Scholarship application requires paying attention to details. Different scholarships have their system and requirements, paying attention to detail will help in sieving out important information needed to submit a winning application.
Today, we have a scholar in the house whose detailed responses will open our mind on how he was able to win a scholarship using detailed measures. Lets meet him.
Welcome to honournaija_blog, can we meet you?
I like to introduce myself simply as Ayo. I’m born into a family of five, hailed from Ogun State, Nigeria, where I had my elementary and high school education before finishing my tertiary education as a first class at the department of Chemical Engineering (B.Tech). I’m a Christian. I’m passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of life. I love listening to audiobooks (psychological books) and engaging in activities that motivate me to be more than I was yesterday. I currently live in the United States, studying and working as a Research Assistant among a host of other activities in a world of endless engagement.
Thank you sir. What inspired you to seek scholarship and to study outside Nigeria?
Nigeria inspired me. The reality of graduating into a system of a million graduates who are yet to find a level-playing field was scary. I wanted a different reality. More so, I wanted a grasp of what it feels like to be in a system of cultural and intellectual diversity. I wanted to advance my knowledge and be a specialist in my field–one that is keen to remarkably contribute and challenge the old paradigm of African Engineering Education. Dreaming bigger than my present status quo without the complacency of small success is my everyday driving force–I wear it every day on my sleeve, and it is contagious.
What were the challenges you faced while applying for scholarships?
To be honest, I didn’t see my scholarship journey as a challenge. It is a moving train for me. I just needed to get to the destination. This may be the challenge, the way people are reluctant to mentor me with the requirements of writing various essays, CV editing, and everything that involves humans putting me through one thing or the other. I didn’t dwell too long on that because resources are everywhere. I took the pain to do the research myself, and I soon began to mentor people, laughs! Humans should learn that the only time to look down on people is when we stretch out our hands to bring them up.
True words. Were you rejected?? how did you handle it? share your experience.
A capital YES. I lost count, but I’m always encouraged by the success of others. I knew mine was right at the corner. I only had to focus on improving and learning from possible mistakes because you don’t most of the time know why you were rejected. So, I changed from close-to-deadline submissions of applications to early submissions. I was using my bank’s last penny to pay for application fees while sending emails to professors with open-ended prompts worthy of persuading a reader to reply. It’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster, but passion wins overall.
Great. How did you feel when you got a yes? Share your experience.
At the time I was successfully admitted, I didn’t really feel overly excited because I was searching for funding from my department, plus I’m aware of the circumstances around issuing visas. Finding a funding scholarship and applying for a visa were even a lot more overwhelming. Long story short, I was calm, taking the next step critically. However, the consular’s statement, “I will be issuing you a visa,” was a euphoric experience. She said so many statements after that, but I don’t know what she said to this day.
Interesting. From your experience, what are the needful things to be done before securing a scholarship?
You must be able to use your search engine without being frustrated by the many details to read before figuring out what supporting documents to send, your eligibility status, and application deadlines. Students often miss out on scholarships because the most trivial statements were left unattended. For instance, an application requested a 500-word statement of purpose or essay, and you had sent in 1500 words or assumed an extra 50 words over the requested limit won’t hurt you. Those are professional errors; I don’t encourage them.
Also, you must be willing to spend money on data for constant browsing, get generic scholarship documents like international passports, university transcripts, and WES evaluation results when necessary; write exams like TOEFL and GRE if needed to boost your portfolio. In summary, winning a scholarship requires constant commitment and money, so you must be willing to burn candles at both ends while also saving from a paying job to accommodate those expenses. NYSC monthly allowance can be a good remedy.
Any platform that students can get scholarships from? please share.
I believe the internet is an independent platform for scholarship resources. Just search for scholarships according to your specification. You’ll see hundreds of thousands of options to scroll through, with each giving you one thing or the other to learn. I am not sure I can be specific about one. Honournaija_Blog is one of the internet resources for learning about scholarships. I also have a WhatsApp group platform called “Right_angle_with_Ayo,” where we discuss and assist with scholarship information.
Thank you for recommending honournaija_blog sir. Studying outside Nigeria, how does it feel?? Stressful, tasking or quite with ease? Share your experience.
It is overwhelming but exciting at the same time–a classic type of oxymoron. You definitely will battle with any of these: imposter syndrome, insomnia, cultural difference, and language or accent barrier, to name a few. One of my major challenges is the cold and uneasy access to African food like the MAMA PUT we have at every corner of Nigerian street. I wear thick woodies when it’s considered the hottest because it’s still very cold. You don’t want to leave your house without checking the weather forecast. I’m sure that’s surprising to Nigerians. Who checks the weather App back home? But that’s because you can enter any building/shop in case it rains, which definitely is not the reality here. You must learn to be extremely independent. The good side of studying is the number of opportunities you can benefit from if one is willing to put in the work.
Hmm. What are your words of advice to intending scholarship applicants.??
All will be well in the end. Tough times never last, but tough people do. Never ever back down. History will soon write your name in the book of those who stood their ground to win. Remember to take care of your health and mental wellness as you find purpose, and on a final note with one of my quotes: Your purpose will never make you wake up in a rut; instead, it makes you do your best with the least effort, and most times, you are provoked to find it!!
Academically, what was your experience transcending from elementary school up to the University level?
I grew up in a suburban area where living wasn’t too luxurious, but I sure do have a moderate lifestyle from my supporting parents, who tried in their capacity to provide quality education and the basics of life. I did not attend a top elementary school in my community, but my high school was the best, most competitive, and most decisive part of my academic background. I represented and participated in competitions like the national cowbell mathematics competition and the National Olympiad mathematics competition in high school before graduating as one of the best in my department and faculty for my undergraduate studies.
Nevertheless, I had all those years saddled with the responsibilities of helping my parents in their business line while trying to maintain academic excellence, which was how I developed appreciation for hard work. I never really had to hawk growing up, but living wasn’t quite a first-class way. I had to become a tutor teaching SAT, GRE even TOEFL to get extra cash during my undergraduate days. Trust me; it will be fine in the end.
Thank you for coming. Any word for Honournaija_blog?
Boss, as I fondly call Honournaija_Blog founder, is doing remarkably well in filling the connecting gap between successful scholarship applicants and intending ones. It is critical to have such a platform that brings hope and smiles to people who aspire to tell their stories someday. I encourage applicants to engage with her content for scholarship resources.
Wow, I must say it has been insightful time with you. Thank you so much for giving so much sir. This is duly appreciated sir.