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How to Land Scholarship for a Masters Degree in the US

Bakhtawar Krishnan



How to Land Scholarship for a Masters Degree in the US

Are you one of the million people who are looking for a scholarship to study in the United State. For many of us, the thought of having a Master’s Degree in the United States brings on both the responses of excitement as well as apprehension. Excitement because the US is one of the hottest destinations for higher studies in the world, and is well known for its top-ranking institutions, excellent learning environments, and technological facilities. To study in the US is to many, the ultimate sign of success in academic life.

On the other hand, it isn’t enough for you to dream of it. Even if you do have a good academic track record, there are many other factors that play a role in ultimately getting to do your masters studies in the US.  After all, the country does have its cons: The cost of living is extremely high, and the tuition fees of higher studies establishments are notorious for sending students into lifelong debt. The expenses that have to be incurred in the process are inhibitive, to say the least. 

The one solution to this problem is a scholarship. However, landing a scholarship, especially in a country such as the US, is no mean feat. Millions of students apply to colleges and universities in the US every year. So, what can you do to make sure that you are one of the few finally chosen to spend a few years of academic life here?

And the US is the top destination amongst students for an MS, the competition is fierce. But, worry not, as in this article, we share with you how to land a scholarship for an MS in the US.

But, before you start applying for scholarships, you must know all the details about an MS in the US. Click here to know the details of pursuing an MS in the USA.

Tips to get a scholarship for an MS in the US:

Types of scholarships

There are many types of scholarships that you can apply for. One categorization would be that of governmental and non-governmental scholarships. They will have different terms and conditions, so it is important to read up on them and do sufficient pros-and-cons weight before you finalize which one suits you the best. 

Needless to say, the governmental scholarships mean more security and less paperwork, since you’ll be dealing directly with federal/ state agencies for visa application and other things. Some scholarships are completely based on merit, while others are assistance or need-based. The first provides tuition and pays the cost of accommodation and other expenses. Many institutions also admit international students through their method of “need-blind admissions”, which doesn’t necessarily look for only those students who are in need of financial aid.

It is of utmost importance that you do thorough research on the types of scholarships.


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Competitive Examinations such as the GRE/GMAT/TOEFL

Most higher studies establishments in the Western world, particularly the United States, require that you achieve a particular score in one or more of these competitive examinations. They measure your English language skills, logical and verbal reasoning, and basic mathematical skills among other things. Make sure you are prepared to face these examinations and pass them with the best score possible. While GMAT is just for students looking to pursue an MBA, GRE and TOEFL are standard tests that apply to every field of graduate study.

Study well for these exams and make sure that you give them your best.

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Be prepared to write hundreds of SOPs (not an understatement) if you want to get into a higher studies institution in the US. If you are applying for a scholarship, you need to be extra careful so as to clearly outline why you want it, also making a case for your selection in the most convincing and persuasive way possible. Some institutions ask for more than one SOP at the same level. Some ask for SOPs at different levels of the application process. At each level, you should be able to come up with something honest, but also fresh and original. As much as possible, try not to give in the same SOP more than once. It would really help to talk to or read the advice of those who have gone through the same process and managed to graduate from the US.

Personal Profile

This is another piece of writing that one needs to construct very carefully. All of your praiseworthy achievements must be listed, usually in essay format, preferably according to the relevance that the achievement has to the course or scholarship in question. Sometimes, this piece of writing may have other names, but the ultimate format is the same. Your personal profile is your best foot forward; it is your representative to the institution reviewing you. Maintain a modest but unpretentious tone. Be humble, yet confident of what you have to offer to the institution.

Letters of Recommendation

You will need quite a few letters of recommendation. Your principal, HOD and department professors in the undergraduate institution you were enrolled in must be approached for these letters. You can also get LORs from your employers if you have work experience. The more letters from more persons of credibility, the stronger your case and the chance of landing the scholarship.

Scholarships to look out for

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program or the Fulbright Scholarship is one of the most famous and trusted government-funded scholarships in the US. It is open for all graduate programs except for medicine. Another well-known scholarship is the Wesleyan Freeman Asian Scholarship Program at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, which covers the full cost of the course. Some other notable scholarships are Rotary Peace Fellowships, Harvard University Scholarships, Iowa State University International Merit Scholarships and New York University Wagner International Scholarships.

Most importantly, be clear about exactly what you want- what course you want, what you want from the course and what you expect from the scholarship. This requires a significant amount of specific research undertaken by you, personally, so that you can finally settle for a scholarship that fits your needs perfectly.

Bakhtawar Krishnan is the Founder & Director of Inspirus Education, leading test-prep institute and study abroad consultancy. Bakhtawar brings with her over 30 years of diverse experience; on both, national as well as international levels. An accomplished professional in the field of higher education abroad, she has helped thousands of students realize their dream of studying at esteemed universities all over the world.

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