Scholarships: hints & tips

Choosing a scholarship

Check the eligibility requirements

Most scholarships have eligibility requirements ranging from level of study, course or previous academic achievements to residence or nationality. Before spending a long time on an application, check that you meet the basic eligibility requirements outlined in the scholarship information.

What funding is on offer?

Some scholarships offer a full funding package that covers both tuition fees and living expenses. Other awards offer partial funding, for example a contribution to living costs or tuition fees only. In this case you may need to look for other funding to make up any shortfall. If you have a family, check whether a scholarship offering living costs includes an allowance for a partner and/or children. 

Plan ahead

Planning your application

Check the deadline

Make sure you know the date you need to make your application, and plan from there. Most scholarship schemes are very competitive. It's important to make enquiries and start your application early. 

Allow plenty of time

Completing an application form and personal statement can be time-consuming. It’s vital you get it right, so give yourself plenty of time.

Making your application

Get the basics right

Make sure you provide all the information on the application form and all supporting documents. Check that you're submitting the application correctly:

  • do you need to apply online? If you need to email or post the application check the address. Sometimes the addresses for enquiries and applications are different.
  • does an academic department need to nominate you? Some scholarships ask you to be nominated by the department where you plan to study. This will be clear from the scholarship information.
  • do you need to also apply for a place on a course? Often, scholarships are only considered for students who have had an offer of a place. This should be clear in the scholarships information. If you haven’t applied for a place on the course, you must do so.
  • is the scholarship for students who are applying to start a course, or for students who have already registered? Most scholarships are for students who are applying, but some awards are for students who have already started a course.
  • make sure you also check any word or character limits for statements. There’s no point in submitting a 2,000-word essay if the application asks for a 500-word statement.

Stand out from the crowd

Completing a personal statement

Think about the criteria

Most scholarships will publish criteria on how applications are judged. You must address these criteria in your application.

  • you might be asked to show that you have 'academic excellence'. Think about how you've achieved this and what might set you apart from other applicants.
  • scholarships may be specific. For example: 'for students who have achieved a first-class Honours degree at undergraduate-level study'. Make sure that you don’t forget to mention this if it’s not elsewhere on your application.
  • there may be other requirements. For example, relating to financial hardship, career plans or areas of research. You should think about how your situation meets these criteria and put this in your statement.
  • you might also want to mention other factors – your career plans, background etc. This should not be at the expense of the basic criteria.


Remember that you can apply for more than one scholarship, if you’re eligible. There's usually no problem in applying to several scholarships.

If you're successful, you need to check the conditions of the scholarship.

Some scholarships have restrictions on other funding you can accept. This means that you have to decide which scholarship to accept.