Are you an international student seeking a fully funded scholarship to pursue your academic dreams? Then, the Commonwealth Scholarship is one you should consider.
The fully funded Commonwealth Scholarship is a prestigious and competitive program that offers opportunities to outstanding students from Commonwealth countries. The scholarship covers expenses such as tuition, accommodation, travel fares, and living expenses for students pursuing a postgraduate degree in the UK.
In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about the Commonwealth Scholarship and how to apply. So, want to know more about the Commonwealth Scholarship for international students? Then, continue reading.
Also Read: How to Get Chevening Scholarship
About Commonwealth Scholarship?
The Commonwealth Scholarship is a prestigious scholarship program that provides opportunities for students from Commonwealth countries to pursue postgraduate studies in various fields such as engineering, science, and humanities in the UK.
The Commonwealth Scholarship program began in 1960 with 175 students selected for the scholarship. The scholarship was an idea that originated from a speech by Canadian statesman Sidney Earle Smith in 1958.
A year later, the idea was adopted at the first Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) held in Oxford, Great Britain. After this meeting, the Commonwealth Scholarship was then officially established.
The first edition of the scholarship in 1960 awarded 175 scholars. Since then, over 30,000 students have benefited from the program.
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) administers the scholarship program on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) and the UK host university, which funds the scholarships. The program is open to citizens of Commonwealth countries who have a first degree at the upper second-class level or higher, or a relevant postgraduate qualification.
Furthermore, the CSC has six(6) development themes. So, if your desired course of study falls into any of them, you stand a better chance of receiving the scholarship. The themes include:
- Science and technology for development
- Strengthening health systems and capacity
- Promoting global prosperity
- Strengthening global peace, security, and governance
- Strengthening resilience and response to crises
- Access, inclusion, and opportunity
Types of Commonwealth Scholarship
Altogether, the Commonwealth Scholarships are of eight different types. We have highlighted them below:
- Commonwealth Master’s Scholarship
- Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship (for least developed countries and fragile states)
- Commonwealth Split-site Scholarship (for low and middle-income countries)
- Commonwealth Shared Scholarships
- Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships
- Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for high-income countries)
- Commonwealth Medical Fellowships
- Commonwealth Professional Fellowships
Why Apply For Fully Funded Commonwealth Scholarship For International Students?
So, what benefits will you receive by applying for the fully funded Commonwealth Scholarships for international students? Although the benefits are inexhaustible, we have highlighted some of them below:
#1. Access to quality education
A Commonwealth Scholarship offers you the opportunity to study at some of the top universities in the world. Studying at world-class universities gives you access to world-class academic resources and facilities, as well as internationally renowned faculty members.
#2. Full funding
One of the primary benefits of a fully funded Commonwealth Scholarship is that it covers all tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs. Hence, you can focus on your studies without financial constraints.
#3. Cultural exchange
Also, studying in a new country can be an incredibly enriching experience. Commonwealth Scholarships enable you to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn from local experts, and expand your international network.
#4. Career opportunities
Furthermore, a Commonwealth Scholarship can open up new career opportunities for you. As a Commonwealth Scholar, you get to study at some of the best universities in the United Kingdom. Hence, the scholarship makes you highly employable.
#5. Contributing to development
Lastly, Commonwealth Scholarships are awards given to students committed to making a positive impact in their home countries. Hence, by studying abroad and gaining new skills and knowledge, you become better equipped to contribute to development in your community and country.
How Much Is Commonwealth Scholarship Worth?
As we earlier stated, the Commonwealth Scholarship for international students is a fully funded scholarship that covers everything from tuition to living expenses. But you might be curious about the exact amount you stand to receive from this scholarship.
That’s understandable. However, there is no rigid amount to how much you receive in scholarship. This is due to varying tuition from UK universities, different living costs across various UK cities, varying airfares, etc.
