Would I ever make it. That was the question that stared at my faces few minutes after I got the mail of my GRE Funding support by the i-scholar Initiative.
Despite my academic grade, for some months now. I had failed to secure a scholarship, I lamented in self pity. The i-scholars Initiative (ISI) boosted my self confidence and motivated me not to give up on my goals.
My experience with this initiative has been a transforming one. The access to mentors and professionals who are doing great things in their field of work is matchless. The mentors offered timely advice and guidance that was very helpful to securing a graduate program. May Jehovah reward them in multiple folds. I
remember when I was studying for the exam. It was hell on earth. What about the overnight browsing -searching for schools and scholarships. It got to a point I had up to 30 list of potential scholarships.
I learnt how to be humble by force when I was begging some of my lecturers for recommendation. Some even threatened to stop assisting me as I was just applying for everything that comes my way. (Lol.No vex sir. Its not my fault nah).
Different SOP review. The Scholars and Partners were so very helpful in this aspect.
Seeing crowds at Postgraduate scholarship exams e.g FSB Commonwealth Scholarship and interviews were no longer new to me. As a matter of fact, I now had cliques that we greet each other, chat, laugh and ask after each other at various scholarship applications.
Our slang and logo was *#We die here.*
I remember the sorrows, the pains and the disappointment. I could remember the cost of paying application fees to University of Tokyo together with sending documents just to be nominated as a Japanese MEXT University Scholarship. Only to wake up to receive a Letter of Regret eMail.
These are not stories that touch the heart. They are just proofs that every winner has a lot in their bag of stress, difficulty and trying moments preceding their victory. The fact simply remains and will always remain. ‘You cannot succeed if you do not try.’ You can never win what you did not apply for.
In all, the Initiative has been like a propeller for my academic goals. The daily and weekly motivation and words of encouragement from the scholars and partners are priceless; it keeps me going.
My advice to prospective scholars is that when applying for scholarship opportunities, please do not despair even when the regret mail comes. The darkest part of the night precedes the dawn. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
One success mail will surely wipe the tears of a thousand rejections.
And that is exactly what the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship at the University of Capetown did to me.
Moreover, approaching a faculty member by email is a good first step. Be sure to tailor your email and message to each potential supervisor. Your goal is to stand out and make them notice you – a great first impression.
Use proper letter format, formal salutations – Professor/Dr. (last name) and close with “Yours sincerely” followed by your full name and contact information
Attach your CV and current transcripts
Tell them what program you are applying to
Tell them why you’re interested in graduate studies, include career goals, and be sure to highlight any research or leadership skills.
Tell them why you have chosen them, why your research interests are a good match. Refer to their publications that interest you.
I am a First Class graduate of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta Nigeria.
I am a prospective MSc. student of the Department of Oceanography at the University of Capetown, South Africa.