If you’re planning to study for a master’s degree in the UK, and you’re looking to get a scholarship, there’s a great chance that you’ve already heard about the Chevening scholarship. This UK government sponsored scholarship is not only a fully funded scholarship that allows you to study and live in the UK cost free, it also offers you the opportunity to be part of an exclusive alumni network. So, you get to create great networks and friendships that serve as a springboard to unlimited career possibilities. Exciting, right?
The Chevening scholarship is, however, extremely competitive, and well over 50,000 applications are submitted every year, with only about 1700 applicants receiving the award yearly. So, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of the stages in the application and selection process, and make proper preparation to stand a chance of securing this highly coveted scholarship. Yet, even the smallest chance of success is certainly worth a trial.
Here! Let’s look at the different stages of the application and selection process, and what you can expect at each stage. But first, let’s be sure you’re eligible to apply.
- Citizenship of a Chevening-eligible country.
- Return to your home country for at least two years after your scholarship ends.
- Have proof of completion of an undergraduate study as required to pursue a postgraduate study in the UK.
- At least 2 years (2800 hours) of work experience.
- Application to three eligible UK university courses.
- An unconditional offer from one of the applied courses.
Stages in the Chevening Scholarship Application
Typically, the selection process takes about a year, and can be divided into 5 stages: application, reading committee assessment, interview, conditional offer, final award and pre-departure briefing stages.
Stage 1: Application
Applications for Chevening Scholarship typically open around 3rd August and closes 2nd November every year. In this stage, you’ll need to submit your application exclusively online through the Chevening’s online application system. You’ll need to apply for three courses in the UK; either three similar courses at different universities or three different courses at one university. Remember to check the admission criteria of each course carefully. You can’t change your choices later on, so it’s best you choose courses that best suit your development goals.
When writing your essay, please be as authentic as possible. Avoid copying from university or tourism websites. Share in your own words how studying in a UK university and your selected courses will help you achieve your goals and benefit your home country upon return. Be concise and stick to the word limit. You can fill the form in different sessions and save changes as you go on. You can’t make changes to your application after submitting it, so it’s best you take special care at this stage to write the best application possible. Check out these common mistakes made by past applicants and ensure you avoid them.
Stage 2: Reading Committee Assessment
From mid-November to December, independent reading committees assess all eligible applications, and send back their scores and rankings to the British embassies/high commissions. The Embassy will shortlist applicants for the interview, and you can expect to receive a notification via email by mid-February if you’re among the successful applicants. Congratulations if you make it this far. Note that shortlisted candidates must submit two references and their education documents prior to their interview date. So, it’s best you contact your referees when filling your application to avoid delays.
Stage 3: Interview
Interviews typically take place from early March to April ending. You’ll need your passport/national ID for the interview. Candidates will be interviewed by panels at British embassies and high commissions. The interview is your golden opportunity to show why you should be selected for the scholarship. You’ll be asked questions about your work experience, choice of courses, personal and professional goals, and how the Chevening Scholarship will help you achieve these goals. Your answers will be assessed using the global Chevening criteria.
Stage 4: Conditional Offer
From early June onwards, successful candidates in the interview stage will receive their conditional offers, and can celebrate after months of preparation and agitation. Congratulations if you make it this far, you’ve finally secured the highly prestigious Chevening Scholarship. However, the offer is conditional, and you’ll need to submit at least one unconditional UK university offer by 14th July.
Stage 5: Final Award and Pre-departure briefing
From mid-July to August, you can expect to receive your final award letter (FAL). Once you receive your FAL and Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your university, you can start the visa application process. You’ll need to apply for a visa yourself as neither the Secretariat nor Embassy is responsible for your visa application. You’ll also need to confirm your accommodation choice with your UK university. Short-term loans for accommodation can be arranged where necessary. A private Facebook group will be opened for Chevening Scholars, where you can connect with your Chevening colleagues.
You’re required to attend a pre-departure briefing event in your home country, and you’re likely to receive your cash card at this event. By September/October, Chevening Scholars begin their studies in the UK, and become part of an international network that they’ll enjoy for the rest of their lives!
For more guidance, you can read the Chevening application guidance and apply via your country/territory’s page at www.chevening.org/apply. Having read this article, you’re now ready to apply for this life-changing opportunity. Though the process can be mentally and emotionally demanding, the prize is certainly worth the fight. Best of luck!