Tips on Achieving a Scholarship
Scholarships provide financial assistance for families and usually cover between 25-100% of a child’s private school fees. They differ from bursaries, which are means tested, as they are usually decided on by merit and academic factors rather than a family’s income or ability to pay the fees.
While scholarships are usually given to pupils based on merit, this is not limited to academic achievement. While a larger percentage of scholarships will tend to be given to students who are earmarked as academic “high fliers” or who have performed well in exams, they are also awarded to students who have a history of excellence in other spheres, such as music, art, or sport, or who should great potential in those areas.
Scholarships AwardsScholarships are decided upon by each school individually. For example, with academic scholarships, some schools might hold special scholarship exams for those students whose families think they are capable of winning an award, but other schools will simply offer scholarships to the students who gain the top results in the school’s entrance examination, if applicable.
The system differs with sports, music and arts scholarships - these will normally be advertised by the school in their prospectus or admissions literature, enabling students to apply to be considered for the award if appropriate.
Tips for Winning an Academic ScholarshipIf there is a specific scholarship exam, or even if the scholarship candidates are decided from the entrance examination, it’s important to prepare well. Ask the school for a sample exam paper, if available, and go through the type and style of examination questions with your child. Help your child to think about the day in advance, so he or she does not find it stressful, and do not over-emphasise the importance of the day (it’s best not to tell your child that the scholarship will decide whether he or she can attend the school, as this might create undue stress.)
If there is a follow-up interview, it’s best to think about this and prepare in advance too. Help your child to think about possible questions that they might be asked, but do not “coach” them in responses, which will sound unnatural. If there is also a parental interview, do not worry about this - it will normally be a formality. Try not to come across as too “pushy”, however! The schools will be interested in your child demonstrating a well-balanced personality and strong family background as well as academic ability.
Tips for Winning a Sports or Arts ScholarshipSports-mad student athletes may dream of winning one of the few sports or athletic scholarships available in the UK. The same is true of passionate arts students.
There are several ways to increase your chance of winning of these. It’s a good idea to write a kind of sports or arts CV, listing your efforts, achievements and the range of sports or arts that you have been involved with. You should send this to the sports/arts team at the school, and could even prepare a video that shows off your sports performance, or loan some evidence of your artistic ability. This will help you to stand out from the crowd. Ask your current coaches or school teachers for a letter of recommendation of your sporting or artistic ability.