A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding The Perfect Study Scholarship

To embark on a study abroad journey can be an incredibly enriching and transformative experience. It can open doors to new cultures, broadens horizons, and offers unique educational opportunities. However, the financial aspect of studying abroad can be a significant concern for many students. That's where scholarships come into play. Securing a scholarship can not only alleviate the financial burden but also make your study abroad dreams a reality.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through a step-by-step process to help you find the perfect scholarship for your study abroad program. This guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate the vast available study abroad scholarships.

From uncovering various types of scholarships to identifying resources for funding opportunities, we'll provide you with actionable advice to increase your chances of securing financial aid. You'll learn effective strategies for scholarship research, application preparation, and standing out among a pool of talented applicants. Whether you're an undergraduate or graduate student, our guide is designed to empower you on your journey to finding the best schools to study abroad with the perfect scholarship that aligns with your study abroad goals.

So, if you're ready to embark on an incredible study abroad adventure without breaking the bank, let's dive into the step-by-step process of finding the perfect scholarship for your study abroad program.



Types Of Scholarships

Before you start your journey of finding the ideal scholarship for you, you will need to know the various types of scholarships and how they apply to you. A good understanding of these scholarships will guide you in selecting just the perfect one for you.


1. Merit-Based Scholarships: This type of scholarship is awarded based on academic achievements, such as a high GPA, standardized test scores, or exceptional talent in a specific field, such as music, sports, or arts.


2. Need-Based Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to students based on their financial need. They consider factors like family income, assets, and the cost of education. Financial aid offices and organizations assess applicants' financial circumstances to determine eligibility.


3. Athletic Scholarships: Athletic scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who demonstrate exceptional skill and potential in sports. They are typically offered by universities and colleges to recruit talented athletes for their sports programs.


4. Ethnicity-Based or Minority Scholarships: These kinds of scholarships are specifically designed for students belonging to particular ethnic or racial backgrounds. They aim to promote diversity and inclusivity by supporting educational opportunities for underrepresented groups.


5. Field of Study Scholarships: They are awarded to students pursuing studies in specific academic disciplines or professional fields. They can be related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), humanities, social sciences, business, or other specialized areas.


6. Location-Based Scholarships: These scholarships are offered to students from specific regions or countries. They can be provided by governments, educational institutions, or organizations to encourage international students or support students from marginalized areas.


7. Community Service Scholarships: Community Service Scholarships recognize and reward students who have made significant contributions to their communities through volunteer work, leadership roles, or civic engagement. They value a student's commitment to serving others and making a positive impact.


8. Creative and Artistic Scholarships: These scholarships are aimed at students with exceptional talent and passion in fields like visual arts, performing arts, creative writing, music, film, or design. They support the development of artistic skills and provide opportunities for students to pursue their artistic aspirations.


9. Employer-Sponsored Scholarships: These scholarships are provided by employers to their employees or dependents as a benefit or investment in their education. They can be part of a company's employee development program or a commitment to supporting education within the workforce.


10. Government-Funded Scholarships: Governments, both at the national and international levels, offer scholarships to promote educational opportunities, foster international relations, and support talented students. Examples include the Fulbright Program, Erasmus+ scholarships, and national scholarship programs.


11. Foundation and Organization Scholarships: Numerous foundations, non-profit organizations, professional associations, and philanthropic bodies offer scholarships to support students pursuing higher education. These scholarships can vary in criteria, focus areas, and eligibility requirements.


12. Military Scholarships: These scholarships are specifically reserved for current or former military personnel, their spouses, or children. They aim to support the educational aspirations of military families and veterans.


13. Research and Study Grants: Research grants provide financial support for students engaged in research projects or pursuing advanced studies in specific areas of interest. These grants often require a research proposal and are common at the graduate and postgraduate levels.


14. College/University-Specific Scholarships: Many colleges and universities offer scholarships exclusively for their enrolled or incoming students. These scholarships may be based on academic merit, extracurricular achievements, or other specific criteria set by the institution.


15. International Scholarships: This is one of the commonest types of scholarships. They are scholarships designed for international students pursuing education outside their home country. They can be offered by governments, educational institutions, international organizations, or private foundations.


Note that scholarship availability and criteria can vary widely across various regions. It's advisable to thoroughly research each scholarship opportunity to understand the specific requirements, application procedures, deadlines, and eligibility criteria.

