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Study Abroad: How to write a winning scholarship application

Last updated on: July 18, 2013 12:16 IST

Study Abroad: How to write a winning scholarship application


We’d invited readers to share their advice with Indian students on how they can reduce their cost of overseas education.

Study abroad consultant Rituparna Roy Chowdhury shares some crucial tips with students aspiring for an education abroad.

In the light of a falling Indian rupee, the only hope for our students is to explore prospects of higher financial aid like tuition waivers and teaching assistantships from foreign universities.

This can cushion them to a certain extent from galloping costs. While aid may be limited at most institutions, it is not unavailable either for the really deserving candidates.

In order to win funding, students need to portray their research oriented merit, rather than just academic competence. 

MUST READ: Top study abroad scholarships for Indian students 

How to write the perfect application

Unlike Indian centers of excellence, universities in the USA and Europe, look beyond a good GRE/GMAT score or past scholastic achievements.

They look at a candidate’s potential to contribute something new to their area of studies.

In other words, foreign schools prefer those who have an innovative and inquisitive mind to explore the area of their studies to emerge as a trend setter. On the other hand, aspirants who run after a degree or the university tag are not as encouraged though for admissions.

Remember, professors there are always on the hunt for a great research-oriented mind! So what could be such an ideal thinking scholar?

Inter-disciplinary and lateral thinking are considered the two most valuable attributes one can possess to discover a new result by co-relating and inter-relating diverse phenomena across a multitude of platforms.

Correspondence with the professor, prior to your application is of utmost importance.

After short-listing target schools, students need to write to respective teachers as to why and how their areas of research interest them, and what they can contribute if selected.

After sending your application, if you feel that your explanation was not convincing because of your subject knowledge limitations, do not worry.

The fact that you intend to logically progress on something you don’t know but can foresee possibilities for co-relating them to arrive at a new conclusion, would reveal your challenging and optimistic mindset. Even Newton had similar views about the falling apple.

At the same time, discuss in detail about your projects and academic successes till date.

Try to show how you have outgrown normal thinking to create projects that were unique and also explain your rationale behind building those.

Portray that you are not a crammer, but a lover of resolving knots and bridging new width of knowledge. This would reveal your stamp of innovative excellence.

The education system abroad perceives that a student with lower grades can perform better than those with higher grades if s/he has genuine interest in the subject.

Aptitude over academic excellence

They feel that aptitude brings out passionate thinking which opens up the universe of creative intelligence.

This also explains why academic brilliance need not always translate into professional excellence.  

The professor, if convinced by your presentation, as a candidate of immense merit for research-oriented academics, may use her/his discretion to grant you substantial financial aid.

During my experience as a study abroad consultant I have seen several candidates receiving substantial financial aid through direct correspondence with professors.

Know your aptitude, use the resources at hand and look for opportunities that will enhance your abilities. This is my advice to all study abroad aspirants from India.

The author Rituparna Roy Chowdhury specialises in helping students frame essays/ SOPs and edits thesis for PhD students, conveying their themes with better communication skills. He can be contacted at 

Help Study Abroad Aspirants

Dear Readers, how did you fund your overseas education? Did you take an education loan or did you apply for a scholarship?

How can Indian students reduce their cost of education abroad at a time when the falling Indian Rupee is pinching them hard?

Share your suggestions and experience and help our young readers make an informed decision. You can e-mail your ideas, suggestions and advice to us at (subject line: Study Abroad Advice) and we'll publish the best responses right here on

Image: Students must portray their research oriented merit in their scholarship application
Photographs: Courtesy Careers360