Friday, September 15, 2023

Building A Strong Application For The Chevening Scholarship


Are you a Nigerian student looking to pursue your dreams of furthering your education in the United Kingdom? If so, the Chevening Scholarship might just be the golden ticket to achieving that dream. The Chevening Scholarship was established by the UK government and it is a prestigious and competitive award that provides funded opportunities for outstanding individuals to study in the UK. However, securing this scholarship is not a walk in the park. It requires a strong application that sets you apart from thousands of other applicants. In this article, we’ll share some valuable tips to help you build a strong application for the Chevening Scholarship.

Start early

The Chevening application process is rigorous and time-consuming. It involves various components, such as writing essays, securing recommendation letters, and providing evidence of your academic and professional achievements. Begin your preparations well in advance to avoid last-minute stress. Give yourself ample time to research, brainstorm, and draft your application materials. If you’re planning to apply for the 2024/2024 session, the best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.

Understand the eligibility criteria

Before investing time and effort into your application, make sure you meet the scholarship’s eligibility criteria. You must be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country and have at least two years of work experience. Additionally, you should have an offer from a UK university for a one-year master’s degree program.

Select a relevant course and university

Carefully research the courses and universities available in the UK to find the best fit for your academic and career goals. Choose a program that aligns with your interests and aspirations. Demonstrating a clear connection between your chosen course of study and your future plans is crucial in your application.

Craft exceptional essays

The Chevening application includes several essay questions that require thoughtful responses. Focus on showcasing your passion, commitment, and the potential impact of your studies on your home country. Be concise and specific in your answers, addressing each part of the question thoroughly. Seek feedback from mentors, professors, or your friends to improve your essays.

Highlight your leadership and achievements

Chevening values leadership qualities and looks for candidates who have made a positive impact in their communities or professions. Highlight your leadership experiences, involvement in extracurricular activities, and any awards or achievements that demonstrate your potential as a future leader. It’s a good time to share your volunteering experiences with different organizations.

Get strong recommendation letters

Choose people who know you well and can provide detailed, positive recommendations. Ideally, your recommenders should be able to speak to your academic abilities, professional accomplishments, and personal qualities. Provide them with your CV and specific details about the scholarship and its requirements.

Show a commitment to return

One of the key criteria for Chevening scholars is the commitment to return to their home country for at least two years after completing their studies in the UK. Clearly explain in your application how you plan to use your UK education to benefit your home country and contribute to its development.

Proofread and edit thoroughly

Carefully proofread your application materials for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors. Typos and mistakes can create a negative impression even when you have a strong application. Consider asking someone with good editing skills to review your essays and other written parts of your application.

Be authentic

Be yourself in your application. Authenticity can make your application stand out. Share your personal story, passions, and aspirations genuinely. Avoid using overly complex language or trying to present yourself as someone you’re not. Your application is an opportunity to show who you are and your unique experiences.

Prepare for interviews

If you’re shortlisted for an interview, practice answering common interview questions in front of the mirror or with family and friends. Also, be ready to discuss your application in depth. You might want to research current events and global issues to demonstrate your knowledge and awareness during the interview.

Who Can Apply For The Chevening Scholarship?

To apply for the Chevening Scholarship, you must meet the following criteria;

  • Be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country or territory. The list of eligible countries can change from year to year, so it’s essential to check the official Chevening website for the most up-to-date list. Currently, as a Nigerian, you are eligible.
  • Have completed all the academic qualifications required to gain admission to a one-year postgraduate master’s degree program in the UK. In most cases, this means you should have at least an undergraduate degree that is equivalent to a UK upper second-class 2:1 honours degree.
  • Should typically have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience in any field or occupation at the time of submitting your Chevening application. Some exceptions and variations may apply sometimes, so be sure to always check for the up-to-date criteria for Nigeria on the Chevening website.
  • Demonstrate your English language proficiency by meeting the Chevening English language requirement. This requirement can be met through various methods, such as providing proof of a recognized English language test (e.g., IELTS or TOEFL) or obtaining an exemption based on previous study or work experience in an English-speaking environment.
  • Return to your home country or territory for a minimum of two years after completing your studies in the UK. This commitment to returning home and contributing to your country’s development is a fundamental requirement of the Chevening Scholarship. If this is just a means to japa for you, you might want to reconsider.
  • Agree to comply with the terms and conditions of the Chevening Scholarship, including the requirement to abide by the laws of the UK and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Some Notable Chevening Scholars

  1. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a prominent Nigerian economist and former Finance Minister of Nigeria. She is also the current Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a Chevening Scholar and she pursued her postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.
  2. Dalia Grybauskaitė: Dalia Grybauskaitė served as the President of Lithuania from 2009 to 2019. She holds a degree in economics from Moscow State University and was awarded a Chevening Scholarship in 1993 to study at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
  3. Luis Guillermo Solís: Luis Guillermo Solís served as the President of Costa Rica from 2014 to 2018. He is an academic and politician who received a Chevening Scholarship to study at the University of Sussex, where he earned a master’s degree in Development Studies.
  4. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a prominent pro-democracy activist and politician in Myanmar. She was awarded a Chevening Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford, where she pursued a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).
  5. Dambisa Moyo: Dambisa Moyo is a renowned economist and author from Zambia known for her work on global development issues. She is a Chevening Scholar, having studied at Harvard University and earned an MPA (Master in Public Administration) from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Conclusion

The Chevening Scholarship is not an easy opportunity to get but it can transform your academic and professional journey positively. That’s why it’s important to be thorough and present a strong application when you apply. You might not get in on the first try but remember that consistency and dedication are important to reaching your goals, so stay focused and put your best foot forward in your pursuit of being a Chevening scholar. Good luck!

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