Nevertheless, the benefit you receive from the scholarship is enough to cover most of your educational expenses for one year. These benefits include:
- Airfares to and from the UK (at the beginning and end of your program)
- Monthly stipend of £1,236, while students at universities in the London metropolitan area may receive up to £1,516
Eligibility Requirements For Commonwealth Scholarship
Every scholarship program has criteria you must meet to be eligible. The eligibility requirements for the fully funded Commonwealth Scholarship for international students include the following:
For the master’s program, you must:
- Be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country. You are also eligible for the scholarship as a refugee or British-protected individual.
- Have had an undergraduate degree of 2:1 or its UK equivalent at a recognized university
- Not have applied for the master’s program at any other university
- Have previously traveled abroad for studies, training, or other personal reasons
- Be below 40 years old
- Not be able to afford to study in the UK without a scholarship
For a Ph.D. program, you must;
- Be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country. You may also be a British-protected person or refugee
- Be below 40 years
- Have a master’s degree or be in your final year of a master’s program
- Have a minimum score of 60% in Social Sciences and 65% in Science courses
- Be able to afford to study in the UK without a scholarship
- Not have applied for a Ph.D. program or MPhil at any other university
Required Documents for Commonwealth Scholarship
The documents you would need to apply for any Commonwealth Scholarship include a scanned copy of the following:
- Academic transcripts
- Existing university degree certificates
- Two reference letters
- Admission letter (if you have already gained admission into a UK university).
What Is The Acceptance Rate of Commonwealth Scholarship?
It is also important to note that the Commonwealth Scholarship is highly competitive. As a result, not everybody that applies eventually receives the scholarship.
Out of the thousands of applications the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission receives each year, only about 800 students eventually receive the scholarship.
What Is The Selection Process For Commonwealth Scholarship?
As with most fully funded scholarships, the Commonwealth Scholarships are likewise competitive. Consequently, the selection process is rigorous.
Your application goes through several checks before the CSC finally arrives at a decision. These checks include eligibility checks, and checks on the authenticity of your documents, to mention a few.
The preliminary selection process takes place in your home country. The Commonwealth Office carefully analyses all the documents you submit.
One thing the CSC considers is your involvement in leadership training. Also, participation in community development services gives you an added advantage.
The CSC also allows you to state how you intend to apply the knowledge gained from your studies to drive development in your home country. So, we recommend you think through your essay questions and give the best possible answers to increase your chances.
Then, they make a shortlist of the selected candidate. If they consider you eligible, you will get an invitation for a personal interview.
In the interview, the CSC further wants to know if you are the best candidate for the scholarship. You would need to talk about yourself, your career goals, and your academic and extracurricular achievements.
Furthermore, you would need to state how you intend to use the scholarship money. Be sure to draft this plan properly. In all, the interview is an avenue for you to convince the scholarship committee why you are the best candidate for the scholarship.
Finally, the CSC scores your interview and sends you the outcome of your application and interview.
How To Apply For Commonwealth Scholarship
Time Needed : 1 hours
The application process for the Commonwealth Scholarship can vary depending on your country. However, we have broken down the general application process into simple steps below:
Review The Commonwealth Scholarship
Visit the Commonwealth Scholarship website and select your country to learn about eligibility, available programs, application requirements, and deadlines.
Determine The Eligibility Criteria
Then, check the eligibility criteria for your intended scholarship program.
Select A Course And Institution
Afterward, choose a course of study and an institution that participates in the scholarship program. You can find a list of eligible institutions and courses on the Commonwealth Scholarship website.
Gather Your Documents
Fourthly, gather all required documents. The documents include your CV, references, academic transcripts, and any other requested documents.
Submit Your Application
After scanning the necessary documents, submit your application via the proper channels. Most Commonwealth Scholarships require you to apply through their national nominating agency, the university, or an NGO
Wait for Results
Once you have submitted your application, all you need do is wait for a notification on the outcome of your application.
It is also important to note that there are different types of fully funded Commonwealth scholarships for International Students. Consequently, there are varying application deadlines. So, check the application deadline for your intended scholarship.
