Applying for scholarships doesn’t have to be a mammoth task. Having the right information can greatly help your scholarship application process. In this post we have compiled answers to the top frequently asked questions on scholarships and how to apply. If you have a question, please leave a comment and we would reply.

Question 1: Do I have to pay an application fee for scholarships?

Answer: In most cases NO. Applying to scholarships are usually free. If you are being asked to pay an application fee, always check that the scholarship provider is legitimate. You would want to look out for the following:

  • Who is the scholarship provider?: Is the scholarship provider a registered company or organisation? Most scholarship providers are registered with a credible website. If a scholarship provider is not registered and asking for a scholarship fee, you may want to be wary as this could be a scam.
  • How much is the application fee?: If a scholarship provider is asking for an application fee this would usually be a token amount. The application fee may be used to cover the administrative costs associated with running the scholarship programme however this would always be a small fee. For example the PTDF Overseas Scholarship has an application fee of N1,000 (about £2) which is a reasonably small amount. If the scholarship provider is asking for a large amount (for example £10 or £20) you many want to be wary as this could be a scam. You also need to be very careful about paying online as your financial information could be stolen.
  • Do they have any past scholars?: Have there been any traceable past scholars from the scholarship provider and how many past scholars do they have? Traceable means that the scholarship provider has provided names of past scholars on their website and that when you search these names online you should either see a related social media account (for example facebook, linkedIn etc) or a related news post about the scholar (for example a university post). If the scholarship provider has provided names, all of which do not seem to exist when searched online, then you need to be wary as this could be a scam.
  • What kind of phrases are they using to advertise the scholarship?: The following phrases may signal that the scholarship could be a scam:
    • “This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back”
    • “This scholarship will cost you some money”

Question 2: What is the difference between a full scholarship and a part scholarship?

Answer: We have received several questions about this. A full scholarship would usually cover the full costs of your study. At a minimum full scholarships will cover the tuition fees and living expenses. Some full scholarships (such as the commonwealth scholarships for example) cover additional costs such as return air travel, thesis grant, settling-in allowance and visa expenses. Part scholarships usually cover a part of the costs for your study. A part scholarship for example may cover only tuition fees or only living expenses and some part scholarships may be a contribution towards the tuition costs. In some cases it may be possible to also get several part scholarships to cover most of the costs for your study.

Question 3: What are the requirements to study in the UK?

Answer: There are various requirements for postgraduate and undergraduate study in the UK. We have compiled a post that goes into this in great detail. Click here to read it.

Question 4: What do I need to look out for when applying for scholarships?

Answer: There are various factors to consider when applying for scholarships but the most important factor you probably want to pay close attention to is the selection criteria of the scholarship. The selection criteria usually indicates the key characteristics or traits the scholarship provider would be looking for when selecting a scholar. You would want to write your scholarship application to highlight your strengths in those key areas. We have written a post on tips for applying for scholarships which covers these in great detail. Click here to read it.

Question 5: When is the best time to start applying for scholarships

Answer: Various scholarships usually have their different opening and closing times. Applying for scholarships is a process that should ideally start with some research into the scholarship provider, their scholars and the university you intend to study in. This process should start at least 6 months to the DEADLINE and you should aim to submit your scholarship application at least 1 month to the DEADLINE. You would want to write a scholarship application that shows the selection panel that:

  1. you are a right fit for the course and the university
  2. you have the key traits stated in the selection criteria
  3. getting the scholarship would help you achieve your future goals and ambitions

For more tips on how to write a scholarship application, please click here

Question 6: Do I need to get admission before applying for a scholarship?

Answer: Ideally yes. This is usually one of the selection criteria for most scholarships. Having an offer of admission into the university you intend to study in shows that you have met the academic requirements for your course and would strengthen your application. Even if you haven’t got an offer, you should have at least applied to the university and be waiting for an offer.

Question 7: Do I need to have a proof of English Test (IELTS/TOEFL) to apply for a scholarship?

Answer: It depends on the scholarship provider. Some scholarship providers require a proof of English from candidates from non-English speaking countries where as some other scholarship providers do not require this. In some cases, having a proof of English test can help strengthen your application especially if this is a requirement for the course you intend to study. Remember you want to let the scholarship provider know that you have met all other requirements for the course you intend to study and that all you need is financial support.

Question 8: What are the general selection criteria for a scholarship

Answer: Each scholarship would usually have its selection criteria. The following are some common selection criteria for scholarships:

  • Academic achievement: This simply means your academic potential. Do you have good grades? Are you in the top of your class? Scholarship providers that state academic achievement as a selection criteria would usually be looking for a high performing student with excellent grades
  • Financial Need: This simply means you would not be able to afford the costs of your study without the scholarship.
  • Leadership potential: Some scholarship providers would want to invest in a candidate with great leadership potential who would be able to use the knowledge and experiences from the course to become a leader in their field or in their country. Having previous leadership experiences and being able to showcase this clearly in your scholarship application would be a plus for you.
  • Country of origin: Some scholarships may only be open to candidates from a selected country or continent. For example some commonwealth scholarships are only open to candidates from developing countries.
  • Work Experience: Some scholarships may have work experience as a criterion. For example the Chevening scholarship has a minimum of 2 years work experience as a selection criterion.

Remember each scholarship is different. Always check the selection criteria of the scholarship you are applying to.

Question 9: If I miss the deadline of a scholarship this year, can I apply for the scholarship next year

Answer: This would depend on if the scholarship is offered yearly. There are many scholarship programs that open on a yearly basis, while there are some that are offered bi-annually or one-off. You would want to check these details on the website of the scholarship provider or through the University you intend to study in.

Question 10: Is it okay to contact the university I intend to study in before applying for a scholarship?

Answer: This would depend on the reason for wanting to contact the university. If you are contacting the university to get more information on the course or the university then this should be okay as most universities encourage prospective students to do so. Remember to communicate your passion and enthusiasm in all your correspondence with the university. It is not advised to contact the university asking them questions about a scholarship program which is already provided on their website as this would show you have not done your research. As much as possible only contact the university where absolutely necessary.


We hope you found this post useful and we wish you the vey best of luck as you apply for scholarships. If you have more question not answered above, please leave a comment below and we would reply. We post tips regularly so SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss out.

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  • Sara
    Posted at 16:55h, 14 April Reply

    Thanks for the great info.

    • admin
      Posted at 13:36h, 13 July Reply

      You are welcome Sara 🙂

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