Tips and tricks to ace your scholarship application
By Lucy Barrie
Applying for scholarships might seem a bit daunting , especially when you’re studying hard for exams and dealing with Year 12, but no need to fear, we’ve got you covered!
This post will walk you through the benefits of sacrificing a few of those precious study hours to apply for scholarships for 2021, how to find the right scholarships for you and some practical tips for your application.
Applications close 30 September 2020, so let’s get going!
Why apply for a scholarship?
A scholarship is a payment made to support a student's education, so the most obvious benefit is that you have financial assistance to go towards university fees, living costs, textbooks and field trips. Scholarships are rewards for academic achievement (and for other things) so winning one is often a very real acknowledgement of all your hard work!
But there are some other benefits you may not be aware of, which will vary from scholarship to scholarship, and at UNSW, there is huge range of equity and merit scholarships available to help support you.
From an engineering student’s perspective, it’s interesting to know that some scholarships are sponsored by companies, which could mean that you don’t have to stress about finding your Industrial Training placement – this is the work experience we all have to do as part of an engineering degree. Having worked with one company over the course of your degree may also provide you with a great advantage if you want to work with them after graduation.
Some scholarships also come with mentoring opportunities with someone who has been through uni and figured out the workplace. As a student and young engineer this is one of the most valuable experiences you can have. Scholarships also provide you with a network of like-minded students. If you’re new to Sydney or don’t know anyone else at UNSW, the scholarships community is a great way to meet people and make friends.
How to find the right scholarships to apply for
At UNSW there are many different categories of scholarships, so it’s best to apply for as many as you are eligible for: rural, interstate, Women in Engineering, Co-op, high achievers, general engineering scholarships, university-wide scholarships (like the UNSW General Merit Scholarship) and many more. Co-op scholarships have their own website and application portal (www.coop.unsw.edu.au), and you can find all the others on the main UNSW scholarship website (www.scholarships.unsw.edu.au).
On the main site, you can search by ‘Faculty’ (Engineering) and ‘Other Criteria’ (Female/Rural/Industry Linked, etc) or by keywords, but it’s best not to narrow the search down too much or you might miss some! It’s also a good idea to select the ‘High School Leaver’ criteria to help you weed out the ones you can’t apply for.
Finally, there is a range of Women in Engineering Scholarships for incoming first years and they are all covered by one application! You can find them using the code UGCE1400. If you’re chosen for an interview, the selection committee will look at the preferences in your application to determine which scholarship you’d be most suited to.
Tips for your application
Now for some very practical tips for your application – there are hundreds of people applying for some of these scholarships, so these are a few ways to make sure your application is great!
- It’s not just about academics – most scholarships will ask you to submit your latest school report or similar, but the selection criteria will be a lot about what you are like as a person, so co-curricular activities like sport, music, drama, leadership activities or any other out-of-school commitments are equally as important as your marks in the application questions.
- Show that you are interested in engineering (or the specific discipline of engineering if you’re applying for a discipline scholarship)! ‘Engineering sounded kind of fun so I thought I’d give it a try’ doesn’t sound very confident compared to ‘I love the idea of working outside and with big trucks so I want to be a mining engineer!’
- It can be challenging to write about yourself because in everyday life we’re taught to be modest, but this is the time to flaunt your greatness! Don’t be shy about your achievements, and if you’re struggling to promote yourself, ask a friend or a family member to help because they often recognise our strengths better than we can ourselves. The scholarship selection committees want the best, so they have to know that you’re the best. Make sure you stand out!
- Proofread your application – this might sound simple, but it’s really important! If the final decision is between two applicants and one has typos and grammatical errors throughout their application, the scholarship will probably go to the other person. A proofread is super easy to do before you click submit, but it can make all the difference.
- There is some great troubleshooting help on both of the scholarships websites, so if you have any questions, see the FAQs first. For the main scholarship website go to www.scholarships.unsw.edu.au/faqs, and for the Co-op Program website go to www.coop.unsw.edu.au/faqs
Most scholarship applications for 2021 are open now until the end of September, so get in early and find everything you’re eligible for. A scholarship can really help you out at uni, so apply for as many as possible, and apply early so you’re not rushing your applications. And remember to follow these tips to assist you in submitting the best application possible.
Good luck! And we hope to see you at UNSW!