Application for Chevening Awards will be opening next month. I will share a few things that you need to aware of. Two things that should be at the back of your mind: 1) You will do 99% of the work. 2) You are not entitled to anything.
Before you make the application, make sure that you read the eligibility criteria. If you qualify, go ahead and start making the application. If you don’t, then use July 2018 to July 2019 to gain the needed skills, qualification and experience to qualify. The Chevening Scholarship application demands that you have certain documents in place. If possible, sort out these documents as soon as possible. You will need reference letters for your applications. This is the time to send that email to that Professor, Supervisor etc. who can be your referee. I am assuming that you have had a positive relationship with your potential referees.
As far as I am concerned the Current cohort and the Chevening Alumni globally, including your country are willing to support you during the application process. This also applies to alumni and the current cohort from the universities that you will be making the applications to. But whether you get the support or not, depends solely on you. Social media provides the opportunity to link up with the alumni, however, social media does not do the introduction for us. We are the people who craft the introductory message. It is a turn off when you get messages like: what is Chevening? Who is eligible to apply? Can you send me a link to the website? etc. This demonstrates that you are not serious and not ready. Some people will spend the time to respond to your messages, others will just ignore you. To apply for anything including scholarships, you don’t need to be lazy. Use those research skills that you have. If you don’t have research skills after doing your undergraduate studies, and working for more than two years, then I don’t know.
After doing your research and linking with people online, you might want to have a face to face meeting. You have requested this meeting not the other way. Let this principle guide you ‘It is better to show up 1 hour earlier than a minute late.’ Not keeping time is a serious lack of respect. In my case, when someone sets up a meeting to do with scholarship applications, I decide to pick a lunch hour and will ask you to pay for the meal. It is less to do with the meal, more to do with your level of seriousness and commitment. Some back off when you make this request. It works for me because it saves me from investing in someone who is not committed to the process because I invest myself in this.
It is very important to find people who can proofread your essays. Like I said the alumni community is always willing to help. However, you need to make sure that your essays are ready in good time for one to be able to provide feedback. Submitting essays for review days before the closing date is not acceptable. Some people I know will reject to review your essays if you ask them to review 30 days before the deadline. Why? Because you put them under unnecessary pressure. This is where I always remember this quote, ‘lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my side.’
I have been making Chevening applications, but they haven’t picked me. My simple advice is, cry for days until you get over the rejection. Then move on with life. Look at the applications you made last year and see the areas that can be improved. Ask for help. Again, its help, not asking for people to write for you.
Finally, don’t burn the bridges. Some of us are very good at messing up relationships. We approach people to help us with the application process. After we have submitted our essays we ditch the people who supported us until when we get the interview invitation. This usually backfires. So, find a way to keep the relationships that you will create now.
The tips I have shared also apply to the other scholarships and fellowships.