All about scholarships

Now is the time to start thinking about applying for scholarships. Yet, some students might hesitate to apply because they think they won’t qualify or don’t even know about the scholarships on offer.

But what do you have to lose by applying? Trust me, there’s something for everyone. Not convinced? Just read what Uni of Newcastle Scholarships Senior Advisor, Amy Reeves, has to say.

What scholarships are available to students?

There is a plethora of scholarships available to students, whether you are new, currently studying, an Indigenous student, bringing talents in sports or music, undertaking overseas exchange, or an International student, and more. According to Amy, “We offer around 1000 students an undergraduate scholarship each year across all study levels”.

Uni of Newcastle students are also able to apply for external scholarships, such as the world-renowned  Rhodes Scholarship or Endeavour Leadership Program.

How do I apply and why should I?

Undergraduate students can apply for one (or more!) on the Scholarships Finder, while HDR scholarships are administered separately by the University’s Office of Graduate Studies.

Make sure to take the time to read over the criteria as often it can be quite specific. However, if the end result is receiving that much-needed financial boost, then it’s definitely worth taking that extra bit of time. Every scholarship is worth applying for, and here’s why:

“There is the great financial benefit,” Amy said. “Scholarship value can vary, but the average value is about $5,000, which can certainly ease the financial stresses of study by assisting with costs of texts and materials, computers and other equipment, travel, relocation, and childcare costs.”

There is also a sense of recognition and prestige in having been successful in a competitive process and awarded a scholarship. Many scholarships are included on your academic transcripts and provide an opportunity to be recognised at Scholars Week and other prestigious events.

Are letters of recommendation needed and will I be interviewed?

Good news! You don’t need a letter of recommendation for every single scholarship you may apply for.

Each scholarship will tell you what documents you need to provide. Usually it is a personal statement about your experiences of disadvantage and/or your achievements and goals. “Several scholarships do not require any supporting documents as they are determined by your ATAR at entry.”

And as far as interviews go, there are only a small number of scholarships requiring this, or if you’re a Music student, sometimes an audition will take place.

If you’re invited to an interview, it will most likely be a panel of three University staff members and potentially a representative for the scholarship donor. These interviews usually take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Amy recommends taking the time to research the background to the donor and their aims in supporting scholarships prior to your interview. “This will ensure that you are aware of their goals in supporting University of Newcastle students.”

Are there services available to help with my application?

Yes! Students are welcome to get in touch with Scholarships via email for advice or check out the FAQs section.

What makes me more likely to receive a scholarship?

Well for one, meeting all the criteria. Selection panels cannot waive criteria, so it is really important to check these carefully. Here are a few handy tips:

  • Back up the claims made in your personal statement with relevant supporting documents. This may be your Centrelink income statement if you’re applying for financial hardship and/or a news article about your volunteering experience or sporting achievement for Excellence Scholarships.
  • Increase your chances by applying for ALL scholarship you meet the criteria for. If you’re successful in more than one (go you!), Amy’s team makes sure you can accept the one of most value or interest to you.
  • For Equity Scholarships with UAC, apply EARLY. Your best chance for securing an Equity Scholarship (ESSUN) offer is to have your application assessed by UAC in time for December and January offer rounds.

When should I apply?

Students should look to apply for scholarships from September the year prior, with most of them closing in March each year. But this doesn’t apply to all scholarships. Equity Scholarship applications through UAC open early August, with offers made in December and January. Also, some of the High Achievers scholarships are automatically awarded around admission time (January/February).

How long until I hear back about my application?

The selection process can take some time, Amy said. “There are several applications to coordinate and we aim to have processes finalised within four to six weeks of scholarship closing dates.”

The scholarship will appear in your myHub under the My Scholarships page after the scholarship close date. From there, you can track the outcome. Students also receive an email of the outcome on whether they were successful or unsuccessful.

When should I receive the scholarship money?

Most scholarships cannot be paid before a semester census date and do take some time to coordinate. According to Amy, “in most cases, you can expect to receive payment in the first few weeks of April” (and September if you have a Semester 2 instalment).

“There is no stipulation on how you spend your scholarship, however, it is assumed it will support study costs,” Amy said. And when your scholarship is funded by a donor to the University, a nice ‘thank you’ message and an indication of how the scholarship has helped you, goes a long way toward encouraging their continued support for future students.

So why not consider applying for a scholarship? The amazing rewards and benefits will be sure to ease your student lifestyle.

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