Your guide to applying for a scholarship

Student working on a laptop

The first time I came across the word ‘scholarship’, it was when the protagonist in an American teen movie received one, which meant they could finally study at the college they’d dreamed of since they were little. So, it’s easy to think of them as things that exist in a fictional world.

But they’re actually a very real part of university life right here in the UK, and they offer a wide range of benefits to students who receive them, from lightening the financial load and improving employability to providing well-deserved recognition for hard work. But how do you go about getting one?

We spoke to Joe Bulmer from Teesside University’s scholarships team to get the inside scoop on what can give your application the edge…

Joe Bulmer

Guest blog: Joe Bulmer 

As Donor Relations Officer, Joe oversees Teesside University’s scholarship portfolio and works directly with those who are looking to sponsor an award.

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is a financial award which is given to a student in order to recognise their talents, celebrate their potential and support them through their studies.

There is a wide variety of scholarships available at Teesside University, ranging from thousands of pounds to tuition fee waivers. Scholarship awards are usually paid directly to successful applications, and they don’t need to be paid back like a student loan.

Why should I apply for one?

Why not? You never know until you try, and we have a huge range of scholarships available, so you have a good chance of being accepted. 

There are a number of benefits to receiving a scholarship. First, let’s talk finances. The bursaries can be a huge help when it comes to managing your money, especially with rising living costs. For some students, it can be the difference between having to take on a part-time job and spending that additional time on your studies. 

Aside from that, receiving a scholarship is a really big deal. It shows that someone out there has connected with your story, wants you to do well and believes in you enough to support your education financially. It’s an achievement that successful applicants should be extremely proud of. 

Scholarships can even help you long after you’ve finished your studies. It looks great on your CV and shows prospective employers that you are hardworking and committed.  

Where should I start if I’m applying for a scholarship?

The best place to start is by visiting the scholarship pages on our website. That’ll give you an idea of which opportunities are available and how you can apply.

What kinds of scholarships are available?

Teesside University offers a range of scholarships, and our portfolio is always growing thanks to the generosity of our donors and the successes of our scholars.

There are high-profile sport scholarships like the Beth Mead and George Friend Scholarships, subject-specific awards such as the Dr Ken Home Scholarship for undergraduate engineering students and special international opportunities such as the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship to name a few.

You can find more of our undergraduate, postgraduate and international student scholarships on the website.

There are so many options. How do I know which scholarship is right for me?

Look for opportunities which are being offered for your year group, course or area of study. Each scholarship has eligibility criteria which you must meet in order to be considered. Specific details are available on individual scholarship pages, so make sure you check these before applying.

How do I apply?

Once you’ve found a scholarship which you are eligible for, you can apply on the website. You will be taken to an online form which will collect your details and ask specific questions about why you’d like to be considered.

The vast majority of our scholarships are open for applications now (March 2024), however you should check the website for any exceptions and deadlines.

Notebook and keyboard

What makes a good application?

If you’re wanting to apply for a scholarship but aren’t sure where to start or what to include, we have some suggestions which can help you to take your application to the next level…

Draft your ideas. Starting out in a separate document can help you to get your initial ideas down, plan what you want to say in each section and move things around easily. Then, when you come to complete the application form, your answers will feel more organised.

Be honest. This is your chance to communicate with the judging panel and the scholarship donor, so let us know who you are, what you’ve done, why you’re passionate about your studies and what you want to achieve in the future. 

Give examples. For example, if you’re applying for a photography scholarship and you tell us that you’ve worked on photoshoots before, tell us what they were for and why you enjoyed them. 

Proofread. I know it can feel like the last thing you want to do when you finally come to the end of a piece of work, but checking your application for typos and errors ensures that it looks considered and professional. You can make use of the spell check tool in Microsoft Word or ask a friend to give it a read.

How will I find out if I’ve been successful?

The scholarships team will reach out to congratulate you and let you know what happens next. Every scholarship is different, but applicants will generally hear if they’ve been successful in November.

How is the scholarship paid?

Payments will be made in the January after you’ve been awarded your scholarship. If you’re due to receive support throughout your course, you can expect further payments at the start of each academic year.

Fee waiver scholarship awards will be deducted from your tuition fee total.

It’s worth noting that successful applicants will need to enrol on the course to receive the award. Continuing payments are also dependent on you progressing with your course.

What should I spend the money on if I’m successful?

That’s entirely up to you. Some students use their scholarship money to support general living costs, others use the money to purchase specialist equipment which can help to improve the quality of their work. 

Want to know more about building a successful scholarship application? Check out our top tips video…

We wish you the best of luck with your applications. If you have any questions or require support while completing your application, get in touch with our Development team.

Author: Lauren

Since completing her undergraduate studies in Journalism at Teesside University, Lauren has taken on the role of Communications Assistant (Content Production). She knows a thing or two about student life, as she’s currently working towards achieving her master’s degree at the University.

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