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Scholarships for International Students


Sample guide

General advice

  • Many universities have specific scholarships – eg. the Clarendon at Oxford, the Chancellor’s Scholarship at Warwick, and so on.
  • Most scholarships require certified or original copies of academic transcripts. Be sure to order these at least two weeks before the application is due. When you collect your transcripts, ensure that all of the correct information is there. Pay particular attention to awards and scholarships, which are often left off transcripts due to glitches in the system.
  • All scholarships will require references. Be sure to give ample warning to your referees, and where possible have the reference styled to the scholarship you are applying to. Remember that where references are submitted online, your referees must submit their write-ups before the deadline: that you have submitted your reference and given their name is generally not enough.
  • Take careful note of the terms of your scholarships. Most scholarships require the student to return to South Africa for a period of time after the completion of their degree (usually this is for no less than a year, sometimes it’s for a period equal to that for which you were funded). In most cases, this return can be delayed if you convert your MA to a PhD. Sometimes it can also be delayed if you take up a Post-Doctoral position. However, you will still have to return to South Africa before you take up a paying position in the country in which you have studied. Some organizations are far stricter about this than others.
  • If you receive extra funding – for example, if the university that you will be attending gives you a fees waiver – your scholarship pay-out will usually be reduced accordingly. For instance, if you receive a scholarship for up to R200 000, but Yale or Oxford agrees to give you a fees waiver to the value of R90 000, you will usually only receive R110 000 from your scholarship. Adjust your calculations for living expensed accordingly.
  • Many students make it overseas with a combination of scholarships. While you can’t hold the ‘big’ scholarships such as Skye, Flanagan and Commonwealth simultaneously, you can often receive funding from, for example, the Wits Local Scholarship, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and NRF simultaneously, so long as each body is cognisant of this fact.
  • If you have to write a test for an overseas scholarship of university – the US GRE, for example – ensure that you revise so you’re not caught out.
  • Apply for everything, and give yourself sufficient time to write the personal motivations; they always take longer than you think.