See Also: Why You Must Consider Taking A Business Study Abroad

Step By Step Guide To Finding The  Perfect Scholarship For You

1. Understand Your Study Abroad Program's Requirements

Before you start searching for scholarships, it's important to understand the requirements of your study abroad program. This includes the cost of the program, the length of the program, and any other specific details that may impact your scholarship search.

For example, if you are pursuing a degree in a specific field, such as engineering or business, you may want to look for scholarships that are specifically geared toward students in those fields. Additionally, if you belong to a specific demographic group, such as women, minorities, or veterans, there may be scholarships available that cater to your unique needs.

To find these types of scholarships, you can utilize scholarship search engines and websites. These resources allow you to filter your search by field of study, demographic group, and other relevant criteria. You can also find scholarships for specific fields and demographic groups by checking with your study abroad program coordinator or advisor.

Overall, it's important to have a clear understanding of your study abroad program's requirements before beginning your scholarship search. This will help you target your search more effectively and increase your chances of finding the perfect scholarship to support your study abroad goals.

2. Research Scholarships Offered By Your School

One of the first places you should look for scholarships is within your own school. Many universities and colleges offer a variety of scholarships to their students, including those studying abroad.

To begin your search, visit your school's financial aid office or study abroad department. They can provide you with a list of available scholarships and help you determine which ones you may be eligible for.

When researching scholarships offered by your school, keep in mind that some may be specifically geared towards students studying abroad in certain countries or for certain fields of study. For example, if you plan on studying marine biology in Australia, there may be a scholarship specifically for that program.

In addition, many universities and colleges also offer scholarships for specific demographic groups, such as first-generation college students, students with disabilities, or minority students. Make sure to check if there are any scholarships available that may fit your specific background or circumstances.

Finally, don't forget to check scholarship search engines and websites for scholarships offered by your school. These resources can often provide a comprehensive list of scholarships that you may have otherwise missed.

By researching scholarships offered by your school, you may be able to find the perfect scholarship for your study abroad program. Be sure to check eligibility criteria and deadlines carefully, and apply for as many scholarships as possible to increase your chances of receiving funding.

3. Search For National And International Scholarships

In addition to the scholarships offered by your school, you may want to explore scholarships available on a national or international level. There are many scholarship opportunities available for students studying abroad in specific fields or who belong to specific demographic groups.

Scholarships for specific fields are often sponsored by professional organizations, corporations, or foundations. These scholarships are designed to encourage students to pursue a career in a particular field and often require the recipient to work in that field after graduation. Some examples of scholarships for specific fields include the Gilman International Scholarship Program, which offers funding for students pursuing careers in STEM fields, and the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program, which supports students pursuing careers in foreign service or international affairs.

Scholarships for specific demographic groups are available to students who belong to a particular group, such as women, minorities, or individuals with disabilities. These scholarships are designed to help level the playing field and provide opportunities to underrepresented groups. Some examples of scholarships for specific demographic groups include the Diversity Abroad Scholarship, which supports students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in studying abroad, and the NAFSA Scholarship Program, which provides funding for students with disabilities who want to study abroad.

When searching for national and international scholarships, it's important to do your research and check eligibility criteria and deadlines carefully. Remember that scholarships can come from a variety of sources, including universities, organizations, and foundations. It's worth taking the time to explore all of your options and apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for. With a little effort and some perseverance, you can find the perfect scholarship to fund your study abroad program.

4. Check Eligibility Criteria And Deadlines Carefully

Before applying for any scholarship, take time to thoroughly check the eligibility criteria and deadlines. Eligibility criteria may vary depending on the scholarship, but common requirements include academic achievement, financial need, and language proficiency.

Deadlines are critical, and missing them could mean missing out on the scholarship altogether. Keep a calendar or set reminders to ensure you submit your application on time.

It is also crucial to note that some scholarships may require additional documents or essays. Take the time to carefully review all application requirements before submitting your application.

If you have any questions about the scholarship or application process, reach out to the scholarship provider for clarification. Do not assume anything, as it could result in a rejected application.

Remember, applying for a scholarship requires effort and time, but the rewards can be significant. With careful research and attention to detail, you can increase your chances of securing a scholarship to support your study abroad program.

Scholarship Programs To Look Out For

Scholarships Offered By Universities, Organizations, And Foundations

When it comes to finding scholarships for your study abroad program, one of the first places to look is universities, organizations, and foundations. These entities often offer scholarships to students pursuing specific fields of study or who meet certain demographic criteria.

