Common mistakes when applying to study in Scandinavia

So many young people I talk to often express this passion and desire to get higher education, whether just for personal development or career progress, the jury is out there. The reasons for having a desire to get higher education abroad notwithstanding, most of them often think that application for study and scholarship are synonymous. For instance, someone may be very busy looking out for scholarship openings and even trying a shot at them. Conversely, some people just apply for study places but neither make necessary follow-ups nor just think that such an application to study will automatically count as an expression of interest to be given funding. In both cases, there are glaring mistakes that need to be well understood. It is only after you understand such nitty-gritty that you will stand a chance to fulfill your dreams of ever getting to study in the Scandinavian universities.

What you need to understand when applying for studying in the Scandinavia

While I characterize this bit as being relevant to Scandinavia, it will invariably be applicable for almost all universities abroad, whether in the United states of America, Australia, Asia or wherever.

Application for study does not necessarily count as an application for a scholarship. In most cases, the universities are only responsible for assessing your application based on the qualifications that is submitted to them. Upon completion of the assessment exercise, they will generate a list of applicants who have impressed them and demonstrated their ability to cope with the study program for which they applied. Nonetheless, being considered qualified does not mean that you will be offered an admission straightaway. The specific university will check their capacity to admit students including maximum allowed number for that program and general faculty staffing.

The greatest interest that anyone applying to study in Scandinavia has is to make it to the direct list of admitted students. In practice, all qualified students for any study program are listed based on several considerations including country of origin, prior study, language proficiency, written letter of motivation and statement of purpose. Those who make it to the first list are automatically admitted. Other qualified applicants who cannot be directly admitted based on issues including inadequate faculty capacity are placed on reserve list. Applicants on the reserve list will only be considered for admission in case a student in the first admission list does not accept the slot in time or rejects the offer. By default, the closer you are in the reserve list, the highest the chance that you will be accepted to replace someone on the main list. For example, number one on the reserve list will be considered first as a replacement then number two, three, four in that order.

Get ready to study

What you need to be considered for a scholarship funding

Many people interested in studying abroad, Scandinavia included are deluded by the thinking that applying for a scholarship is such a straightforward process. Yes, to an extent it is easy especially if you have already checked the deadlines and collected all required supporting documents. However, most scholarships, if not all require that you first have an admission offer whose proof is a letter of admission.

Entities that offer scholarships in Scandinavia or anywhere else will include the need for a student to file evidence of admission that clearly indicates the university to which they have been admitted, the study program, financial obligations, and many more. This part of the process means that you will have to first get admission to be qualified to apply for a scholarship.

Unluckily, only students who have gotten an admission are likely to get chance to apply for a scholarship, reason being that the scholarship timetable always run so close to the admission timelines. There is not much time left for you to wait for someone to decline an admission before you can be taken from reserve list to admission list. As an experience, once you do not make it to the first admission list, you should forget about getting a scholarship, especially those scholarships that are offered by the university.

Missing out on direct admission does not however mean that you will not ever get other sources of funds. Every university gives a list of possible scholarship funding as a best practice. So all you need to do is check out which offers are still open by the time you have an admission letter.

Tips for scholarship funding application

As much as its everyone’s desire to win lucrative and highly competitive scholarship funding, most people fail to be pragmatic in their approach to such applications. One thing that should be at the top of anyone’s mind when applying for a scholarship finding is that they are competing against people with illustrious career experience, great demonstrable achievements and higher intellectual acumen. You should not be so naïve to think that you will stand out. As a result, it is not advisable to take any chances not to do anything extra that may project you as a compelling candidate for funding.

The technicality, explicitness and compelling nature of your statement of purpose will largely set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Just take your time and write articulate letter of scholarship application which captures your merits as a person, past experience, vision and aspirations. You must equally document how being given a scholarship will contribute to the societal wellbeing. Here, you do not need to be so self-centred. Scholarship funding is not all about you, but largely how by getting it will impact the larger society in the long run. Just tell clearly you current, short term and long term interests.

You also do not want to waste time making an application to funds that support specific areas of study that is different from what you have been admitted. For instance, it’s absurd and a waste of time for someone who has studied computer science to apply for a scholarship that specifically supports anthropology. I don’t mean to say that there is no nexus between subject areas but even if there are, some may be stretching logic too far.

One day it’s your turn!

Getting referees for scholarship and admission applications

Referees are very important in study applications and in scholarship searching. Referees who may also double as mentors will not only help in fine tuning your written submissions such as statement of purpose, personal statement et cetera but will also tell you which of the available options are likely to go through. Referees and mentors are people who have gained a wealth of experience throughout their career and know what is likely to work and those that are tall order for you.

If you are lucky to have good references, they will always go out of their way to pitch for you as a very good candidate. In fact, some of them will introduce you to their networks so that the groundwork is already done, all you need to do is put everything else in order. Don’t ignore your referee or mentor because they are your compass that will show you the best direction to take in your applications. In some instances, they will be sent critical documents to fill about you without any references being sent to you. Here, you can only trust that they will not let you down. Only focus on listing referees who you have a good rapport with all the time. A mistake from the referee’s side may badly dent you chances of ever getting whatever you intended to achieve.

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