A scholarship is a money-based award specifically designated for education-related expenses. Qualification for scholarships depends on the individual scholarship program and awards that can be based on merit, talent, or academic performance. They come in a variety of amounts depending on the tuition fee and location.
This scholarship covers the cost-of-living expenses, accommodation, and sometimes flight. Scholarships are also available through a wide variety of sources, including schools, government, private businesses, foundations, and non-profit organizations.
One of the biggest advantages of scholarships is that you get to keep the money you receive; there is nothing to pay back. An additional bonus is that winning a scholarship feels pretty good! It’s an accomplishment to be selected – especially if you’ve shown talent or achievement.
There are various avenues on how to apply for study abroad with scholarships. You just need to find the right institutions to apply for.
What is a grant?
Grants are gift aid awarded to students often based on financial need. They typically come from the state government, federal government, non-profit organizations, and schools. Grants do not need to be paid back for most students, and the application process is straightforward since eligibility is based on financial need alone.
What is a student loan?
A student loan is money that you borrow with the expectation that you will pay it back, within a deadline laid out by your lender. Students can borrow money through federal student loans, which are issued by the government, or private student loans, which are issued by non-government entities like banks and credit unions.
To qualify for a private student loan, you’ll need to demonstrate your ability to pay the loan back, usually with a cosigner. While it’s never fun to owe money, it does help you establish a credit history.
This will help when you apply for credit cards and other types of loans in the future (like a car loan or a mortgage). In addition to paying back the amount you borrow; you will need to pay interest on that amount. Interest is essentially the cost of borrowing money and is calculated as a percentage. Interest rates on student loans tend to be much lower than the interest rates on personal loans.
Popular scholarship search databases
The internet is an excellent resource for locating a large number of study abroad scholarships. Many of these study abroad for Ghanaian students will allow you to apply directly online; potentially, you can apply for dozens of scholarships in a few short hours. However, their one downfall is that a larger application pool will reduce your chances to be awarded aid, but remember, you must be in it to win it! Here are some popular places to start:
This website provides a comprehensive free search database system available; you can search by country. Examples of such portals include,
- Ghana Scholarship Secretariats: An institution under the office of the president granting scholarships to brilliant but needy students and qualified Ghanaian workers at a minimum access cost for Human Resource Development for National Growth and Development.
- GNPC Scholarship: The Ghana National Petroleum Cooperation is one of the most sought–after scholarship programs in the country. They provide students with academic excellence in Ghana and West Africa. Similarly, there is also a scholarship to study abroad for Ghanaian students. To reach and help as many students as possible in Ghana to reach their potential. Each year, applications for undergraduate programs open in November and October for postgraduate programs. The scholarship they offer takes care of the following: student tuition, day-to-day expenditure, book allowance, and allowance for projects.
- Commonwealth Scholarship: The Commonwealth scheme is aimed at students from across the Commonwealth who would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the UK. By funding postgraduate studies in a range of different study formats, the scheme helps to support future innovators and leaders. This historic award is the UK’s primary scholarship scheme focused on supporting British international development goals. It is designed to attract outstanding talent to UK universities whilst also supporting sustainable development overseas. To apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country. You will still be eligible if you are a refugee or a British-protected person. Most scholarships are fully funded which means that as well as covering your tuition fees, you will also receive your airfare to and from the UK and a living allowance to support you.
- GETFund Scholarship: The Ghana Education Trust Fund is a government initiative to sponsor the education of Ghanaian students to study both locally and abroad for their postgraduate (Master’s and Ph.D.) degrees. The effective opening date for GETFund study abroad scholarship applications is 3rd July and the closing date for application is 16th July.
Documents students must prepare for applying for scholarships
Applying for a university scholarship is equally important as applying for a degree course and one should treat it with a lot of care and responsibility. As you already know, scholarships are only offered to students with excellent academic performance so you either prepare for a scholarship opportunity in advance or be realistic about your chances of getting one. Some of the documents that you will have to submit for the scholarship application process are the same ones that the university will request from you when you apply for a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
- Completed scholarship application form: Carefully check and accurately fill in all the sections of the application form correctly.
- Copy of passport/ID: The passport must be valid for at least six months after your departure and only a copy of the main page of the passport, containing your photo and personal information is sufficient.