Here are some examples of scholarships that universities, organizations, and foundations may offer:

i. Gates Scholarship: A highly competitive, full-ride scholarship funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, awarded to outstanding minority students with leadership potential.

ii. Coca-Cola Scholars Program: This scholarship program recognizes high-achieving high school seniors who demonstrate leadership, service, and a commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

iii. Google Scholarships: Google offers various scholarships to students pursuing degrees in computer science, technology, or related fields. Examples include the Google Women Techmakers Scholarship and the Google Lime Scholarship for Students with Disabilities.

iv. Adobe Creativity Scholarships: Adobe provides scholarships to creative students pursuing careers in the arts, design, film, animation, or related fields.

v. PEO International Peace Scholarship: This scholarship is offered by the PEO Sisterhood, this scholarship supports women from other countries pursuing graduate study in the United States and Canada.

vi. The Rhodes Scholarship: One of the most prestigious international scholarships, the Rhodes Scholarship funds postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford. It is awarded to exceptional students from various countries.

vii. The Fulbright Program: This is a program that offers scholarships to international students to study in the United States and for U.S. students to study abroad. It promotes cultural exchange and understanding.

viii. The Soros Foundation/Open Society Foundations: These foundations offer various scholarships, fellowships, and grants to support students and researchers around the world, particularly those engaged in promoting open societies and human rights.

ix. Rotary Foundation Global Grants: Rotary International provides scholarships and grants for graduate-level study and research in fields that promote peace, education, health, and sustainable development.

x. Erasmus Mundus Scholarships: The Erasmus Mundus program, funded by the European Union, offers scholarships for international students to pursue joint master or doctoral programs across European universities.

xi. Commonwealth Scholarships: It is administered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, these scholarships are awarded to students from Commonwealth countries for study in other Commonwealth countries. They cover a wide range of disciplines.

xii. Asian Development Bank-Japan Scholarship Program: This program provides scholarships for students from Asian countries pursuing postgraduate studies in economics, business, science, and technology, or other development-related fields.

xiii. Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program: Stanford University's prestigious scholarship program that funds graduate studies across various disciplines, with a focus on developing a community of future global leaders.

xiv. The Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs: The Ford Foundation offers various fellowships to support individuals pursuing research, academic careers, and social justice work in areas such as education, arts, human rights, and economic equity.

xiv. The Soros Justice Fellowships: These fellowships, offered by the Open Society Foundations, support individuals working on criminal justice reform and social justice initiatives in the United States.

Overall, universities, organizations, and foundations can be a great resource for finding scholarships for your study abroad program. Don't hesitate to reach out to these institutions and inquire about any scholarship opportunities they may offer. Also, note that the availability, criteria, and application deadlines for these scholarships may vary. You are advised to visit their respective websites for detailed information on each scholarship program, including eligibility requirements and application procedures.

Scholarships For Specific Demographic Groups

Some scholarships are designed for specific demographic groups such as women, minorities, international students, and veterans. These scholarships are often created to provide financial support and increase diversity in higher education.

For example, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is designed for students who receive Federal Pell Grants and come from diverse backgrounds. The scholarship aims to encourage students to study abroad in non-traditional destinations and to diversify the students who study abroad.

The Fulbright Program offers a variety of scholarships for different groups, including the Fulbright-Hays Program for U.S. citizens and permanent residents who want to study overseas and the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship for students who want to tell compelling stories about their travels abroad.

Other scholarships may be designed for specific majors, such as the National Black Nurses Association Scholarship Program, or for students pursuing a specific career path, such as the Traveling Salesman Problem Fellowship for students studying mathematics.

Below is the list of some scholarship programs reserved for specific demographic groups:


  • AAUW (American Association of University Women) Fellowships and Grants
  • PEO Program for Continuing Education
  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships
  • Women Techmakers Scholars Program by Google
  • Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship for Women in Aerospace


Underrepresented Minorities:

  • United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Scholarships
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) Scholarships
  • Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)
  • American Indian College Fund Scholarships
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarships for African American Students


Students with Disabilities:

  • Google Lime Scholarship Program
  • Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship
  • National Federation of the Blind Scholarships
  • American Foundation for the Blind Scholarships
  • Foundation for Science and Disability Scholarships


First-Generation Students:

  • Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship
  • QuestBridge National College Match Program
  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program
  • I'm First! Scholarship Directory
  • Dell Scholars Program

Military Veterans and Dependents:

  • Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarship
  • Army Emergency Relief Scholarships
  • Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Scholarships
  • Air Force Aid Society Scholarships


International Students:

  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program
  • Chevening Scholarships (UK)
  • Australia Awards Scholarships
  • DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Scholarships
  • Canadian Government Scholarships


