It’s around that time of the year again when several scholarship applications for the next academic year open. This is particularly the case with the UK government scholarships, namely Chevening scholarship awards, the Commonwealth scholarship for commonwealth countries and the Shared scholarship, which opens much later in the academic year. During this period, many scholarship enthusiasts seek different sources of information about how to prepare winning scholarship essays and submissions. While some depend on their network of friends, some do not give the internet a break and some others like myself jointly use both sources of information. Personally, I believe the internet is a very reliable source of information because it helps to reach out to a larger audience without the barriers of time and distance.
Anyways, my role in this season has switched somewhat. In the last round of scholarship applications, I was fortunate to clinch two awards: the first was an offer by TOTAL S.A. to study International Energy at Sciences Po, Paris; and the second was an award by the British Government to study Energy Economics at Dundee under its Chevening scholarship scheme. Based on the experiences I acquired from the numerous application processes, I have decided to give my own portion of lessons to the global community of scholarship enthusiasts. Although my emphasis will be on the Chevening scholarship, but I believe that whatever one is able to glean from this write-up could be tailored to meet any other form of scholarship that requires essay writing.
This piece of writing will be presented under different headings that include the selection criteria, leadership essay, networking essay, study essay, career essay, and additional hints, which cover the reporting of work experience.
…To begin with, the Chevening scholarship criteria
There are over a thousand scholarships and scholarship providers out there ranging from governments to NGOs, multilateral agencies to private sponsors and even university-sponsored scholarships. Some like the British government Chevening award are all expense paid, some only support tuition, while others such as the Strathclyde Business School scholarship partially funds a part of the tuition fee.
Just as these scholarships vary by sponsors and amount of grants, so does the selection criteria also vary. There are scholarships that are strictly awarded based on academic merit and some that are given based on the combination of academic achievements and excellence in extra-curricular activities. Still some others like Chevening and the World Bank/Japan scholarships, where a prime importance is given to work experience, also exist.
It is therefore necessary that you acquaint yourself with the background of whatever scholarship opportunity that interests you. Apparently, this should help you save time by enabling you channel your focus to those awards that you qualify for rather than spend resources and wear yourself out on opportunities that you do not even meet the basic requirement. You can imagine how disappointed a person will be to have spent weeks in preparing his application materials for an OPEC scholarship open to applicants from non-OPEC member countries, only to discover at the point of submission that he is not eligible because he is a citizen of an OPEC state.
…Attention! Essential preparatory tips and skills
It is always advantageous to begin gathering your application materials in good time. You are able to avoid mistakes and errors that are associated with the late hour rush and save yourself of unnecessary anxiety. Beginning early also helps you build confidence as you progress with your application, since there is enough time to consult widely, and also properly review your work.
Different scholarships have varying application timeframe. For instance, application for the Total scholarship I got was open for only 2 weeks whereas, Chevening has an application window of about 3 months. This knowledge will thus allow you plan and organise your work in a manner that makes it ready before the deadline.
However, some persons fall into the pit of EARLY SUBMISSIONS WITHOUT A THOROUGH WORK on the false premise that turning in their application so early gives them an edge. From my experience it is not so. My Chevening application was submitted about 3 days to the deadline, just as I did my interviews on the penultimate day of the interview week. Except applications are done on a rolling basis, I will advise that you take your time to ensure that all aspects of your application are in order.
You should bear in mind that writing is a critical component of the application process, and it carries a lot of weight in the evaluation of your application. Whatever the length of the write-up, whether it’s a 250-word piece or a single paragraph of self-introduction, this will be your first contact with the assessors before any interview; if at all an interview will be part of the selection process for that scholarship you’re considering. Therefore, it is very necessary to develop essential writing skills that will include an arresting style of presentation, a solid organization and a good plot together with coherence of the entire paragraphs and a mastery of fundamental grammatical rules.