Mistakes People Make While Applying For Commonwealth Scholarship
You might be wondering why most of your scholarship applications get declined, or perhaps this is your first application. In any case, we have listed some common mistakes you should avoid while applying for scholarships:
Your eligibility is the first thing to check when applying for scholarships. So long as you are not eligible for a scholarship, your application is void.
#2. Missing Application Deadlines
Secondly, look out for before applying for any scholarship is its application deadline. There are different types of Commonwealth Scholarships at different universities. Consequently, there are varying application deadlines. So, make sure you check the application deadline before applying for any Commonwealth Scholarship.
#3. Failing to Answer the Essay Questions
Also, essay questions are essential in scholarships. The scholarship committee asks these specific questions and wants you to answer them intentionally. So, when answering essay questions, think through the answers. Also, try to hit the nail on its head when answering the questions.
#4. Errors in Your Application
Another important point in applying for a fully funded Commonwealth Scholarship is perfection. The fully funded Commonwealth Scholarship for international students is highly sought-after. As a result, it is very competitive, and the slightest mistake can void your application. So, to stand a chance, make sure you clear your application of typographical errors, grammatical errors, poor punctuation, and other errors.
#5. Failing to Follow Instruction
It is possible to apply for so many scholarships that you now assume they have the same instructions. It is important to point out that different scholarships come with their peculiar instructions. Hence, carefully read the instructions for your desired Commonwealth Scholarship, and follow the instructions to the letter.
FAQs on Fully Funded Common Wealth Scholarship For International Students
Can I remain in the UK after my Commonwealth Scholarship?
The CSC requires that you return to your country after your scholarship. However, if you seek a Ph.D. after your master’s scholarship, the CSC can allow you to stay under strict conditions.
How many references do I need for my Commonwealth Scholarship?
You need to submit two references together with your application.
Can I apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship without acceptance into my course?
Yes, you can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship even when you have not gained acceptance into your desired course. However, you have to submit proof of application to that course when applying.
Can I renew my Commonwealth Scholarship for another year?
The Commonwealth Scholarship is not renewable. It only covers a one-year postgraduate program in the UK.
Is IELTS compulsory for Commonwealth Scholarship?
No, IELTS is not a Commonwealth Scholarship requirement. However, the UK university you intend to study will most likely need you to show proof of English Language proficiency through other tests.
What Do I Do if I Don't Get the Common Wealth Scholarship?
- Research alternative scholarships: Look for other scholarships in your field or for students from your country or region. Explore online databases and consult with advisors for assistance.
- Apply for other financial aid: Explore grants, fellowships, and need-based financial aid programs offered by colleges and universities.
- Look for local scholarships: Check for scholarships from local businesses, organizations, and foundations. These scholarships may be less competitive.
- Seek tuition reimbursement: Inquire if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs for employees pursuing education.
- Consider part-time work or online courses: Work part-time while studying or take online courses to manage expenses.
- Create a budget and explore cost-saving options: Develop a budget, buy used textbooks, find affordable housing, and utilize student discounts.
- Stay persistent: Apply to multiple scholarships and remain optimistic as you search for funding options.
Are Commonwealth Scholarships available for all Commonwealth countries?
es, typically Commonwealth Scholarships are available for students from all member countries of the Commonwealth. However, the number of scholarships allocated to each country might vary.
Do I need work experience to apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship?
For certain types of Commonwealth Scholarships, such as the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, you may need work experience in your field of study. This, however, varies from scholarship to scholarship.
Can I apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship if I have previously studied in the UK?
This depends on the specific scholarship. Some scholarships may not be available to those who have previously studied in the UK, or there may be restrictions on how recently that study took place.
Do I need to return to my home country after my scholarship ends?
Generally, Commonwealth Scholarships require scholars to return to their home country after their studies to contribute to its development, but specific terms can vary between scholarships.
A fully funded Commonwealth Scholarship for international students paves the way for financially incapacitated individuals to gain access to study in the UK. If you find yourself financially struggling, then waste no time.
Go through the eligibility requirements, and once you’re confirmed eligible, put up a great application. You might be just one step away from achieving your dreams.