Funding is one of the major concerns of international students especially when you come from low-income countries. There are different scholarships that can ease the financial burden of getting an undergraduate degree. Each of these scholarships has its own requirements, amount, and duration. One of the beautiful things about schooling in the U.S. is the fact that things considered trivial can be recognized and appreciated. Even if your grades are not stellar, you can still get a scholarship.

Besides the financial implication of scholarships, they also look good on your CV as it highlights a strength that may not have been recognized. It is important to do your due diligence and exhaust all available information on scholarships for your prospective institution. It is also advisable to contact your prospective faculty advisor as well because some of these scholarships are not on the radar so it may be quite difficult to locate them. Your faculty advisor will also guide you through the application process and may give you some cues that will help you to be competitive.

As always, the importance of a detailed essay cannot be overemphasized. Including everything relevant to your education is always necessary, you never know which “unannounced” scholarship you are eligible for. When applying for scholarships also look up the terms and conditions for beneficiaries e.g., some scholarships cannot be combined with others. 

The different types of scholarships include:

Merit Academic Scholarships:

It is for students in the top percentile of their class. High GPA, high SAT/ACT, and TOEFL/IELTS scores and an excellent essay are important. Some schools also consider leadership positions and volunteer work. Merit scholarships are very competitive and they cover most or all expenses. Undergraduate applicants are eligible so beneficiaries have it added to their admission package.

Need-based Scholarships:

This type of scholarship is common in Ivy league schools. Students applying to these institutions are usually outstanding but some may not be able to attend because of the high cost of tuition. Need-based scholarships help these students achieve their dream of studying at that institution. One criterium for this scholarship is for applicants to demonstrate financial need by submitting a statement of their parents’ income which is then compared to a set standard.

Athletic Scholarships:

This award is accorded to students who excel at their sport as a way of recruiting to the varsity teams in addition to helping students pay for their education. Students typically have to show a track record of athletic excellence.

Talent Scholarships:

It seeks to appreciate various talents such as theatre, music, media, arts, etc. Applicants for this scholarship typically have to submit evidence of these talents e.g., videos, voice notes, portfolios, etc. and may be auditioned as well. 

Disability Scholarships:

The world in general is structured to the needs of able people. Some private and federal organizations have decided to award scholarships to college students with disabilities like autism, dwarfism, visual disability, psychological disorders, deafness, mobility disability, etc. These disabilities are typically verified by a licensed organization before the scholarship can be awarded.

Diversity Scholarships:

As the name implies, this scholarship aims at creating a community of students that are dissimilar but are unified in their pursuit of excellence. This scholarship supports people of a minority group such as a particular gender, race, religion, or other demographic characteristics. Most of the time, Africans are eligible for this scholarship.

Private Scholarships:

A lot of the aforementioned scholarships also fall under this category if they are given by private entities. Private scholarships are given by individuals, alumni, corporations, NGOs, etc. They are usually given to students who reflect the awarder’s interest.

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