This is a very fundamental process at the essay writing phase. It helps you generate ideas broadly, before narrowing them into categories of those that may or may not be relevant to your essays. An added advantage is that you may stumble upon points that may be suitable for another essay while thinking of an entirely different essay.
It does not just end at a particular time. Ideas may stream into your mind while eating, bathing or even praying. Do well to note them in a book or space devoted to your essays. They may come as sparks in the mind and if not trapped who knows, they may be quenched!
Bear in mind that this type of essay is a blend of narrative and expository styles of writing. It is a kind that warrants you to tell a story with a particular theme, comprising different phases or aspects. Hence, you should write like a story teller and as a test of good story telling your story should not be boring.
How do we know an interesting story? It puts the reader in suspense right from the beginning such that his curiosity to read to the end is ignited. This kind of story should be unique with elements and characters that are different from over a thousand and one other stories. To put things in perspectives, assume 57 environmentalists are invited to write on their career plans in a scholarship contest, the winning essay should be one that stands out distinctively from the 56 others even though all environmentalists may have a seemingly related career path.
Ø ORGANISATION AND PLOT
Do ensure you properly understand the essay prompt, which is the instruction on what particular points you are required to address in your essay. Here is an example of the 2016 Chevening networking essay prompt:
Chevening is looking for individuals with strong networking skills, who will engage with the Chevening
community and influence and lead others in their chosen profession. Explain how you meet this requirement,
using clear examples of your networking skills, and outline how you hope to use these skills in the future.
(minimum word count: 50 words, maximum word count: 500 words)
The broad theme of this essay is networking. But like an hydra head, it has tenctacles
which we can safely categorise as sub-themes. Read the essay prompt carefully again
and then try to identify these sub-themes.
First, ‘explain how you meet this requirement’(individuals with strong networking skills), using
clear examples of your networking skills.
Second, ‘outline how you hope to use these skills in the future.’ WHICH FUTURE? Answer
(…‘engage with the Chevening community and influence and lead others in their chosen profession’).
Don’t forget that the answers should be written as essays and not just a mere list of
facts or points.
Done with the organization and plot, the next point to emphasise is the need for cohesion in the entire essay. Every word, sentence and paragraph should be united in addressing the theme of that particular essay. Your write-up should show that you have focus and clarity of thought in the way it is composed and presented.
The story should have logical sequence or flow of thoughts, such that the succeeding paragraph rightly follows from the preceding paragraph. There should be a definite opening paragraph that gives us an idea of what the entire essay is about, and a closing paragraph that will affirm that the objective that was introduced at the start of the essay has indeed be accomplished. Let your essay be compact.
Keeping this point in mind will help you guard against writing out of points (OP).
Ø GRAMMAR AND MECHANICAL ACCURACY
Agreed that the English language may not be your mother tongue, nevertheless there is a minimum standard of mastery expected of you. The fact that you desire to pursue a master’s degree (as in Chevening) in the UK is strong enough to demand that you possess an ability to communicate your ideas in written form with clarity. This is the reason you should ensure that you demonstrate good knowledge of the language in your essays.
This can be achieved by sticking to the Standard English grammar. Recall the rules of concord between verbs and nouns; remember your punctuations and apply them appropriately; don’t forget to verify any spellings that you aren’t sure of; be flexible with your choice of words and use synonyms rather than being too repetitive. Do a word search on MS word to check how often you made use of certain adjectives, adverbs or verbs and consider substituting them with their synonyms.
Get people to review your essays for their constructive criticism and feedback. Yes, you may be a super writer and even a professional editor, but I’m sure you won’t want to risk being rejected due to errors that may arise as a result fatigue and the likes.
….Now the Chevening leadership essay
The leadership essay prompt asks that you show you are a potential leader using your experiences and indicate how you intend to be an influence in your country. It is as clear as that. You will help yourself to keep it that simple rather than delving into a realm that is beyond what is required.
