How to get Scholarship for MS in USA
Studying abroad is a life changing experience and full of opportunities but one cannot deny the fact that with all the airfare, tuition, housing, food, and medical expenses, it is an expensive affair.
However, the cost of studying abroad depends on factors such as which country you are planning to study in or which university you are attending.
But one thing that can greatly help you ease your financial burden while still pursuing your dream of studying abroad is by attaining Scholarships.
Types of US Scholarships
There are various types of scholarships available for both domestic and international students such as:
- Merit or academic scholarships
- Need-based scholarships, etc.
Merit-based Scholarships are awarded to students who have done exceptionally well in their academic and educational frontiers. Rewarding such students with financial assistance helps them achieve their dreams and results in a fulfilling career.
On the other hand, need-based scholarships are awarded to students who have a financial need. Taking in to account the applicants’ family income and the grades, these scholarships are provided to them so that financial woes do not cause hindrance in achieving their dreams.
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One of the flagship exchange scholarship of the United States of America for MS is:
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program
It enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists from across the world to study and conduct research in the United States. Approximately 4,000 international students receive Fulbright scholarships each year. This program is open to international students in all fields excluding medicine.
In fact, it is one of the largest exchange scholarship programs in the world, operating in more than 160 countries. This scholarship covers your tuition fee, textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance.
Eligibility Criteria for Scholarship in USA:
Here are some smart tips to keep in mind that will help you bag scholarships in the USA:
1. Apply for Scholarships before the deadline-
As most obvious as it sounds, many international students fail to apply for scholarships. They spend a lot of time in preparing for GMAT/ GRE, shortlisting universities that comprehends their profile and writing perfect winning essays that they forget to apply early for the sake of scholarships.
One of the biggest myths that students have regarding scholarships is that university admission deadlines and scholarship deadlines are the same. However, this is not the case always. In many cases, the two deadlines differ. Depending on the school, the deadlines may vary. In fact, in some cases, scholarship deadlines maybe two months earlier than the admissions deadline.
So, plan your timeline well and avoid missing any deadlines to be considered for scholarships.
2. Meet the Eligibility Criteria-
Well, there are several scholarships available in The USA for international students and every scholarship is different. They have their own different eligibility criteria and requirements.
So, in order to be considered for any kind of scholarship, you need to meet the requirements first. For example: Some scholarships require the applicant to be applying to US universities for the first time. So, if you do not meet this requirement, you will not be eligible to apply for the scholarship at first.
Some basic eligibility criteria that most scholarships for MS in USA demand are:
- An undergraduate degree from a recognized university
- Fluency in the English language
- Academic excellence or professional achievements
- Be able to demonstrate maturity, independence and integrity
So, make sure that you research well about the scholarships at your target universities and find out whether you meet the eligibility criteria or not.
3. Ask your target schools about scholarships-
This is one thing many students hesitate to do. Always ask your target schools or universities about the availability of scholarships, its eligibility criteria, application process and the deadlines. No matter how comprehensive your research is, there are always chances that the school provides you additional details that you may not find anywhere else.
You can simply email the school asking them for help on scholarships and they will most definitely be happy to help you out.
4. Class 10th or 12th grades Do Not matter-
Here we are, busting the myth for you. Class 10th, 11th or 12th grades DO NOT matter. Most of the US universities only consider your undergraduate or bachelor’s percentage for making admission and scholarship decision. Honestly, what you did 4-5 years ago hardly matters to the Admission Committee. They realize that you were not mature enough at the time and thereby screwed up your grades. However, universities do ask for your grades but they do not take them very seriously. So, your academic excellence is based on your undergraduate GPA. Some universities look at your GPA across every semester or year and total aggregate GPA across all four years.
So, if you are thinking to not apply for scholarships just because of your low grades at higher secondary, you are making a mistake. Go ahead and submit your application.
5. GMAT/ GRE scores are Important-
Academic profile is very important for the Adcom while making scholarship decision. Students appear for standardized tests such as GMAT or GRE when applying for their study abroad and the scores of these exams hold a huge weightage for attaining a scholarship.
Although, alone numbers do not define your ability, but they are considered to make an initial decision. Having a good test score will significantly increase your chances of getting a scholarship. Wondering what is a good GMAT or GRE score? Well, 700+ GMAT score or 320+ GRE score is exemplary.
But even if you have a low score, it is not a total dealbreaker. You can compensate for it by highlighting other aspects of the profile.
6. Showcase Leadership and Volunteering skills-
Leadership and Volunteering skills are the biggest add-on in your application and give you a competitive advantage over others. Moreover, these skills are weighed significantly by universities when considering students for scholarships.
Leaders are people who direct and influence others in a positive way. A typical leadership skill would be serving as the president of the class or an organization. It could take other forms such as leading a project or being a sports captain at your undergraduate level, etc.
Volunteering, on the other hand, includes any kind of service you do for the betterment of the society. You could join any social cause such as human rights, women empowerment, etc or take initiative in organizing campaigns such as blood donation drives, teaching the underprivileged, etc.
It is these skills that set you apart from the crowd or peers who have a similar profile like yours.
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7. Prove your proficiency in English Language-
For being eligible for any kind of scholarship in the US, you need to be proficient in the English language. Your fluency is measured by standardized exams such as TOEFL or IELTS.
Although, both the exams are widely accepted across the world but TOEFL is more commonly accepted in US universities. So, it is always recommended to have a good TOEFL score for bagging a scholarship to top US universities.
8. Achievements, Publications, and Recognitions matter a lot-
Any kind of achievements, publications, or Recognition is very important for scholarships in the USA, especially whether academically or professionally. Examples of achievements and recognitions could be: Being amongst the top 5 in class, winning any kind of research or sports competitions, writing research papers and getting published, receiving awards for the top employee at work, etc.
Such achievements in your profile help strengthen your scholarship application. You could also use your good deeds done towards the society as part of your social volunteering to get recognized in college or community. However, remember that mere boasting about this does not work. You will have to provide documentations that will act as an evidence of all such achievements.
9. Put forward strong Scholarships Essays or Statement of purpose-
Suppose, your profile has everything that it takes to attain a scholarship but how will the school know about it? That is where, scholarship essays or statement of purpose come in. Most of the scholarships ask you to write an essay on why should they give a scholarship to you when they have thousands of other applicants of similar profiles to choose from, what makes you unique.
Here, you have to explain your story along with your goals and provide in-depth information about yourself. You can go beyond your traditional profile and bring to the table the person behind the application. Explain to the provider why you deserve a scholarship, showcase your skills and sketch out a plan you will follow to accomplish your goals. Highlight as to how a scholarship can make all the difference and thereby make your career bright.
The key to writing a perfect winning scholarship essay is to be genuine. DO NOT copy and paste from others’ profiles. The scholarship providers get to know in a minute when you are talking real and when you have copied and this can then raise a red flag towards you. You can, of course, read other essays to get an idea but always come up with your own thoughts and words.
If need be, you can also add any financial woes that you may have and how a scholarship can help remove unnecessary burden on you and your family.
Also, essays or statement of purpose comes with a word limit and you have to strictly adhere to it.
10. Recommendation Letters play a crucial Role-
Some scholarships demand for recommendation letters as a proof of your character and achievements. These recommendations could be from your college professors or anyone who you report to at work. A good recommendation letter includes your academic achievements, leadership and people skills, and your passion to achieve your goals.
Know, recommendations can be a tie-breaker. So, find someone who knows you well and can give you a good recommendation.
Some Scholarships for MS in the USA for Indian Students
- Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship
- Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships
- Go clean Scholarships
- Global Study Awards
- Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships
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