Scholarship requirements 101Sunday, July 25, 2021
BEFORE you drop off or upload your scholarship application forms, you'll have to meet some basic requirements, the majority of which are standard across most platforms. Along with having good grades and maintaining these throughout the tenure of the scholarship, you will also need to meet some other criteria.
Here are some of the basic application process requirements for most scholarships offered locally.
1. Recommendation letters Many places will ask for two — one which details your academic competence, and another, your character. It's important to have a good relationship with your teachers and heads of departments as many times, these are the people who will be recommending you for scholarships. Other places will ask for recommendations from personnel like your church pastor, justice of the peace, or other upstanding members of society.
Most organisations require that you write an essay, or two, answering a question about current events, how you hope to give back to the country, how the scholarship will aid your development, and what led to you needing the scholarship. Prepare to let your emotions lead, as often the most 'touching' story will win the prize.
3. Ties to Jamaica
Most scholarships require that the applicant be a Jamaican citizen. Some will not grant aid to naturalised Jamaican citizens who were born abroad.
This is crucial, and often trumps merit. Often, even those scholarships that claim to be merit-based, will recognise genuine need over academic performance when screening applicants.
Most will have certain specifics — that you're enrolled in a specific institution, studying a specific programme, and over several years. Some are based on the school you attend, the area you live in, your guardians' incomes, or their ties to the organisation offering the scholarship. Scholarship students are not necessarily the best performers in their areas of study, but rather those who meet specific criteria set out by the judging panel.
Most scholarships require that the applicant maintain a specific grade point average (GPA), or risk losing the scholarship. Prepare to provide reports and transcripts at the end of each school internal exam period.
7. Fine print
Finally, take note of the fine print. The scholarship may require that you are bonded to Jamaica for some years after your studies; that you engage in promotional work for the duration of, or even long after the scholarship has ended; and that you pay it forward in some way in the future. If you're not able to live up to the obligations, you may be penalised.
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