Please don’t trouble yourself with defining leadership and giving your own philosophy of good leadership. I read somewhere on the internet that this may be done to only guide your thoughts and assist you in organising your ideas. But with respect to the final essay, it is unnecessary and a share waste of space. At best, you may include a statement of two or three lines summarising your philosophy of leadership as a means of introduction. My candid advice is that you use examples from your leadership experience to show that you actually portray the traits of a good leader.
In other to determine what to include or leave out of the essay, just remember that every leadership experience counts. You may have held a position in your local church, place of work, voluntary group or anywhere, it is very relevant. Your task is to identify which roles or events from those leadership positions would best present you as a future leader in your profession or country.
The essay should demonstrate that your background is robust. A friend who helped in reviewing my essays once commented that ‘leadership is best demonstrated with more than one example’ and I absolutely concur. Therefore don’t limit your story to just one instance of leadership, make use of other cases to highlight your leadership characteristics. You should refer to your achievements, challenges encountered and solutions proffered.
The next issue is to ensure that the entire story has a good plot. A good introductory paragraph should logically link up to the body of paragraphs and on to the closing paragraph. Just as you won’t want your tailor to skip stitches in sewing that nice shirt, also avoid any gaps in thought; recall that you want to sustain the attention of the assessor. Keep asking yourself, ‘does the next paragraph follow exactly from the last or not?’, that way you should be good to go.
Lastly, always bear in mind that you should cover all the subthemes in the essay prompt, leave no stone unturned.
Leadership & Influence Question
Chevening is looking for individuals that will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.
(minimum word count: 50 words, maximum word count: 500 words)
My ability to transcend limits, muster support and engender creativity to achieve common goals in the settings I find myself, defines me as a visionary leader. After the national facilitators of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) advocacy programme finished their presentation, they made a call for volunteers. I knew this was another opportunity to apply my leadership skills to foster the development of Nigeria, so I enrolled as a knowledge facilitator of the MDGs in November 2014.
At my place of my primary assignment, I observed that penetrating the host community had been a serious challenge to previous cohorts. This became my major focus when I became president of the MDGs community development group. To cross this hurdle, it was necessary that my team and I identified the core needs of our host community. By surveying the community, we discovered that the relevant goals to pursue were the promotion of universal basic education and improvement of maternal health. Consequently, we devised innovative strategies to implement them.
I realised that to produce deliverables in line with the MDGs, I had to harness the wealth of resource that lay in the diversity of my group, comprising young men and women from different academic disciplines and cultures. I delegated tasks to members based on our unique abilities, which created an environment that fostered shared responsibilities and inclusiveness. We organised outreaches to public schools and a specialist hospital, and received testimonials from the managements of these institutions.
A careful evaluation of my group’s achievements presented a necessity to take leadership further. The Local Government Inspector approved a proposal to offer solution-based lessons from my team’s experience to more than 225 youth corps members from nine other community development groups, through a talk show. Being the first of its kind at the local government, it created the right atmosphere for corps members to face challenges that hindered them in releasing their full potential as agents of social change.
Reminiscing my days in the university, I recall how I exhibited my leadership traits as the publicity secretary of the Federation of Catholic Students. I was saddled with the responsibility of promoting the image of the organisation, to further its mission of enabling students realise their academic pursuits based on the principles of integrity and hard work.
To achieve this, it was imperative to build the capacity of members to meet the rigours of tertiary education, while strengthening their resilience to shun vices like examination malpractice, which would tarnish the reputation of the group. Together with other executives, I created platforms to enable professors and some of our patrons deliver inspirational talks to the group. The success of this strategy earned me a nomination as publicity secretary for the Cross-River State chapter. We recorded 100% programme completion rate of our members, some maintained distinguished scholarship awards during their studies.
With the Chevening Scholarship, I will be able to broaden the scope of my influence to proffer creative solutions to challenges before a greater number of Nigerians.
….Over to the Chevening networking essay
In the networking essay, the assessors are looking out for indicators that depict your ability to connect with people, groups and places in ways that allow you benefit positively and contribute to the growth of others and the society. Thus, it will be best you cite events or situations where you strategically engaged with other people to reach mutually beneficial objectives.
