Hello everyone, I have the priviledge of sharing this long and exciting article about the Chevening scholarship application process. Kaoula is a Chevening scholar, studying presently at Bradford University, U.K. She is also a Chevening social media ambassador. The article is taken from her blog with permission
Making my way through Chevening scholarship application
As promised in the first article, I am going to talk about my Chevening Application Journey where I will be giving you advice and tips on how to make a successful Application. But first let me tell you why I have chosen this scholarship for myself.
I don’t have dreams, I have goals. I have always been fascinated about the UK educational system, the history and the great architechture, more than this, taking the lead in the activities I have engaged in was something I have naturally been doing since my young age. Chevening Scholarship was the opportunity for me to become more of the person I am today, giving me the chance to network with potential leaders from more than 140 countries, before even starting my journey in the UK, and also to explore what I always have wanted to, the UK.
Working on the scholarship for a whole year didn’t seem something to be tiring more than it was exciting, as for working hard didn’t seem something to complain about, especially when the result period have taken place.
What’s in this article?
I will be talking about the online application step by step, starting by the work experience which is an important part of the process, after that the Universities choices and the chosen field, last, it will be, briefly, about the four essays that you need to write to accomplish your chevening application.
But now, we will need to introduce Chevening Scholarship for people who never heard about it.
What’s Chevening Scholarship?
“Chevening scholarship is the UK prestigious government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders by giving them the chance to study and fulfill a one year Master Degree at one of the UK universities from their choices in any field they have chosen.” Chevening website.
Chevening Scholarship is a tough process that will remain for a year before starting your journey in the UK. The phases of the process are basically:
The online application.
applying for universities and securing an offer (in parallel with the online application).
The english test (deadline 12th July).
It, first of all, starts by an online application where you will have to submit your work experience and talk about your educational journey and what you like to do as a career in addition to showing your leadership skills and networking, in four essays. and then if you were selected, you will be called to an interview in which you will be asked about your four essays, generally.
Chevening Scholarship gives the chance to be part of a global network that will remain for the rest of your life.
Throughout the process you will get the chance to learn about yourself while looking and trying to figure what you want to proceed as a career, that is why it is important to enjoy your time of making your application.
You will find further information on The official website of chevening where you can also know if you are eligible to apply.
When does the online application close?
Chevening official website provide a TimeTable where you can see the deadline and result time for all the steps of the scholarship.
Am I eligible?
For anyone to be eligible for the Chevening scholarship, they need to first of all have a Bachelor degree before the opening of the Application (7 August 2017) and a two years work experience that is equivalent to 2800 hours, the work experience could be: freelancing, Volunteering, Part-Time, Full-Time, Paid internship, Non-Paid Internship.
You can check the eligibility creteria here.
There is no age limit for Chevening Scholarship.
This is the most important part of the Application, as it comes at the beginning of filling the application and as it may cause of eliminating you if you do not pay attention to the work hours you have submitted.
How many hours do I need to have?
You are asked to fill 2800 hours of work (2 years) and as I said before the work can be variety of things, you will have a box where you can put the work hours of each work you have taken and also the number of weeks, for example if you worked a full time job for a 45 weeks for 12 months, this is equivalent to 42 hours * 45 weeks * 1 year.
Do I need to have a work experience that is related to my field of study?
In my experience I had several kind of work, I, mainly, worked in volunteering and had some internships that are related to my field of study and also other part time jobs and trainings that are related to my desired field of study.
In my opinion, it is important to have a varying work experience, yet not so varied to keep the balance between what you want to pursue and what you actually did to discover what you want to do as a career in the future.
I have a lot of volunteering work, is that okay?
Chevening Scholarship is looking for people who are able to give back to their community and who are willing to help people and to lead them, having a work experience that is full of volunteering has helped me a lot in shaping what I want to do in the future and what kind of persons I want to be.
Don’t hesitate to count the work you have done in volunteering and mention your job there and afford a presentable description about the work and your role and your team if it is possible as of the more you provide description, the more relevant it is.
