Are you ready to be a scholarship hunter?
In 2013, my own version of the “golden ticket” arrived in the mail: Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University had accepted me into their international management program, providing me with the opportunity to discover my place as a global citizen. Next came the challenge of learning more, working hard and becoming the best version of myself—someone who can help make the world a better place. However, this was not going to be a free ride, academically or financially.
Fast-forward to three years down the line. Academically, I followed through on my goals as much of my time and efforts at APU have been devoted to being the best student I can be. This has also had a positive financial impact on me, by allowing me to reach out for scholarships and accolades along the way as my experience here has progressed. Because many of the scholarships available to APU students after enrollment are merit-based (meaning your GPA and achievements matter), there was motivation to always put my best foot forward both in class and in extracurricular activities. My results paid off, and I have become something of a “scholarship hunter.”
To give you an idea, I have been successful in achieving the following scholarships so far:
- APU 100% Tuition Reduction Scholarship for four years* (approximately 46,000 USD)
- Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship (approximately 13,000 USD)
- JASSO Honors Scholarship (approximately 9,000 USD)
- Oita Prefecture Scholarship (approximately approximately 3,600 USD)
- Ando Momofuku Award for 5th Semester Students (approximately 2,300 USD)
- APU University Academic Merit Scholarship (approximately 1,250 USD)
- APU Incentive Scholarship for Self-Motivated Students (approximately 500 USD)
If you too are curious about becoming a scholarship hunter once you arrive at APU, here are my four most important tips for success.
1) DYB (Do Your Best)
Yes, it’s as simple as that. Do your best in all your endeavors, and never stop asking yourself if you could have done better. Whether you are studying, working part-time or running a project, try as hard as you can. No matter how difficult learning Japanese (or any other language) is, do not give up. Sometimes there may not be a second attempt, but there will always be the next chance, as long as you are willing to keep looking for it. I believe it’s not your GPA itself that matters; your GPA is only one piece of proof that reflects your cumulative efforts, while outstanding achievements in extracurricular activities open doors not only to scholarships but also a richer life. So, DYB and live with no regrets.
2) “If I were a…”
Imagine yourself in ten years. What job are you doing? Who are you with? How do other people see you? Why is that so? After picturing your ideal future self, start to be that person now! Literally try acting as if you are already ten years down the road. For example, if you want to be a manager, you could even start dressing the part now. Speak like a successful person now. Don’t wait to start thinking like an innovator. Find an inspiring mentor who has qualities you aspire to. I believe once you start to behave like the person you want to become, you will gradually transform without even realizing it. In this way, whenever a scholarship interviewer asks “What kind of person do you want to be in the future?” you can confidently show them part of that image right now.
3) Why me?
If you were on the scholarship committee, would you choose yourself as the best (matching) candidate? If there is anyone that could receive the award, why should it be YOU? Before starting any scholarship application, I usually write down at least five of my personal strengths that I`m especially proud of to keep in mind while writing the application essays. This keeps me focused while trying to convince the scholarship committee I am a worthy candidate for their institution. However, in my opinion, being qualified is not enough. You also have to prove that you are the right person who matches the vision of the institution providing the scholarship. There are several ways to do this, the first of which is getting advice from APU’s Student Office. This office is your one-stop-shop for all post-enrollment scholarship-related matters. I also highly recommend that you check the website of the scholarship provider, if available. This gives you the chance to learn about the institution’s mission and profile as well as the purpose of providing the scholarship. With this information, you will hopefully figure out the selection criteria and make more relevant statements in your application.
4) You are not alone!
That’s right! Remember you always have support from family, faculty, and friends. As the saying goes: If you want to walk fast, walk alone; but if you want to walk far, walk together. Those who care for you are always by your side; all you have to do is turn your head and seek their assistance.
I will never forget the proud and grateful feeling I had in my heart when making my acceptance speech during the scholarship award ceremony last year.
“I am Duong Bao Thi Anh, a business student from Viet Nam who dreams about becoming a change-maker—a world-class consultant. Consultants not only study and work for themselves but also to help others to become better…”
Everybody in the room was looking at me attentively and listening to every word I was saying. I felt like a superstar in the spotlight for those few minutes. It seemed as if I was standing on top of the world and people were wholeheartedly celebrating my achievements. But in reality, I’m just someone able to openly convey her dreams and passions to others with determination and confidence. It was an awesome moment that I believe everyone should have in their lives: the moment of triumph to say it was not “luck” that brought me here, but my blood, sweat, and tears.
This can be YOUR story too. So, are you ready to become a scholarship hunter now? Make your scholarship-hunting journey memorable and full of hope. You just need to take the first step to reach for your dreams.
*APU Tuition Reduction Scholarships are only awarded before enrollment.
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