Again, it will be beneficial if you can also demonstrate that you have a broad networking base. Do not hinge your presentation on only one idle case. Convince your reading audience that you are versatile, open-minded and have a global perspective to contemporary issues of development and in your professional path. Your involvement within your social and professional circles should provide concrete evidence of the aforementioned qualities.
Furthermore, it is very important to discuss how you plan to be engaged with the Chevening alumni network to achieve the overall goals of the Chevening scholarship scheme. At this point I would assume that you are well aware of the objectives of the scheme, otherwise you need to familiarise yourself with it. A very salient point to hold on to is the need for SPECIFICITY. Whatever it is you aim to do, describe it in very clear terms and ensure you raise ideas that are obviously realistic and measurable.
Chevening is looking for individuals with strong networking skills, who will engage with the Chevening community and influence and lead others in their chosen profession. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your networking skills, and outline how you hope to use these skills in the future.
(minimum word count: 50 words, maximum word count: 500 words)
My networking experience has evolved over time and it really came to fore in 2015, when I initiated and managed an educational project for over 1550 high school students from 10 public secondary schools in ****** State, as part of the mandate of the Nigeria Youth Service scheme. I was able to seek local support and build partnerships to fund and execute the project, because the goal was to promote the engagement of corps members with the local community.
In my quest to achieve this goal, I engaged in a lot of networking, as my project was broken down into different phases. Firstly, I submitted proposals to government departments that I identified as strategic to the project. Relevant authorities at the Ministry of Education endorsed the project and provided me with a letter of introduction, which I presented to the Area Education Officer and the principals of participating high schools. At the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, my networking ability was able to get me a referral to the centre for Better Health and Community Development (BHECOD), a local NGO that provided funds for the publication of seminar papers for the students.
As I realised my project was bigger than I could handle all its aspects, I recruited a dedicated team of 12 graduate volunteers from the community, who helped with the delivery of seminar papers and the facilitation of the quiz competition. For some of my team members, this was their first opportunity at participating in a community service initiative. Their involvement in public presentations helped them develop an overall sense of self-confidence.
Upon the successful completion of the project, and assessment of corps members’ projects for that year, it did not come as a surprise that I earned the State Chairman’s Commendation Award for community development service.
This experience imbued me with the values of diligence and tenacity, and it has further sharpened my networking skills, which I have sought to apply in my professional and social networks. Early in 2016, I was able to secure a research collaboration to work with a fellow member of the Association of Africa Young Economists (AAYE) on a study of inclusive economic growth in Africa. Membership of the United Nations Conference and Trade Virtual Institute has also offered me opportunities to interact with international development experts and to explore capacity-building opportunities targeting several regions including West Africa.
My aspiration as a prospective Chevening scholar is to engage the Nigerian Chevening community to develop youth-outreach initiatives. Particularly, I will focus on promoting capacity-building programmes for youths in marginalised areas like the insurgency-torn North-eastern part of Nigeria, and the volatile areas of the Niger-Delta. I also plan to combine the knowledge I have gained from the Young Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI) network, with the connections I will build through my participation in the Chevening events, to set-up mentoring and internship programmes for undergraduates in their penultimate year, especially in areas of identified skill gap.
….It’s time we focused on the Chevening study essay
One salient fact to remember when it comes to the study essay is the emphasis on how your previous study and professional experience have prepared you for your proposed courses in the UK. For an easy sail, the onus lies on you to identify courses, which are relevant to your academic background and work history. While it is not requested that the contents of your networking and leadership essays be correlated with your desired master’s courses, the study essays demands this. Hence, ensure that you properly highlight the significance of your past studies and work history to the UK courses you have chosen.
