Rosemary reflects on her Scholarship Application Experience
For many international students, especially from Africa, the graduate school dream is not just about getting into a top school but about getting substantial scholarships for their program of choice. This was the exact position I was in in 2021 when I decided the next best course for me was to get a master’s degree in the UK in 2022.
Considering the value of the Ghana Cedi to the Great Britain Pound, self-funding my studies was not an option for me therefore I set out to find fully funded opportunities I could explore. I came across a number of them like the Commonwealth scholarship, the Chevening Scholarship and even the Government of Ghana Scholarship Secretariat award. Although very substantial scholarships, my desire to gather some international experience after my master’s program meant that I couldn’t go in for those as they had a requirement to return to one’s home country right after the program.
While scrolling through YouTube one evening, my joy knew no bounds when I came across an interview of a group of Ghanaians who had studied at the University of Manchester on full scholarships. Right there and then, I knew my search had come to an end. I listened as they explained the application process for the Global Development Institute (GDI) Merit Award, and it sounded too good to be true. Unlike many scholarships that require separate admission and scholarship applications, the GDI Merit Award requires just one application. The simple application process alone was impressive, but discovering upon further research that the selection criteria went beyond academic achievements and encompassed leadership and service experience was the true cherry on the cake, elevating the application to a whole new level of excellence.
With new found joy and eagerness, I started putting together my application documents. With only three individuals from Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda set to be awarded the coveted Global Development Institute Merit Award, I knew that the competition would be beyond fierce. However, I was determined to take on the challenge and showcase my unparalleled drive and potential. From meticulously reviewing my academic transcripts, reaching out to potential references and crafting an inspiring personal statement, to ensuring that my CV perfectly reflected my skills and achievements, I gave my absolute best to the application process. Every step of the way, I was guided by the knowledge that this was a rare opportunity to join a select group of game-changers in the field of global development. I also reached out on LinkedIn, to one of the Ghanaians who had received the scholarship the previous year to gather more insights on how to make my application outstanding. However, the process was not without its rewards. As I saw my application taking shape, I felt a growing sense of pride and accomplishment.
After all was said and done, I submitted my application and patiently waited for the outcome. When I learned that I had been chosen as the sole recipient of the GDI Merit Award for the 2022/2023 academic year, I was absolutely thrilled. It was a testament to the countless hours I had put into my application, and a validation of my passion for making a meaningful impact on the world.
Written by current student, Rosemary