Many of the scholarships, grants and bursaries for university do not require you to actively apply for them; you will automatically be considered for those you are eligible for when you apply to the universities concerned. However there are plenty you do need to apply for and in addition to those offered by specific universities, there are also over one thousand trusts in the UK which make grants to students for educational purposes. Making your application relevant will play a part in the success or failure of your application. So how do you go about it?
When applying for a scholarship, grant or bursary, remember the awarding body will receive many applications and they will be looking for the applicants that best fit their eligibility criteria, so the first stage in making applications for grants and scholarships is to find the schemes to which you are best suited.
Finding the right funding for your studies
Throughout the UK there are hundreds of grant making trusts which have been set up for a specific purpose. You will find the major educational trusts on our database, but there are also a whole host of others that make grants for specific purposes.
Some examples are
• where you live
• your financial circumstances
• what your parents or sometimes other relatives do for a living
• any illnesses or disabilities you may have
• any special interests, activities or hobbies such as music, sport, drama
• religion or ethnicity
• whether you are the first in your family to attend university
• any circumstances which present you with particular barriers to education
Make a list of your strengths, abilities or personal circumstances which you feel may make you eligible.
Once you are clear about what types of scholarships, grants and bursaries you are looking for, you can start your search on our scholarship database. The opportunities listed here cover all universities and companies which are currently offering funding options to UK undergraduates. You can search based on your university choices, the subjects you wish to study, or on the criteria for selection. So if you are good at sports, why not look for all the sporting scholarships and one may be so good, it will make you want to apply to that particular university.
We also cover some educational trusts with more generic eligibility criteria and these are listed under “No Specific University”, but there are over a thousand grant making trusts in the UK, with different selection criteria and you might be eligible for some of them.
You can find details of all these in The Guide to Educational Grants, published by The Directory for Social Change. It is an expensive publication to buy but it is usually available as a reference book in public libraries. Alternatively, why not find out more about our membership benefits, which will give you online access to an additional database of 3,500 charities and trusts as well as many other tools and resources to help you in your search.
Tailor your application to each awarding body
In most cases, a generic application will not work for you. You will need to tailor your letter or application to meet the specific eligibility criteria stated and clearly show how you meet those criteria. It is a bit like applying for a job, you need to show the person, who is likely to be looking through lots of applications, exactly how and why you are eligible and would benefit from their grant. It may feel a bit like you are stating the obvious in some cases, but by doing so you will be making the job easier for the person sifting through the applications and not leaving it up to them to draw conclusions.
If you are asked for a reference from a teacher or someone else who knows you, make sure each reference is also relevant to the specific application.
It might take a bit of hard work to find the right grants for you and to tailor each application to the specific grant, but the effort you put in could mean you are able to get extra funding for your degree that does not need to be paid back.