However, the Chevening secretariat also remarks that it is possible to pursue a course in a field that is divergent form your previous studies and professional path. In such a situation, you must be able to convincingly explain the reasons behind the shift and remember it would be done within your limited 500-word space. I strongly advice that whatever the case, ensure you chose 3 similar courses from 3 different universities. Why do I say so? Selecting related courses shows you have a clear focus and will reduce the task of having to proffer divergent arguments justifying each course. As for the choice of universities, it ensures that if you get turned down for admission or sponsorship by any of the universities, your chances of being accepted by the others will be maximised.
It is also demanded that you discuss why you have chosen these universities and the UK. Here is a chance to let the assessors know that you have done a great deal of research about the universities and the UK. You may want to mention the academic strength, quality of teaching faculty, research facilities, geographical location, cultural setting and several others; but always be SPECIFIC. It will be in your best interest if you don’t rely on merely reporting academic rankings like the TIMES, teaching excellence and others. This is simply because thousands of other applicants would surely do the same and as such, an average assessor reading all that will be bored. It’s only unique and startling ideas that will pique their interest in you. So go begin your research!
To add to all that has been said, I implore you to avoid repeating information that has been stated elsewhere in your application. This is a subtle warning that is even included on the study essay prompt. What does it mean? Do not begin listing university courses or modules learnt which are obviously in your transcript in your essay, it’s a waste of valuable space. Also, don’t rehearse your job description in your essay; you’ve done that already in the work experience section. Rather use the essay to point out the significance of that job role to your desired course and career plans.
You are at liberty to chart the plot of your essay, only ensure that you respond to all aspects of the prompt. Whatever the form, I would suggest you categorically pick on each course and university one after the other.
Studying in the UK Question
Outline why you have selected your chosen three university courses, and explain how this relates to your previous academic or professional experience and your plans for the future.
*Please do not duplicate the information you have entered on the work experience and education section of this form (minimum word count: 50 words, maximum word count: 500 words)
Despite the strategic position of Nigeria along the Equatorial Sunbelt, its huge deposits of biomass and the presence of the two largest rivers in West Africa, over 95 million Nigerians lack access to the power grid. Lack of evidence-based policies and ineffective management largely explain this energy paradox in Nigeria. This has influenced my desire to embark on postgraduate studies in an energy related discipline to supplement my background in Economics, so that I can be equipped to provide appropriate remedies.
Through my bachelor’s degree in Economics and my professional experience, I have gained robust exposures needed to succeed in my chosen courses. Apart from the statistical and analytical training I have received, I have also been enabled to understand the nexus between the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development through the mix of modules I learnt. My participation in the World Bank course on ‘Green Growth’, and my discourse with fellow members of the United Nations Conference and Trade Virtual Institute also helped me grasp the macroeconomic implications of a transition to a low-carbon economy. As a co-author of an article published in a UK journal and a former knowledge facilitator of the Millennium Development Goals, I developed my skills in research and community-needs assessment, which are essential for conceptualising energy concerns.
MSc Energy Studies (specialisation in Energy Economics), taught by the University of Dundee, is my first choice. The course will imbue me with the competencies to offer analytical support for the implementation of initiatives like Feed-in-Tariffs and tax-incentives that eliminate the market barriers to the proliferation of clean energy technologies. The interdisciplinary approach adopted by the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy is a strong appeal. At Dundee, I will learn from scholars like Professor Paul Stevens, whose research interest in energy demand analysis in developing countries closely aligns with my study objectives.
My second preferred course, MSc Energy Policy from the University of Sussex, is structured to furnish me with a deeper understanding of the procedures for drafting and implementing energy policies. Drawing on the lessons that can be learnt from the UK, where energy and environmental policies have been effected extensively, I will be equipped to model the variables needed to bolster an effective carbon trading system that will capture the environmental cost of fossil intensive processes. I am enthused by the department’s link to the UK Energy Research Centre, which offers facilities that will provide me with sophisticated analytical skills.
MSc Energy Economics and Policy from the University of Surrey is my third choice. Based on the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, over 75% of the research activity of its faculty are categorised as world-class. Its Department of Economics has also produced notable alumni, Ugbizi Ogar, the first Nigerian and African member of staff at the International Energy Agency obtained his masters from Surrey.