Remember, Chevening gives the chance of volunteering experiences while being a scholar, so why not mentioning that you already are one?
How do I choose universities and my field of study?
To begin with, Chevening allows you to choose three different universities and also different courses, you are allowed to either choose:
Same university, three different courses.
Three different universities, three different courses.
Three different universities, same course.
I have a 2:2 bachelor degree grade, is it fine?
You need to know what’s your grade in the UK system is it 2:1 (equivalent to 12–14 french system) or a 2:2 (equivalent to 10–11 ), usually in the application they say we are looking for 2:1 but they do accept a 2:2 and you can check this information in the FAQs section of Chevening page.
Where do I find universities to apply for?
The chevening official page would provide you with courses browser where you can find all the courses and all the universities and you can apply and enter the course through this browser.
I have found partner universities and other are not?
You can apply for both partner universities and not partner universities, the partner universities generally are easy to cooperate and easy to understand the process of chevening if for example they gave you a deadline to secure your place but you are still waiting for chevening results.
How do I choose my university?
See if the university does accept a 2:2 (if you had this grade).
See the percentage of international students and if this university does actually accept students from your country (you can check this one by sending an enquiry to the university email or by actually checking it in the website in the international students section).
Check the qualifications of the university and your wanted course carefully, as you may face a problem in providing them when they give you a conditional offer, for example they may ask for a master degree and not only a bachelor degree, especially if your university is not very well known or when they have never accepted people from your country.
University ranking in the UK and internationally is very important, choosing a high ranked university may make it hard for you to be accepted and you may need to go in more steps than if you choose an average ranked one or a one that is not really well ranked but actually well ranked in the field you want to choose (for example you may need to go through the application and an interview and more papers to be accepted into a well ranked university) so be prepared .
When choosing a university, don’t choose a bad ranked one, thinking they will respond to you easily, don’t be afraid to choose high ranked universities as they are the ones who offer international students more chances.
Check carefully the department you would be involved in and its reputation, search for articles about the university and specifically about the course you are going to undertake, if you could reach people who have studied there (use LinkedIn), that would be perfect.
It is important to check this kind of information as a good ranked university (let’s say top 30) might be good in general but might have some struggles, which you would not want to deal with, in the department you have chosen.
Choosing a university is actually choosing where you will be living, a city and a whole one year place so it is also preferable to look for the city and is it actually where you would love to live for a whole year.
When applying for universities and not to put yourself into the stress of being able to choose only three different choices without the ability to change them after submitting the application, and without actually knowing which university will accept you, you can apply for more than three universities in august or September, usually the universities in this time won’t take a lot of time to respond to you and by this you will already have a response from at least one university and put it in your choices, confidently.
You will have the chance to mention your three choices in your application without actually applying to them as you can do that in the period between the application and the interview, BUT It is not advisable to put a choice in your application without actually applying to it as you will risk getting a refusal from that university and wasting one of your three choices.
Try to apply for at least one university earlier to assure one choice. When applying to your university, check what kind of activities they offer and what the life in that university is like, as you may want to do a specific activity and it might not be offered (second order problems LOL).
How do I choose my course, my field?
To start with, don’t choose courses that are not in the same field, as you will have difficulties to figure out and to demonstrate the career plan you want to persue.
Choosing different fields (for example photography as a first course and engineering as a second one) may make you come as someone who doesn’t have a clear idea about what they are doing with their life and may lower your chance in getting the scholarship.
When coming to your field, you should be very careful on what you want to do as chevening has priorities in each country . you have to first check what’s the UK is doing in your country and see if the field you are going to choose is actually a fit.
There are masters of a twelve months and others of nine months, so be careful on how much time you want to spend in the UK.
Figure out a plan to connect the dots in all your life, even if you have done a different Bachelor degree on what you are doing to be studying in the UK.
Remember! it’s all about how you see & write it.
