Yayy! You’ve just completed your undergraduate degree, now you want to forge ahead, but you have no idea what to do.
Look no further; I will be sharing some of the tips that helped me secure my admission(s) into prestigious schools of my choice and how I was able to get a full scholarship (Commonwealth Shared) that was keenly contested for. It’s quite important for you to have good grades to get into most schools, but getting a Master’s degree or PhD and a scholarship need strategic planning. Let’s dive straight into the tips.
First things first: you need to have a plan. I can attest to the fact that having a plan and writing your plan down make your work and your applications easier to do and monitor. Before you start applying to schools or for scholarships, I’ll advise that you should be familiar with the application processes of the schools or the scholarship body you intend to apply to, prior to the application window. You can effectively do this by asking questions from people who are in that school or are/were on that scholarship (the easiest way to do this is via LinkedIn).
What really helped me was that I searched on LinkedIn for people who had studied or were studying the course I was looking at applying for or had been/were on the scholarship I was targeting. I saw a lady who studied my dream course in my dream school, who was a Nigerian and was on a scholarship I was planning to apply for. I sent her a message on LinkedIn, connected with her, looked for her on Facebook, sent her a connection request and that was how we started chatting. I asked her all my questions because her status was relatable and very similar to what I wanted.
It’s very important to know when the application windows for schools and different scholarships open. Usually, those windows range from 2 to 6 months, so the ball is in your court on how well you will prepare and how early you’ll submit your applications. I mentioned earlier that it’s important for you to write down your plan. Yes, you may have a plan in your head, but there might be a lot of schools and scholarships you want to apply to, and not writing your plans down may be dangerous, as you may skip some important details. This is what the plan I created for myself looked like. You may adopt it as a template:
Coming up with this Google sheet (it doesn’t have to be Google sheet; you can use Excel or create a table on Word) was very valuable. My search was guided and I didn’t have to waste time. For instance, if you’re looking for a school that’s got funding for your course, it’s quite important for you to note if the schools you have searched for have funding or not (if you’re searching for schools in Europe, especially Germany, this information is quite important). If the school has no funding, you may want to keep it in your list or take it out. If you decide to keep it in your list, then you may want to start looking for scholarships that will fund your study.
The ‘Country’ column is also important. One of the reasons why this is important is networking. It’s possible you find someone online studying in a particular country on your list (may not necessarily be your school of choice), you may want to ask them if they know anything about your school. Don’t be surprised, most schools in some countries have the same application process. So speaking with someone already studying in that country is valuable.
People who plan are somewhat prepared. So, what you should be doing after making that decision to school abroad, is to have a grand plan. Good luck!