- Copies of transcripts/diplomas: Send the transcript of records from the last school you graduated from or currently attending (high school if you apply for a bachelor’s degree or bachelor’s diploma and records if you apply for a graduate master’s course). The transcript of records is a photocopied page of all your courses and grades and credits that you achieved for each course. This document should have an official signature and stamp from your school or faculty. Proof of English language proficiency: IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge, etc.
- Statement of Purpose/Letter of motivation: This statement should contain only one page, around 400 words in which you explain your reasons why you applied to the chosen degree course and how it relates to your future studies and career goals. In this statement/letter of motivation, it is important, to be honest, and not inflate anything. You should also briefly present your qualities and how they would fit with the degree you selected.
- Letter of recommendation (1 or 2): Usually, it’s just one, but in some cases, you may be asked to provide two letters of recommendation. The letter(s) of recommendation should only come from one of your teachers/lecturers or employer/people that supervised your work (volunteering work counts as well). This letter gives the scholarship provider more information about your qualities, skills, and intellectual capacity, and it can also reflect your desire or motivation for the degree course and/or university you chose.
- CV (Curriculum Vitae)/Resume: Even if you don’t have any work experience at the moment you apply for a scholarship, you can simply include all your study experiences, hobbies, interests, achievements, and social skills. Remember to include all the languages that you know (including language certificates) but be honest about your proficiency level; add computer skills, volunteering work, and any other courses that you completed (even short courses), especially if they relate to your study field.
- Standardized test scores: IELTS, SAT, ACT, GRE, GPA, and other test scores can be an important factor when the university considers who they give the scholarship to. Most often, high scores are the ones that count first and foremost; however, the scholarship offer is rated based on a holistic approach, after considering all the relevant documents.
Additional documents you may be requested
Portfolio: A portfolio is requested for students who apply for art, design, and other similar degrees and it should include artistic work and projects. In the case of an art degree, a portfolio is much more or equally relevant compared to your GPA score when it comes to showing your skills.
Final tips before you send all the documents for the scholarship application
1. Check your application form and all other documents for spelling and grammar errors before you send it.
2. Do not exceed the word limit given for any section of the application or for any other documents you may be requested to write.
3. Only submit the requested documentation and nothing more.
4. It is recommended to make a complete copy of the application before you send it.
5. Keep in mind the exact date you must send all the requested documents and be careful not to miss the deadline.
How to apply for scholarships abroad
The cost of education continues to rise, but that doesn’t have to stop you! Scholarships might assist you in obtaining the education you require to achieve your objectives. Even better, you’re not obligated to repay them! So, where do you look for scholarships and how do you apply for them? Well, here’s how to apply for study abroad programs with a scholarship.
1. Start by checking with the universities you’re considering.
Even if you haven’t begun applying yet, it’s a good idea to look at what each institution has to offer. Scholarships are frequently featured in the financial aid portion of your application packet, but you may also learn more about them by visiting the school’s website or contacting their financial aid office.
2. Use an online scholarship search.
There are tons of sites that offer scholarship searches. To keep from getting overwhelmed, start with 1 or 2 of the most popular free search sites, like Ghana Scholarship Secretariats, which is sponsored by the government under the office of the president, and other popular databases.
3. Apply as early as possible.
Ideally, you should start researching during the summer. That’s because you have to apply for some scholarships as much as a year before university begins. However, it’s never too late—you can even apply for some scholarships after high school or a degree. Just check the deadline information to be sure.
4. You’ll usually need your transcript and basic information about yourself.
For instance, you’ll probably need to include things like your date of birth, where you plan to go to school, and what you want to do after you graduate. Many will require you to provide references and write an essay, as well. However, every scholarship will have its own set of requirements, so be sure to read the application closely so you don’t miss anything.
5. Use your essay to show how you stand out.
If your application requires an essay, don’t think of it as a setback—this is your chance to shine! Read the essay promptly and carefully before sharing a personal experience that indicates why you’re a good fit.
For example, if you must tell a tale about overcoming a hurdle, describe how you felt as you faced the situation, give some context to explain why it was so important to you, and how you summoned the strength and bravery to overcome it.
6. Ask your teachers, coaches, or family and friends for help.
It’s a good idea to let them know what you’d like them to include in their letter—perhaps you worked hard on a project for them, or you’d like them to mention that you worked after school while maintaining a good GPA. Then, contact them to ensure that you receive your references in time for your deadline.
Make your request several weeks before the application deadline to ensure that they have enough time to complete your letter. If you’re applying for multiple scholarships, you can typically reuse your recommendations.