Everything you need to know about university scholarships

17 May 2021
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

Looking for extra help when it comes to funding your university career? Scholarships are one of the ways that universities in the UK can ease the burden and financially support students throughout their studies.

If you’ve not thought about applying for a university scholarship in the UK before, there are a few things you need to know before you get started.

So, whether you want to know how to find out if you’re eligible, or need information on how to secure one, read on.

Types of UK Scholarships

Universities and businesses have different motives for offering funding, but usually they’re awarded for academic excellence, musical and sporting achievement or marketing reasons. The good news is that these aren’t restricted to just the academically-gifted, and there are several reasons why students are offered scholarships.

Here, we’ve outlined some examples of the types of scholarships available in the UK.

1) Academic excellence

Many universities offer scholarships to students who excelled in their A-Levels in order to encourage them to come and study at their university. This isn’t just those who got A*AA, though - some offer financial help for ABB or less. The grades vary, so, check in with the university you want to go to and find out what’s required for a scholarship.

2) Musical scholarships

If you’re musically-talented and happy to perform during your time studying, you could be eligible for a music scholarship. This applies to a range of instruments and those who are vocally gifted.

3) Sporting talent

If you play a high level of sport, many universities will offer you a scholarship if you agree to represent their team. University sport is competitive, and they do this to attract the best talent in the likes of football, hockey, athletics and more. Even better, your choice of academic course also has no influence, so you can choose to study anything you’d like.

4) Personal circumstances

Sometimes, certain circumstances can earn you a scholarship from a UK uni and these ones don’t rely on academic excellence or a particular talent. For example, you can get a scholarship for where you live, where you went to school or what your parents do.

5) Financial need

If finances are a barrier to study, universities also award money to people who might not be able to go to study at their institution without support. To apply, you’ll need to provide proof that you need financial help to gain this type of scholarship.

6) Industry scholarships

Companies and organisations can offer scholarships, too. They do this to attract the best young talent to their industry once they have graduated, and this can also include work experience during their studies. Often these scholars are offered employment on graduation.

7) Marketing-led scholarships

Similar to the above, companies are also known to offer scholarships to achieve marketing objectives. Essentially, offering this type of scholarship helps get their brand in front of students to attract the best young minds, and they’re open to all students with scholarships of up to £5,000.

Am I eligible for a scholarship in the UK?

Believe it or not, many universities and companies offering scholarships don’t get enough applicants. Not everyone who applies gets one, but it does improve your chances of your application getting accepted.

When you search for courses on UCAS, you can find out if there are any bursaries, scholarships or awards available from the course provider. Sites such as the Scholarship Hub and Postgraduate Search are also great places to look for scholarships available at a particular university or in a chosen field. You can filter scholarships by basis for selection, institution or course.

If you feel you meet the criteria, send your application and wait to find out if you’re eligible for the financial support.

When should I apply?

Application deadlines for scholarships can vary, so it’s important you check in with each one to find out when you need to apply. Some scholarships require you to apply before you know your A-Level results, while others expect you to have your place already confirmed at university.

If you’re already studying at university, you haven’t missed your chance. Certain scholarships are available to students going into their second and third year too.

We’ve given you the basics and now it’s time to get hunting! Be wary that providers will have specific criteria for eligibility to their scholarships, so, the most important thing you can do is put in some time to research. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

After all, with other outgoings such as student accommodation, bills and food, some extra help with your tuition fees can go a long way.

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Staff writer at The Common Room