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Education Briefing

British Council
Complied by Ross Hunter, Headmaster,
The English International School

PASSPORT’s sixth Education Briefing comes as the time arrives for 2012 applications. You should have done most of the work by now, and only have the final polishing to do. If you have just decided to apply for 2012, it can be done, but you need to move quickly, and get good help. The clock is now ticking fast. See PASSPORT’s monthly briefings from April onwards for expert advice. July and August focused on help with UCAS. This month’s spotlight is on scholarships and financial aid. Anna’s article is also extremely useful for UCAS and USA applications We welcome feedback and especially articles by experts. Contact anyone in these pages for help.

Calendar of Events – early Autumn

10 Sept 1200-1700 Undergraduate Education Fair, at Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel
16-17 European Education Fair in Novosibirsk
19-23 Social Media Week (Educational Hub), at Strelka and the British Council
26 1800 University of Southampton at The British Council
29 British Education Fair in St Petersburg
1 Oct University of Westminster, London at the British Council
1-2 1200-1800 Education UK Fair, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel
4 1800 University of Exeter open evening, at the British Council
5 1800 Studying in London (King’s College, UCL, LSE), at the British Council
19 Nov Private Schools & Kindergartens Fair, at the Swiss Hotel

Scholarships and financial help for international students

By Rebecca Blake, International Officer, Kingston University London  

The majority of international students studying in the UK fund their studies through their families or private finance. Alternative sources of funding can be found though the local Ministry of Education, UK government, or individual universities.

One of the most well known UK government scholarship schemes is the Chevening programme that funds postgraduate and research scholarships in certain subject fields: www.chevening. com/about/faqs. Many UK universities offer partial scholarships and bursaries for international students on a competitive basis. The British Council holds information about many sources of funding in the UK including their scholarships database: www. Other sources of funding may be found through organisations such as the United Nations or European Commission and the British Council should be able to provide information about schemes available.

What makes a good scholarship application?

By Anna Campbell-Colquhoun, International Officer, University of Westminster

If you’re applying for a scholarship you will be in competition with some of the strongest students in the world. Spend sufficient time on your application so present yourself at your best. Apply only for those scholarships for which you are eligible. Unless you are applying for a particular scholarship, simply and honestly tell the scholarship provider what level of financial aid you need and they will fit the scholarship to you. Make copies of the application form so that you can create a working draft: you will need several efforts to get it right.

The scholarship application form introduces you to the judges. You need to make that introduction as crisp and business- like as possible. The application form must be word processed. Don’t use fancy scripts; stick with standard business fonts. Legibility and neatness are extremely important. Your application may be eliminated if it cannot be easily read. Check, check and re-check for typos. Enlist help: it is very hard to proof-read your own material. Inevitably, your mind’s eye reads what you thought you wrote, not what actually made it onto the page. A fresh reader will catch the words that you missed and find the spelling errors.

Place the requested documents in the package in the order that they are requested. This consistency makes it easier for evaluators to locate information. It’s also simpler for you to check the documents against the list of requirements. Do not send documents that have not been requested.

Make a copy of the full application. It is important to have a complete record of everything you send in exactly the form it was received. Use an envelope that will hold your application without folding it: the application will look much better without creases. Send the application “return receipt requested” or use a courier service that allows you to track the package’s path and verify who signed for it. You need proof that the application was received by the university.

The scholarship application is a paper model of you. Make sure your application is professional and compelling. This is an opportunity for you to speak about yourself. It should show that you have ideas and opinions, are able to think logically, and can express yourself clearly, with economy and elegance. Clear writing comes from clear thinking. First and most important, decide what you want to say. Consider carefully what you wish to impress upon the reader. Make sure that you have answered the question set, many write what they want to say, not what the awarding committee wants to hear. Do not write in a cute, coy, or gimmicky style. Do show that you have thought deeply and broadly about what you have learned in your academic career, what you hope to learn next and how this will help the development of your country upon your return.

When you have written a first draft, start the work of refining, simplifying, and polishing. Do you say exactly what you mean? Is any section, sentence, or word superfluous, ambiguous, or awkward? Are your verbs strong and active? Are you sure that each accomplishment and interest you mention supports one of your main ideas? Do not apologize. Do not misrepresent yourself. Correctness and style are vital. Neatness counts. Check and check again your spelling and grammar. Ask several individuals whose judgment you respect to read and criticise a draft of your essay. Remember, in any application (for a job, grant, graduate school, etc.) the reader wants to know three things: why is it important to you, why it is right for you and why you are right for it. Your application should be built around this message.

English Standards

Bachelors’ Degrees may ask for IELTS of 6, TOEFL or 6.5, TOEFL , and 7.0 for the most competitive, demanding courses.

Master’s degrees for an MBA, for example, may require: Or 6.0 IELTS/ 550/79 TOEFL (or equivalent) plus a pre-sessional English course.

Useful information

UCAS: The umbrella for all UK undergraduate courses. One application form for 5 choices.  

Brian Heap: Author of (UK) University Degree Course Offers – Trotman Press ISBN: 978 1 84455 246 7

British Council: Nikoloyamskaya 1, Moscow, 495 287 1839,,

Matriculation: the start of a course, usually a 3 or 4 year undergraduate degree programme

BA, BSc, BEd, BEng: Bachelor of arts, Sciences, Education, Engineering ... qualification from a first degree (3-4 years)

MA, MSc, MPhil: higher degree, only possible after a BA (etc), taught or by research, usually 1-2 years

MBA: Master of Business Administration. The standard postgraduate qualification for aspiring executives

PhD: Doctor of Philosophy top level research based qualification, in any subject, usually 3-5 years after a BA.

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