This article was originally published on our blog in Spanish. You can find the original article here.
In an earlier entry, we talked about scholarships as the biggest economic support for full-time students, who dedicate themselves in body and soul only to their training. We made it clear that there are more scholarships, much more varied than usually thought, and that they are not only focused on students with the best marks of each promotion, but also on those with a curriculum well adapted to the needs of the application and a little training or extra experience, which may be more than enough to open the door to many opportunities and often a way to continue funding.
However, the route to the scholarships is long and requires that we pay attention, that we are aware of the news and the calls, that we are a little organized and above all that we are prepared, since often the calls have non-renewable deadlines and insufficient time for you to get the paperwork over. So, first, let’s see what we have to do when we find a scholarship to ensure the highest chance of success.
The objective of the call
The first and most important thing to know is the purpose of the call in question, be it a scholarship, a study or research aid, or whatever. Normally, it is the first thing that appears and it is summarized, stating what it is intended for, to whom it is directed and sometimes, the economic endowment and other important considerations.
Only by reading this paragraph of the call will we know what the subject is and whether it is worthwhile to continue reading or simply discard it. Of course, with a large number of scholarships and a great variety of institutions that offer them, there will also be a huge number of scholarships that we will not be able to apply from the beginning. For example, if a foundation such as the CNIO ( National Center for Research in Oncology ) calls for research initiation grants or Master’s studies, we will only need to read the purpose of the call to realize that we need at least to have our academic trajectory focused on the study of cancer. Although in the face of doubt, it is always better to continue reading since they may accept students from the entire branch of Biomedicine, this leads us to the next question.
What are the requirements?
We have read the purpose of the call and, at least apparently, we find it interesting and want to place a request. The next step is to go to a section that is often called “Requirements” or “Applicant Requirements “. That is where we will find described, the profile that the institution seeks when granting the scholarship to one or another applicant.
It is difficult to say exactly what is going to be asked in each call since all are different and even change from one year to another. Generally, in a study or training fellowship the requirements are academic (already obtained studies or course in which the applicant is), training (courses or certificates) and languages (what level is necessary and which languages). In addition, depending on who summons it, there may be other more specific requirements such as not exceeding a certain age, being registered in a certain autonomous community, being of a certain nationality or having studied in a particular university. All this will depend on the scholarship in question.
Usually, the calls are written in a very rigorous format and have been carefully reviewed so if you do not understand something or think it is incomplete, chances are that you have not seen it, or it is in another section. Especially government institutions and companies do not usually leave loose ends when summoning aid that involves an economic outlay.
However, if you still have doubts about whether or not you are eligible for a scholarship, there is usually a telephone or email contact somewhere in the call or on the institution’s page. The person to whom you are referred works to assist the applicants, so you should have no qualms about sending them messages and questions until ALL is resolved. Take advantage of this provision and be careful because a small error in an application (such as sending an uncertified copy when it should have been sealed by the university secretariat) can mean the complete disqualification of the selection process.
What documentation can you ask for?
If you believe that you fulfil all the requirements and you are interested in the scholarship, you only have to go to the “Documentation” section, which describes the files that you will have to send and how to do it, either by mail or – more frequently in recent years – by email. Just as with the requirements, there are series of documents that are usually requested in most cases but can vary widely between calls.
As a non-exhaustive list of documents that you can ask for, we can cite the following: a resume (this is almost always essential and we will talk about how to do it correctly in future posts), copies of your university registration, copies of your titles or diplomas of courses you have attended, copies of your ID or passport, letters of recommendation (we will talk about them very soon), and letters of motivation are some of the many options.
The student’s tailor’s drawer
As you can see, even to apply for a small scholarship to attend a course in another city, you will be asked for at least a résumé, photocopies of your DNI, your academic record and you may even have some copies of other certificates such as registration or the family book. Some of these documents we have. Others need to be written manually and others to be asked for by institutions such as your hometown council. All this process consumes time and patience, especially if it involves going to a civil registry, the police to renew the DNI, the secretariat of your faculty or the bank. Be smart. Once you have a document in your hand, scan it with a good quality scanner and save a copy in a folder on your computer. What’s more, try to keep that folder safe by having another copy on an external disk, a pen-drive or in the cloud.
Little by little, request upon request, you will have a folder that will cost you as little as a small tailor’s box. There you will have already scanned your ID, your university registration, English title … And in general everything, you may need for an application. Each scholarship is different so you will have to do some paperwork many times, but surely you have already done much of the work and even if you find something very late, perhaps a few hours is enough to be on time and request it properly.
We hope these tips will help! Follow the EDUopinions blog for more information, tips on how to write your CV, how to ask for letters of recommendation and more. You can also help other colleagues by leaving your review here. Thank you very much for helping us grow and feel free to comment on this post so we can give you personalized advice whenever possible.