While prepping for admission to any university abroad, there’s no getting away from the fee question. How much will it cost? The fact that a foreign education costs big bucks is no secret—it can set you back anywhere between $70-80,000 a year for a four-year undergraduate program in the US and £25-30,000 a year for three years in the UK. Given the current exchange rate, that adds up to quite a substantial amount in rupees! So even though, this is a financial milestone that may have been budgeted for, there are ways to ease the burden if you scout around for scholarships and financial aid as part of your application strategy.
How to Make the Cut?
Merit rules! So if you are in the top 1% of your grade, with Combined SAT scores over 1400 and an ACT score above 32, you are definitely in the ‘academic excellence’ eligibility group. If you have graduated from a high-ranking school, that could push your case too. The other strong case is if the scholarship is need-based. If your family is unable to bear the financial cost, they have to show that the funds available are inadequate to pay for the education. If you are a first-generation student, the first in your family who is going to be a graduate, this sheds a completely different light to your application. You will be surprised how supportive schools are for first generation students.
Once you meet the first level of criteria, and given the fact that there are thousands of students applying, a school often looks for what you can add to their institution. Community work and volunteer experience is looked upon very favorably, as it demonstrates your ability to contribute in a meaningful way to the world. Also, good interview and video skills and a USP that sets you apart—a skill, a sport, an interest, unique experience—can give you the edge.
What’s On Offer…
There are many options on the table: full scholarships, financial aid, partial tuition, grants and student loans. The key is to do a lot of research and to be clever in choosing the schools you apply to. The first step is to look for options available at the schools you are looking at already, and then widen your search to subject-specific scholarships (art schools are often generous with their scholarships); program-specific aid and student-specific grants (gender, race etc. can also be criteria). There are several private and government-funded scholarships that are also available for undergraduate students. The more you look, the more you will find.
Some interesting options available for Indian students include The Next Genius Scholarship Program; The Inlaks Foundation scholarships; The Pearsons Scholarships, the Tata Scholarship for Indian students at Cornell University, the NYU Abu Dhabi Scholarship and many more.
Note that student loans are not possible for international students in the US, so search for these options in India. Banks may offer these against financial credibility and collateral. Also, be aware that working to pay off student loans is not always viable for international students as the cost of tuitions is very high, and the jobs are low paying.
Apply to all the scholarships that you are eligible for (it just ups your odds in this numbers game!). And customize your resume/covering letter/scholarship essay to give you the best shot at selection. Don’t shy away from demonstrating how you feel that the money will be well spent on your education and do express your appreciation for the opportunity provided by it. Get in touch with us at Writers Qi if you want expert advice on maximizing your chances.