Unlocking opportunities with scholarships

25 Mar 2024

Buying textbooks… maintaining a laptop… just making it through an unpaid placement! There are considerable costs associated with going to university.

Scholarships can help to alleviate these financial burdens. However, many students are overwhelmed by the process of searching and applying for them. In this guide, we’ll explore the world of scholarships, offering strategies to help you unlock these valuable opportunities.


Is there a scholarship for me?

Scholarships are given for many different reasons. Some are merit-based, while others are equity-based or specialised. Even though you might not think you are eligible, no matter what your situation or background, there is a scholarship that you can apply for.

Examples of types of scholarships include:

  • Access for regional and rural students
  • Residential scholarships
  • Travel and study grants
  • Placement grants
  • Areas of study, such as agriculture, the health professions and teaching
  • Scholarships for people from diverse backgrounds.


Common myths about scholarships

Myth 1: You need to be academic

Scholarships aren’t just about academics. Equity scholarships, in particular, focus on providing opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds, regardless of their academic achievements.

A lot of government scholarships are also provided to help fill job shortages – particularly in areas like health and teaching. This means that if you are interested in studying these areas, you’re already in with a good chance!


Myth 2: So many people apply that the odds are against you

A surprising number of scholarships go unclaimed each year simply because students aren’t aware of them or don’t apply.

Additionally, equity scholarships often have fewer applicants, as they are specifically designed to support underrepresented groups. If you do your research and find more niche scholarships, you can significantly improve your chances of success.


Myth 3: You have to be good at writing essay applications

Scholarship applications come in a variety of formats, including short answer questions, interviews, or portfolios. Recommendations from teachers or mentors might also be involved.

It is important to know that the scholarship selection team is rarely prioritising your writing ability when searching for the perfect candidate. Instead, they will be focusing on the selection criteria to work out whether you are the right person for the scholarship.


Tips for applying

  1. Find scholarships as early as possible. You don’t want to miss out because you’ve missed the closing date!
  2. Like applying for jobs, have a good cover letter ready to go that you can tailor to each scholarship you apply for. This will save you time when applying for lots of different ones.
  3. Have a referee ready to go to provide you a good reference (e.g., teacher, boss, coach…). Explain your goals to them so they can best support your application.
  4. Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Unless you have a scholarship that says you must only accept that scholarship, then do not limit yourself! Every cent helps.
  5. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get one straight away. If at first you don’t succeed – apply again (taking on any feedback you can!).


Where do I start?

With our handy Scholarship Guide, of course! This has been produced in partnership with the South Gippsland Bass Coast Local Learning and Employment Network and is updated regularly. You can view it by following this link.

The process can be overwhelming but with this guide and help of our team at CUC Bass Coast, we hope we can make this process easier for you. For more assistance in finding and applying for suitable scholarships, please reach out to our Centre Manager.

Happy scholarship hunting!

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