How to Apply For a Bursary
It’s that time of the year Choma, where you’re finishing your last set of exams in high school and now you’re starting to make plans for next year: looking at universities, starting registration processes and probably weighing up your options when it comes to financing your studies. You might be looking at getting a study loan or, more preferably, a bursary. If your first choice is getting a bursary, here’s a bit of basic information on how to apply for one - to get you started.
First, what is a bursary?
If you’ve simply been told that you need to get a bursary but never really told what it is exactly, here’s a quick explanation.
A bursary is basically a study programme that’s paid for by someone else or by a company. If you qualify to study a particular course or programme but need financial aid, the company will pay your fees. Some companies will require you to work for them for a certain amount of time as a way to “pay back” those fees but not all companies will require that though Choma. Some companies will pay some of your fees while others will pay all. It depends on the bursary being offered.
The benefits of a bursary
Getting a bursary is an amazing opportunity Choma. Firstly, it gives you the opportunity to study without having to worry about the financial aspect of it.
Secondly, you get a great qualification at the end of your studies and lastly, if you get a bursary from a company that requires you to work for them, you get an immediate opportunity to gain work experience.
Just remember that getting a bursary doesn't mean that you can relax when it comes to your studies. Some companies can be very strict about you maintaining good results while they fund your studies. A company might even expect you to pay the money back if you fail a year. You may even have to work for that company for a year or so. Remember that preparation is key Choma.
How to apply
Step 1: Decide what career path you want to follow.
Do you want a career in finance, engineering, teaching, arts, science, healthcare or law? What do you ultimately want to become? Once you know what you want to study Choma, it will be easier to search for companies that offer bursaries in that field. Bursary websites usually order bursary applications by category, example “Finance”, “Engineering” etc. This makes it easier for you to go straight to the section that applies to you. I’ve added a resource where you can search for bursaries at the end of this article. You should also talk to your teachers, college career counsellors, friends and family about whether they know of any suitable bursaries.
Step 2: Check if you qualify
Remember Choma, you can only apply for a bursary you qualify for. When you find a bursary in the field you want to study, the application form will most likely tell you what you need to qualify (like what kind of marks you needed to pass with).
If you don’t qualify, then simply check for another bursary. Otherwise Choma, consider doing another course you’re interested in. If you really want to pursue a particular field but you don’t have the marks to do it, then maybe consider doing those subjects over. Speak to your teacher about your options.
Step 3: Read the application carefully
Once you’ve found a bursary you’re interested in, have access to the application form and have established that you qualify for it, make sure that you read the terms of the bursary very carefully.
Different bursaries will have different methods of application and different requirements. Read the application or instructions (if you’re getting the bursary application online) carefully.
The reason it’s so important to read the application form and instructions is to make sure that you don’t miss any of the points about what you need to send through. A lot of bursary applications will require copies of your ID, results from school, and proof of income from your household and other requirements for them to make sure you qualify for the bursary.
Another reason is that some applications will have post-study requirements. Meaning that you might have to work with them for a while after you complete your studies. Although this is a good thing because you’ll get experience immediately, you need to make sure you are comfortable and agree with their terms. Some companies also have a policy about what happens if you should fail while they are funding your fees. Like I mentioned above Choma, they might require you to pay them back so check that you’re okay with all the terms before you sign the application form.
Step 4: Send your application before the closing date
Applications for bursaries expire Choma. Before you apply, check when you need to submit your application form by. If you’re not sure, try contacting the company (they would most likely have a contact number on the website you’re downloading the application form from. Otherwise check the company’s website for a contact number).
A lot of bursary application forms are available earlier in the year but there is still time for you to apply for some. Follow these links Choma:
For more bursary options, follow this:
If you’d rather apply for a student loan and not a bursary, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) could help you. Visit their site here for information on how to apply for a student loan.
Let me know if you’re applying for a bursary in the comments below. Good luck Choma!
Remember, you can send me a message to talk to me about anything. So if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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