Generally, studying in the UK will afford me the opportunity to build global professional collaborations to support Nigeria’s goal of achieving 100% energy access by 2030.
….We come to the Chevening career essay
Before I get into the details of the career essay, I am persuaded to give some insight into personal gains I derived from writing my entire chevening essays particularly the career essay. My testimony is that the process and period of preparing my essays afforded me a rare opportunity of introspection and self-discovery. Having lived in a country where unemployment reigns supreme and even had first-hand experience of the bites of underemployment and joblessness, participating in the Chevening application procedures enabled me come up with what I will tag my career manifesto. This document has since been a reference material that I use to constantly remind myself of my aspirations and professional goals. It helps me maintain focus and remain resilient, while also giving me room for flexibility within reasonable bounds. Your own experience may even exceed mine if only you put in sincere efforts into writing the essay.
One unavoidable component of a career essay is the element of a timeline. There should be an obvious link between your past and future career paths and in between; definite progressive steps that lead to the future. Even when there is a desire to change career tracks, valid and logical explanations for this must be provided. Your career plan should be presented categorically within the framework of short term, middle term and long term paths or similar structure. At each stage, SPECIFICALLY state your objectives and justify them.
Highlight in your essay how the skills and training you desired in your study essay will be put to use. What kind of roles would you like to take on? With which kind of organisations do you wish to work and why? Your essay should be responding to these kind of questions. The sponsors of this award are desirous to find individuals that will be of greatest impact in promoting and leading positive change in their fields of endeavour, if you are not in this category please forget all about the scholarship. But if you are, do show them that you can influence, and will influence others positively through the career track you want to pursue.
This leads to another salient point. Dream wide and get the assessors to share in your dreams. Joseph in the Bible dreamed of leading his family and he ended up becoming a notable world leader in his days. Even his brothers who taunted him in his early years came letter bowing before him. My point here is that you shouldn’t write with a myopic mind-set, my daily companion the Bible says that ‘do not despise the days of small beginnings’, and ‘the glory of the latter days shall be greater than the former’. Communicate your vision of your tomorrow to the assessors.
To cap all these, it’s important to mention how you intend to use your training and career to advance the interest of the UK in your country. Research the current gaps and opportunities that can be filled and explored to advance British businesses and concerns, although not at the expense of the larger society, through your exposure in the UK. A good place to start from is the website of the UK embassy or consulate in your country, but don’t limit yourself to this.
Career Plan Question
Chevening is looking for individuals who have a clear post-study career plan. Please outline your immediate plans upon returning home and your longer term career goals. You may wish to consider how these relate to what the UK government is doing in your country (https://www.gov.uk/government/world). (minimum word count: 50 words, maximum word count: 500 words)
In the 2016 Doing Business Index, Nigeria ranked 182nd position among 190 countries based on the ease of access to electricity. From my research on ‘The Political Economy of Petroleum Subsidy Removal’ I realise how this trend impedes our ability to achieve national goals like economic diversification. This is why I seek to build on my experience as an advocate of the Millennium Development Goals, to pursue a career as an energy economist. This will position me to influence policy formulation effectively and to groom the human resources that will drive the transformation in the sector.
As part of my short-term career goals, I envisage holding the position of a partner at a leading think-tank, such as the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development, in charge of researching and implementing pioneering solutions like the carbon trading market and energy performance standards. This is because I strongly desire to gain immediate hands-on experience in projects targeted at improving energy efficiency, promoting the diffusion of clean-energy products and producing formidable value chains for their commercialisation.
I plan to delve into the academia, where I shall contribute to teaching Energy Economics, a relatively nascent specialisation in my country, to university students. This resonates with my prior teaching experience at high school level. I will also intensify research to spur evidence based policies that facilitate access to adaptive and environmentally sound energy technologies. My particular interest stems from the rigidities associated with Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights and barriers to open trade that limit the inflow of knowledge-based processes and business models through multi-national corporations.
