Top tips on applying for a scholarship

Scholarships can be a very important part of applying to university; for many students, winning a scholarship is a huge factor in where to study. This is especially true for international students, as studying overseas can be expensive.

At the University of Bristol, we understand that scholarships are invaluable and are proud to offer Think Big, our flagship scholarship scheme for talented, ambitious international students.

Scholarships are often very competitive, with many students applying for a limited number of places. This is true of the Think Big scheme, which attracts thousands of applications every year. This list of Dos and Don’ts will give you the best chance of success in your scholarship applications.

Student writing

Tip 1: DO make sure you’re answering the question

It sounds obvious, but try not to drift off-topic when you’re writing – it‘s easy to do, especially when you have lots of achievements and activities you want to talk about. For example, if a question asks specifically about recent achievements, avoid talking about your swimming certificates from a young age. Most scholarship applications have a word limit, so don’t lose valuable words talking about things that aren’t relevant.

Tip 2: DON’T focus too much on grades

The University of Bristol is a prestigious institution, and students must achieve very good grades to study here. If you have an offer to study at Bristol, we already know you have an excellent academic record. Focus on your other achievements. Have you done any volunteering or an internship that sparked your interest in your course? Tell us about it!

Tip 3: DO give yourself plenty of time to apply

While you don’t need to submit your application weeks before the deadline, starting early will give you more time to consider your answers and revisit them a few times to make them as strong as possible. You can also ask a friend or family member to proofread your answers for typographical errors or spelling mistakes. You also may write better when you’re not stressed about the deadline!

Tip 4: DON’T forget to read the website carefully

There is lots of information about University of Bristol scholarships online, just as there is for many other institutions. You don’t want to waste your time applying for a scholarship that won’t be enough to fund your studies, or that doesn’t apply to your course. Before applying, make sure you’ve read all the information.

Here is some advice from current University of Bristol scholarship winners:

‘Planning for your scholarship application in advance is very important. One must ensure that they are well versed with the university, the course they will be pursuing and how their interests fit well into this. Your answers must be unique and your lived experiences and personal development must also be portrayed.’

Photo of Zoe
Zoe, MSc International Development

‘Firstly, don’t be scared of applying. The scholarships are competitive, but you never know, you can be one of the recipients. Secondly, instead of using unnecessary words, write what describes you best. Be precise and to the point. And lastly, know that only what you write in these short essays is what you will be judged on, so give it your best shot.’

Phot of Zubair
Zubair, BSc Accounting and Finance

If you are an international applicant and you have any questions about applying for scholarships at the University of Bristol, you can contact the International Scholarships and Sponsors team at We also recommend that you visit our international scholarship web pages to see what funding opportunities may be available to you.

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