my many years of working in the area of student recruitment and
For many students from developing countries, I
have found this is often a common manner of beginning their scholarship
application in order to emphasize their impoverished lifestyle.
I have read applications where students continue on to detail the daily
challenges they confront saying,
“My country is recovering from a civil war and I have no funds to pay….”
“My father is ill and my mother is unable to work…”
“I suffered a serious financial setback and have been unable to pay my fees to complete the university here and therefore I am asking you for a scholarship.”
These testimonials continue with students not realizing that these comments designed to encourage an outpouring of financial support can also have an adverse impact. How? A scholarship committee can easily perceive these pleas in a different manner. For example, the student unable to pay his tuition fees in his homeland which are probably significantly cheaper may face a much greater financial challenge if the scholarship only pays 60% leaving the student responsible for the remaining 40%.
The student who shares the fact that their father is sick and cannot work along with a mother who is unemployed may easily create an image for the scholarship committee of someone with little or no financial
support. At the same time, admitting to be from a war torn area with no money may also indicate to the
committee that as an applicant this student will join the group of numerous other students from other war torn regions of the world already on campus.
Today’s challenging economic times have made the quest for international scholarships very competitive. As the economy has stalled for many countries funding for universities has decreased and scholarships for international students have in many cases suffered more cuts.
It is important for students to understand that even a full scholarship still requires a certain level of financial responsibility for the student and parents. If tuition is covered you will still be left with the cost of an airline ticket, visa, housing, books, monthly expenses, etc.
When a scholarship or financial aid office sits down to review scholarship applications the same plea of “Aidez moi” that can cause one institution to fund you can also cause another institution to bypass your application.
Why? Well they may view you as in need of more support than they can provide. Also universities are looking not just to support a financially needed individual but someone with excellent academic results. Most important, do not
be surprised, if the university has the attitude of “Aidez nous-Help us” as many universities are seeking to support students that will bring a level of energy, engagement and community awareness to their campus!