8 Common Problems Scholarship Applicants Encounter and How to Fix Them

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by Ikenna Odinaka

Upon regular interaction with scholarship aspirants, you'll get to realise that the most conventional problem potential scholars encounter while seeking financial aid to further their education is not really with finding a scholarship they are eligible to apply for. It's often more of the attitude of approach, and these are problems most of us have to deal with in our daily lives.

There is a vast quantity and quality of free scholarship resources online today, and one could say that all you need, to get relevant scholarship information, is to draw close your keyboard and push fingers. Often times, you don't need to search too deep to find these free information. But why then do students still fall short of scholarship application skills and information? After a long round of emailings and Facebooking, here are some common problems students encounter while aspiring for scholarships to further their education.

Problem 1. Ignorance
Some students are yet to understand the basics of scholarship awards, and jumping into something you have little or no knowledge about can be overwhelming. To be really qualified for any scholarship, you have to thoroughly study and understand the basics of applying for scholarships and the specific details of the particular scholarship award you are applying to. Taking time to learn about the scholarship awarding institution or Foundation you are applying to, will surely encourage you to do better. Ignorance breeds fear and the result of fear is often mediocrity. These scholarship providers and reviewers took their time to prepare and make the information available to you. So You owe them the time to make extensive use of the resources.

Problem 2. Indecision
'Where do I start from?' could be a common question on your head when you come across scholarship(s) to apply for. It can be confusing, really. Especially when you come across a wealth of available applications and digestible information. To deal with the problem of choice, start by asking yourself and determining what you really want out of scholarship awards. Do I need additional income to make up for my available finance? Am I in need of a full fee scholarship? How soon do I need a scholarship?
Asking such questions and having an answer to it should motivate you to go after the scholarship programs that suits your preference.

Problem 3. Procrastination
This also comes in handy when obsessed with indecision, but it can be dealt with. You first have to make the decision that you really need a scholarship to further your education. Use that desire to follow through every necessary requirement and complete every task at hand. The free money involved in scholarship awards deserve a level of eagerness on your part as a candidate. It have been written and re-written that the best strategy to preparing for scholarship money is to start early. This will make things a lot easier.

Problem 4. Self Doubt
You've read through those long pages of Eligibility and Selection Criteria, and Feel like, 'no way, I don't have a chance to qualify on this one', 'I'm not any good at writing, let alone a competitive essay', 'there are better candidates to qualify for this', 'No. I'm from Africa. African students have little chances at winning international scholarships'. All these thoughts are likely to come naturally without your permission and are often breed on the platform of ignorance (Problem 1). But the truth is that most past scholarship winners felt the same way initially. On the issue of national inferiority, thousands of students from Africa and other 'Developing Countries', are awarded scholarships annually around the world. The only reason you should rule out a scholarship award is ineligibility and under-qualification, not self-doubt, as long as it still falls within deadline, any way. Another way to deal with self doubt is early preparation.

Problem 5. Late Preparation
You don't wake up one bright morning after your first degree and decide you need a scholarship to further your postgraduate studies, by the end of the year. Scholarship awards are highly competitive and deserve early preparation. Some scholarship award requirements like excellent academic performance, demonstrated Leadership skills, volunteerism, work experience, organizational membership etc, are qualifications that are developed over time. Start early to build your profile and you'll have vast opportunities to claim your deserved scholarship award(s). But if time is no longer on your side to start building these qualities, you can still find scholarships that are based on financial needs. You should then work on your essay writing skills and other tangible requirements. A well prepared application can go a long way.

Problem 6. Dealing with Deadlines
How do you manage scholarship application deadlines? Do your personality require longer time to produce an excellent application? Is time often short to prepare your application? Then make a plan to Start early. Most scholarship awards duration/deadlines fall within the same period of the year. You can make a list of scholarship programs that suits you, and plan ahead for the next application. At least, you'll no longer be caught on awares.

Problem 7. Arrogance
This may sound a bit unnecessary but it's worth mentioning. It's human to some times want to feel like you've already learnt all you need about a subject, especially when you have put some time and resources to it, but, we all could use some help at one time or the other. Like with writing a scholarship essay, a work that looks good to the writer could be a flaw to another. Seeking a second opinion will do you more good than harm. You have to accept that you don't know it all, then seek for assistance from someone who could know better. This does not imply that you surrender the entire work to some body else; you should know what I mean.

Problem 8. Lack of Resources
There is no doubt that students in some developing countries still face the problem of access to information, like access to the internet, where to find available awards, what it really takes to apply for these scholarships. If you find yourself in this category, you can still overcome these problems. There are books online and offline that are well written to educate and guide you through your scholarship hunt. These books are either free or sold. You just have to make out time to buy or download a few and get yourself equipped. Your education deserve to be invested in, let alone a free education.

Ikenna Odinaka researches and publishes information about scholarship and study for international students from Africa on www.afterschoolafrica.com You can download his free scholarship eBook for African Students - The Scholarship MasterPlan-