When applying for a bursary, focus on your top achievements and remember it’s about quality, not quantity.
The question of how to get your bursary application at the top of the pile and beat the competition has never been more important. Keep these points in mind, and follow our advice to create an application that wins hearts.
Your application will get judged by people who don’t know you
When applying for a bursary, keep in mind that you’re possibly competing with tons of other applicants. Your marks might also be difficult to judge if they’re not sure of how to measure them against other students. Focus on your top achievements such as outstanding research or essay work – remember, it’s about quality, not quantity.
Write a letter of motivation
This gives you the chance to motivate why you should be the successful candidate. Include details like who you are, why you want to study the course you've chosen, what qualities will help you be successful in your studies and what you see yourself doing when you have the degree. Keep your letter short, but use a professional tone. After you've written it, give it to a teacher, a tutor or someone who can help you identify whether it needs work or is acceptable for submission.
1. Craft a CV
Some bursary applications require a CV which is why you should take your time to craft a well-thought out CV. If you've had a few part time jobs – great, list them. But if you have little to no work experience (which is the case with most students) don’t worry about it too much. Rather use you CV to punt your achievements or awards you've received.
2. Be selective with the activities and awards you include
While it’s important that you include activities and special awards on your CV, only include the relevant ones. Look at your list and decide which of those highlight your best attributes and exclude the rest.
3. Include a recommendation letter (or two)
Ask a teacher or an advisor who knows your capabilities and your background to write a letter of recommendation. Make sure they link your academic achievements and/or leadership abilities to your field of interest and include why they think you are the ideal candidate for the job. Recommenders are meant to know your abilities well, so ensure that your letter highlights your successes – academically and in your extramural activities.
4.How should you ask for a recommendation letter?
The important thing with a letter of recommendation is not to rush it. Once you've identified one or two people who you would like to be a recommender, chat to them about your letter. Tell them what you would like to study and why you need to apply for a bursary. This will help your recommender with the structure and content of the letter.
Give him or her as much detail as possible about the course you want to study to study and also why you think you’re a great candidate for the application – use your marks and achievements to motivate for a good letter. Also, give them enough time to write a letter worth considering; don’t wait for the last minute and expect them to agree.
5. Proofread and eliminate all mistakes
A strong application is one without spelling and grammar mistakes. Use your computer’s spell check and ask an English teacher to read through your application before submitting it. A second set of eyes might see mistakes that you've unintentionally overlooked.
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