💼 Chevening Scholar
⏳ Sep 2020 — Sep 2021
✅ Student Visa
💰 100% Financial Need Met
Just like with any other scholarship, I started by reading all about it on the official website. I then had to understand the profile of a “target candidate”. For example, NYUAD wants “global leaders”, and even though obviously not everybody is going to become a president, every student I know is a true leader in their community. Chevening’s focus on leaders is similar.
Experiences that led me to Chevening
The Chevening Scholarship is very competitive and every country has its quota on the number of students. As I was trying to picture myself in this context, I thought that I actually have a chance after being at NYUAD and having so many global experiences. Ever since coming to NYUAD, I was working every semester: I had a research assistantship on campus, numerous internships, and I served as a residence assistant. One of Chevening's requirements is to have 2 years of work experience, counting internships. While doing a fellowship program in New York, at Tandon School of Engineering, my professor encouraged me to pursue grad school and apply for Chevening Scholarship. Having all these experiences on my CV, I believed I am a good fit.
Experience alone can not get you a scholarship, you also have to put in the effort in your application and have well-written essays. We had to write four essays on four different topics, all revolving around the concept of leadership.
1st essay on Leadership. How do you see yourself as a leader? In what scenarios have you demonstrated your leadership qualities?
2nd essay on Career Plan. What is it that you want to do in the future and why?
3rd essay on Studying in the UK. You need to explain why UK is appealing to you. UK is one of the best countries for higher education, both historically and up to date. Lots of historical UK universities have impacted the course of education!
4th essay on Networking. Being able to build professional relationships is very important. Since I left NYUAD I still get invited to various events and interviews, and it’s all because of the network I build.
Each essay is only 500 words, so it's important to keep it simple. The admission team gets tons of applications, so they want something well contextualized and clear. Remember that your writing is your thinking and your opinion. Give it to 2-3 people to review it and get a second opinion.
There are other documents you need to submit for the application, check official website for detailed information.
Explain your grades
Apart from the scholarship application, Chevening will also ask you to submit the names of 3 universities that you wish to apply for and believe you can get admitted to. Be realistic and evaluate your GPA when making this selection. But I always say “every GPA counts”, meaning that every grade is valid as long as you are able to explain the circumstances.
In December 2020 I had a family emergency when my little brother got into an accident and I had to fly home during the peak exam period. Mentally it was very hard, which already impacts your academics. I was able to balance it out and graduate on a high note, but these things happen and you just need to explain it.
Chevening scholarship is fully funded: your tuition and living expenses are covered. I lived in London, which is the most expensive city in the UK, so my allowance was adjusted accordingly. All that’s expected of you is to be a good student: read your books, pass your exams, and participate in university events.
I managed my financed well, cooked for myself, and was able to save £500 every month. If you party or travel a lot, you might run out of money, but I can definitely say that what Chevening provides is enough.
The requirement to return to your country
One of the scholarship requirements is to return to your country of citizenship for a minimum of two years after the program ends. However, we came during the pandemic period and didn’t get the proper UK experience due to many classes being online. We couldn’t even meet all the students. Some students stayed a bit longer to complete their courseworks. Anyone who wishes to stay for one reason or another must reach out to Chevening to discuss their situations.
I must say that this rule is binding, though some students might have other academic opportunities to pursue before the end of their 2-year spell at home. In this case, you might have to reach out to Chevening and make a decision that suit both parties.
I believe NYUAD is the most diverse university in the world, but Chevening is also very diverse! I’ve met people from every single region. When we were taking classes online, nobody talked about diversity, so it all came together once we met online and were able to hang out. It's a great place to make amazing connections and network!