What if the field I am going to choose is not what the UK is doing in my country?
Chevening is looking for individual who would be able to get back to their countries and make a change and be a bridge between the UK and their fellow country.
it’s always possible to figure out a plan where you will be able to link what you are going to do with your studies and what the UK is doing in your country by
researching articles and see what you can do, always try to make what the UK is doing in your country as a priority and always keep it in mind during all the application process.
The four essays
As you can see in the page of the application,you have four essays to write, each essay seeks different thing from you.
What do I need to write in the leadership & influence essay?
Be genuine, don’t try and list your CV, because they could have asked you to do so, choose one example of leadership and one of influence, it is enough and better to choose two strong examples that clearly demonstrate your skills than a lot of random ones. When writing this essay be specific about:
Numbers and the group you have led.
Describe the task and what you did specifically and in details, make it as a story.
Clearly demonstrate what your role was and not what you did as a group.
Is it okay to choose more than one example in each part?
It’s preferable to choose one or two and focus on describing them as you only have 500 words to write in each essay.
What do I need to write in the networking essay?
That was the last essay I have written, as I have found it the hardest one because I didn’t know what I need to write. If you, too, don’t know what to write, you will need to understand that they are asking and want to know if you engage with people and what kind of engagement you do, keep in mind that Chevening is looking for leaders and one of a leader’s charachter is to be able to engage with their network and build strong relationship with potential leaders and their communities.
I only can remember volunteering activities as networking, is that okay?
Keep in mind that Chevening scholarship value volunteering activties so it is a good idea to mention volunteering activities you did and how you could connect with people that will help you at some point of your life and it’s also good to mention how you have been of a help when you have networked with people and how you have been able to build a mutual interest.
Why the UK?
In this essay, you will have the chance to talk about why you have chosen the UK in particular, don’t be afraid to mention personal reasons and what really attracted you in addition to mentioning what the UK values are and which ones you have been chosing to learn about more, not forgetting about the strong educational system and what could it add to your chosen field of studies.
Why these universities? should I talk about all universities?
You can talk about each university alone or you can talk about all universities at once and the field in general, I myself have chosen to talk about the field itself and not the universities in particular, you can say why you have chosen to study that course and what would it be of help in your future career.
What should I mention in the career plan question?
This question is the one that needs of you a preparation and needs to figure out what you need to do in five to ten years, when you will be coming back to your country.
Basically they want to know if the course you have chosen and the work you have done and all what you have studied will help you to reach your career plan, you need to answer some of the questions when you make your career plan:
Does my career plan fit in what the UK is doing in my country?
Is what I have been studying and working on in these past two years helping me to reach my career plan?
Am I thinking about a doable/realistic short term career plan? and an ambitious long term career plan?
am I thinking of returning to my country for at least two years?
Does my career plan tackle one of my country’s economical issues?
It is preferable to make this essay as a pipeline talking about and stressing about some of the work you have done that is related to what you are going to do in the UK and that is going to help you reach your career plan.
Can I use past chevening scholars essays?
I personally don’t give my essays to people who ask me to, chevening application is a good chance for you to discover what and who you are as a person and why not, which writing style you have!
I did start my online application late is that okay?
it’s totally fine even if you heard of it one week before, I have met people who were actually able to be selected even when they did hear it late.
How about IELTS/TOEFL (the english test)?
I extremely advice anyone who want to be a chevening scholar to take the english test as soon as possible, DO NOT let it for last minute (deadline 12th July) as I know many people who lost the scholarship because of english test results.
I have taken my IELTS in the period of waiting if I was selected to the interview which is from November to mid-February.
I have tried to mention all what I have remembred and used as tips, I would be edditing and adding things whenever I felt there is something important I forgot to mention.
I will be writing about the next phse: interview, when its time comes, which is from march to may generally.
I hope this article has been of a help to make your way through chevening application as well!
If you have any question regarding the application that was not answered in the article, don’t hesitate to contact me.