Essential documents for a successful application

Do you want to study abroad for your higher education? You have probably scoured the web for scholarships because international students easily pay double or triple the tuition fees of domestic students. The scholarship application form, however, can be a tricky hurdle for some.

There can be a lot of sections to complete, including attaching relevant supporting documents, which can be a stressful process.

Failing to provide the relevant supporting documents and filling out the scholarship application form incorrectly could cost you the scholarship and your chance to study abroad.

In fact, Chevening, the UK government’s international scholarship scheme, mentions that fill in incorrectly the scholarship application form makes applicants ineligible for the scholarship.

Although the application process or required documents may differ depending on the scholarship you are applying for, here are some common documents that are generally required for your postgraduate scholarship application.

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Winning a scholarship to study here would be a dream come true for many international students. Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America/AFP

Scholarship Application Form: Documents for a Successful Application

The scholarship application form

The most vital document required for you to be considered for a scholarship, your application form must not only be complete but also correctly completed.


First impressions count. What you put forward on your Curriculum Vitae (CV) should set you apart from other applicants. Whatever distinctive accomplishments, qualities, or skills you possess, put them on your resume.

A well-written and well-formatted CV will help attract the attention of the scholarship committee.

Your resume should summarize your academic and professional accomplishments, making it easy for a supervisor to sift through. It should ideally fit on one to two pages and usually consists of the following: education, work experience and research.

Depending on the scholarship you are applying to, a a cover letter may be requested to attach to your CV. The UNU DAAD Scholarship 2022 requires it, for example.

Transcript of records

Along with completing your scholarship application form, providing your transcript is equally important. This gives the selection committee access to the credibility of your qualifications and academic achievements.

Personal statement/statement of intent

According to Fulbright, one of the essential items on their checklist when applying to a Fulbright US Student program is to provide a Personal Statement (otherwise known as a Statement of Purpose).

This gives the selection committee a clear picture of who you are and What motivates you continue their program.

In your personal statement, you should list your career path, interests, personal contributions, goals, and what drives you to pursue a particular scholarship program.

Letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation make it easier for the selection committee to verify what you said about yourself in your personal statement. It will not be written by you, but rather by your employers or professors who will write about your skills and academic achievements.

To get a better idea of ​​what recommendation letters should entail, check out this guide from Pennsylvania State University. It details the specific criteria of what makes a good letter of recommendation for the Fulbright scholarship.

Results of standardized tests

In the United States, standardized test scores are generally considered for admission to graduate schools. This includes the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Providing these scores may be a requirement for some scholarships in the United States.

If you received your bachelor’s degree from a university that did not use English as the language of instruction, you will likely need to submit the score from an English proficiency test such as the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Duolingo English test.

scholarship application form

International students applying for scholarships abroad must ensure that their passport is valid for at least six months after completing their studies abroad. Credit: Anthony Wallace/AFP

Passport or valid ID

Your scholarship application form would not be complete without providing a copy of your passport or identity card. This allows you to travel from your home country and your study destination without any problems.

Most countries have a validity of six months from the end of your studies until keep you from staying too long in the country. Exceeding the length of stay could make your ability to travel more difficult, unless you receive an emergency travel document.

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