How to Get a Commonwealth Scholarship
By Joseph King
, last updated January 9, 2012
Getting a commonwealth scholarship is a difficult task that requires top notch applicants. In order to increase your chance of success it pays to understand what the purpose of the award is, how the application process works, and what is looked for in applicants.
The commonwealth scholarship is one of the largest international scholarships offered. It is offered by a series of “commonwealth” countries who work together to offer the award to applicants around the globe. The scholarship is based on five pillars. The first is that the scholarship should be separate and additional to other scholarship programs. Second, cooperation between commonwealth countries should lead to enriching educational experiences. As the third pillar the organization believes that the award should be adaptable and should change based on the changing needs of its students. Educational experiences should allow individuals to experience the entirety of the country that they are studying in. The final ideal is that should help showcase and further academic achievement and intellectual excellence.
About sixteen countries currently offer a variety of commonwealth scholarships. In order to qualify for consideration for a scholarship you must be a citizen of a commonwealth country (for the full list see their website) and you cannot be a citizen of the country that you wish to study in. The specific educational requirements vary for individual awards. Most awards are geared to students pursuing a PhD or those who have already been granted a PhD. There are also a number awards for undergraduates. Before applying students must be accepted by an appropriate level institution in the country where they wish to study. Most scholarships require that you register with the organization providing them before applying.
Commonwealth scholarships are made to reward students who demonstrate several key skills. The first and most important is academic excellence along with a commitment to learning. One of the reasons that many of the commonwealth scholarships are for high level education pursuits is that applicants who have reached this level have already shown that they have are committed to education and academics. Make sure your application material help stress how important scholarship and serious study is to you. Include academic achievements and well as extracurricular activities when appropriate.
Another important area is international cooperation. Commonwealth scholarships are often awarded to students who have already made themselves members of the international community through student exchanges, study abroad trips, or by learning a foreign language. Showing an interest in international culture and harmony is a great way to give yourself a leg up over other people looking to win the scholarships. You can demonstrate this through multi-cultural clubs, study of a foreign language. Another great way is to explain a specific interest you have in your country of choice as it relates to your studies and how studying in that particular country is essential for making your work the best that it can be.
Commonwealth scholarships are highly competitive awards, so in order to get one it is important to have the whole picture and to be able to market yourself according to what the scholarship committees are looking for.