Mature or Non-Traditional Students:

  • Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund
  • Imagine America Adult Skills Education Program
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society Scholarships
  • Bernard Osher Foundation Scholarships
  • Back-to-School Scholarships for Adults


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Students:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in STEM
  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships
  • Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program
  • National GEM Consortium Fellowships in STEM Fields
  • Intel Science Talent Search Scholarships


Arts and Humanities Students:

  • National YoungArts Foundation Scholarships
  • Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Scholarships
  • National Association of Pastoral Musicians Scholarships
  • National Society of Arts and Letters Scholarships
  • American Academy in Rome Scholarships for the Arts


List Of Highly Recommended Scholarship Search Engines And Websites For You


1. International Scholarships (internationalscholarships.com): This comprehensive database provides a wide range of scholarships for international students, including undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs across various countries and fields of study.


2. ScholarshipPortal (scholarshipportal.com): A popular platform that offers an extensive database of scholarships for both local and international students. It allows you to search for scholarships based on your country of origin, desired study destination, and academic level.


3. StudyPortals (studyportals.com): Along with its extensive course database, StudyPortals provides a search engine specifically dedicated to scholarships for international students. It offers a user-friendly interface and allows you to filter scholarships based on your desired study destination, academic level, and field of study.


4. The Fulbright Program (fulbrightonline.org): One of the most prestigious scholarship programs, the Fulbright Program offers scholarships for international students to study in the United States. It supports students, scholars, and professionals from around the world and covers a wide range of disciplines.


5. Chevening Scholarships (chevening.org): Funded by the UK government, Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding individuals who wish to pursue a master's degree in the United Kingdom. The website provides detailed information about the scholarship program, eligibility criteria, and application process.


6. DAAD Scholarships (daad.de): The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a variety of scholarships for international students to study in Germany. Their website provides comprehensive information about scholarship programs, research grants, and funding opportunities in Germany.


7. Commonwealth Scholarships (cscuk.dfid.gov.uk): Administered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, the Commonwealth Scholarships are awarded to students from Commonwealth countries for study in the United Kingdom. The website provides details about the scholarship programs available and application guidelines.


8. Erasmus+ Scholarships (ec.europa.eu/programs/erasmus-plus): Erasmus+ is a European Union program that offers scholarships and funding opportunities for students to study abroad within European countries. The website provides information on scholarships, grants, and mobility programs for higher education students.


9. Rhodes Scholarships (rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk): The Rhodes Scholarships are prestigious international scholarships awarded to outstanding students to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford. The website provides information about the scholarship program, eligibility requirements, and the application process.


10. Scholarship-Positions (scholarship-positions.com): This website offers a comprehensive collection of scholarships and financial aid opportunities for international students. It covers scholarships in various countries and academic disciplines, providing regular updates on new scholarship opportunities.


11. International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) (iefa.org): IEFA is an online resource that provides a searchable database of scholarships, grants, and fellowships for international students. It covers a wide range of study destinations and academic disciplines.


12. Fastweb (fastweb.com): Fastweb is a popular scholarship search engine that caters to both domestic and international students. It provides personalized scholarship matches based on your profile and allows you to explore a wide range of scholarship opportunities.

Remember to visit these websites, explore their search features, and create profiles to receive personalized scholarship recommendations based on your qualifications and interests. Additionally, it's recommended to follow their social media channels or subscribe to their newsletters for regular updates on new scholarships and application deadlines.

Read Also: The Cheapest Countries To Get A Quality Education Abroad

Final Thoughts And Additional Resources

Congratulations on taking the first step toward funding your study abroad program! We hope that this guide has provided you with useful information and guidance to help you find the perfect scholarship.

It is important to remember that scholarships are highly competitive, so it is essential to start your search early and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Don't forget to check the eligibility criteria and deadlines carefully, and tailor your application to each scholarship you apply for.

In addition to the tips we have provided, there are many other resources available to help you find the perfect scholarship. Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

  • The U.S. Department of State's EducationUSA website provides information about scholarships, financial aid, and other resources for international students studying in the United States.

  • The Institute of International Education's Study Abroad Funding database is a comprehensive search engine that lists hundreds of study abroad scholarships, grants, and fellowships.

  • The Scholarship Portal is a searchable database of scholarships for international students studying in Europe.

Also, we have more tips on how you can win a study abroad scholarship and land an internship program abroad. Follow the links to find out more. Feel free to share this article with your friends. Good luck with your search for the perfect scholarship!