Plunging into the academia has an extended advantage of fast tracking my intermediate plan of obtaining a doctorate degree. It will be enhance my capacity to conduct rigorous economic analysis for a wider range of clients in the industry and the public sector, and to offer consultancy to multilateral organisations like the World Bank.
In the long term, I aim to become a Professor of Energy Economics, serving on the editorial teams of referred journals and the advisory boards of think-tanks. At the same time, I also intend to contribute to the formulation of informed policies in the energy sector of Nigeria, either in an advisory capacity or as the head of a government department. Following this career track will promote trade liberalisation and expand the market for manufacturers of power generating appliances, a major component of the Nigerian non-oil imports, which accounts for 23% of the UK’s export to Nigeria (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2016). It will also encourage the influx of UK franchises through the licensing of intellectual property rights for frontier renewable energy innovations. Furthermore, it will help to remedy unstable power supply, a major infrastructural setback to the progress of both domestic and foreign business ventures.
Overall, through my training as an energy economist, I will provide the support to help Nigeria achieve an enviable record of improved energy access, the major focus of the UK’s Energy Africa Campaign, due to its significance in achieving other development goals.
….Other general hints
- Beware of uploading your essays on websites for editing. While it is encouraged that you have other people read through your essays to get their feedback and corrections, it will be detrimental to upload your essays on any website, even facebook. The reason is simple. Every essay submitted for the Chevening scholarship is usually scanned using very sophisticated anti-plagiarism software, and it will be unfortunate to have your application disqualified because it failed the plagiarism test based on evidence that an earlier version of it or its content was already available online. Also, some other applicants may steal of modify your ideas.
- 2. Avoid copying the essays of previous Chevening scholarship applicants/winners. This is still on plagiarism. Essays are scanned against a pool of past applications to also detect plagiarism. I am very sure this is done for even admission personal statements submitted through UCAS. Furthermore, assessors who can quickly recall will identify essays or contents that they have read elsewhere because they are trained to do this. You should not be surprised if other applicants like you would also be replicating the same essay; surely, there’ll be a penalty.
- Build the necessary profile. Unlike the commonwealth shared scholarship where so much emphasis is not laid on work experience, the Chevening scholarship explicitly requires it. It is thus needful that your professional background exhibits the kind of qualities sought. Don’t hesitate to engage in meaningful voluntary work even if you don’t have a gainful employment. Identify yourself with the right networks, both social and professional.
- Give importance to your job description. Properly report the roles and responsibilities you handled in your previous and current employments. You now have an avenue to present details about yourself that you were unable to include in the essays. It will pay you to flaunt your achievements especially those that can be verified by your referees. Quantify your successes and don’t underestimate the value of positive records you’ve set at work or elsewhere.
- Use the right diction and be consistent with the language type. Let your choice of words reflect your familiarity with the vocabulary of your intended discipline. This does not in any way imply that you overload your essays with so many technical jargon. What I mean is that you should create an impression of knowing what is involved in the desired field.
You should also make use of synonyms for words that are often repeated in your essays. The significance of this is for the simple reasons that it communicates to your audience that you possess a wide range of the English language, and you have an appreciable level of its mastery.
I will also remark that you should be consistent with whatever version of the language with which you’ll write your essays. If it’s American, so be it; if not let it be the British variation. Avoid mixing the two so that the assessor’s attention on the content of your essays is not punctuated at all.
EXTRA NOTES – May 2019
- I will share tips from an anonymous grader who has worked for many years with Chevening. The post will be available by August 2019.
- I and my team have helped a couple of folks review their essays over the years. Many have had a good level of success in the Chevening application and subsequent interview. Due to time constraints, we cannot help everyone review their essays. We can help you review your essays but you should expect to hear from us within 14 days.
- Please, consider subscribing to Quora page. That will help support this website and page. Thanks. The links are available below.
Good luck as you apply