in. Give yourself ample time to gather the required documents, complete application forms, and write compelling essays. Valentina Sandulova, winner of the QS EDHEC-Business School Scholarship, shares her experience of managing scholarship applications while working full-time. She advises aspiring scholars to be patient, keep applying, and most importantly, manage their time effectively to meet all the deadlines. Procrastination can be detrimental to your chances of success, so stay organized and disciplined throughout the application process.

  1. Apply with Confidence: Persistence Pays Off

The final and perhaps most significant piece of advice from our scholarship winners is simple yet profound: believe in yourself and apply with confidence. It’s natural to doubt your chances of success, especially when scholarships are highly competitive. However, our winners unanimously emphasize the importance of pushing past self-doubt and giving your best effort. Lee MacPherson, recipient of the QS Leadership Scholarship, shares his initial hesitation in applying due to the competitiveness of scholarships. However, he asserts, “Putting in the effort was one of the best decisions I ever made.” It’s crucial to remember that rejection is a common part of the scholarship application process. Many of our winners received rejection letters before finally securing scholarships. Therefore, it’s vital to persevere, keep refining your applications, and never give up on your dreams.


In conclusion, securing scholarships for your education requires a strategic approach and unwavering determination. By following the advice of successful scholarship recipients, you can significantly enhance your chances of obtaining the funding you need. Apply early, explore university and alternative sources, craft targeted application essays, seek feedback, manage your time effectively, and, above all, apply with confidence. Remember, the journey to securing scholarships may be challenging, but the rewards are immeasurable. So, embark on your scholarship application journey today, armed with the wisdom and insights of those who have come before you.

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