Every year in Nigeria, various oil and gas companies, multi-national corporations and NGOs award hundreds of scholarships to Nigerian students in different tertiary institutions in the country.
They don’t do this because of the fun of dolling out cash to students but because it forms part of their corporate social responsibility which is an obligation under relevant Nigerian Laws.
Monetary value of these awards ranges from N50,000; N100,000; N150;000 to as high as N300,000.
The fun part of the process for beneficiaries is that these payments are made consistently every session as long you obey the terms and conditions of the awards.
I have shared a list of Top 20 Nigerian scholarships here for those who don’t have a clue as to the names, eligibility and worth of the various scholarships in Nigeria.
However, the questions on the lips of every student ignorant of these opportunities are: How to apply, when to apply, where to apply and most importantly, how to win.
Today, I wish to share with you, tips or more appropriately, secrets that helped me win five (5) different scholarships as an undergraduate in one of the Universities in Nigeria. Enjoy it!
#1. THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE:
You would agree with me that there are several legal ways of achieving a particular intended result in any Endeavour. There is the long way and of course the smart way, and scholarship pursuit isn’t immuned to the applicability of this rule.
My 80/20 scholarship pursuit principle simply posits that you should focus on the 20% of scholarships that relatively unknown to many students and are therefore very easy to win.
When you use this principle wisely, it helps you achieve the desired results as soon as possible.
For Instance, those who are in the know about Nigerian scholarships would readily agree with me that it is way easier to win Hillcity scholarship than the NNPC/Chevron scholarship.
So, why not focus more on those ones that are easier to clinch either because of lack of awareness or because the offer is limited to people in your field (eg. Agbami scholarship is for Medical and Engineering students only).
2. MAKE A LIST:
Trust me pal, you can never be qualified for all the undergraduate scholarships in Nigeria and it would be foolhardy to think otherwise.
Eligibility requirements vary and you may just be disqualified because of your level, cgpa, course of study, gender or even place of origin.
Therefore, the wisest thing to do is to make a list of scholarships you are eligible for, carve out some using the 80/20 principle as discussed above and commence your applications as they come up.
This will help you prepare in advance for each application as you already know what to expect as to requirements and of course where your application should go to.
3. EARLY APPLICATION IS BAE!
Something very funny but instructive happened to my friends and I in 2013 when I applied and won the NNPC/CHEVRON National Merit scholarship which was one of my five (5) scholarship awards in school.
We heard about the application few days after it started and we all resolved to apply.
However, whereas I and one other friend applied the following day, the rest didn’t apply till the last day of the application when they hurriedly did so.
When the company sent out invites for Exams, Two of us that applied on time got it while the other friends were not shortlisted for the exam.
What’s instructive here? Those friends who weren’t shortlisted for the exam and consequently didn’t get the scholarship had better qualifications for the award than us. They had better Jamb and O’level scores and even better CGPA.
There are thousands of students in various universities in Nigeria jostling and hustling for the available scholarships and the last thing you want is to come to the party late my dear.
The scholarship providers have a certain number they are working with and once they hit that number, then the party is over! It doesn’t matter that you have sterling records at that point, your application will be sent straight to trash.
So, if you want a seat at the table, always apply on time please.
4. PLAY BY THE RULES:
Now, every scholarship has its own eligibility criteria and it’s your job to read and obey them.
If documents must be in a particular format and size, obey it. Such trivial issues can earn you disqualification faster than ussain bolt can run.
Similarly, in making your application, be sure to obey every rule as listed out by the scholarship provider as those rules constitute disqualification parameters used by the providers to sift the grains from the chaff. Don’t be the chaff, obey the rules.
All documents submitted during applications are almost always subject to further verification in your school’s registrar’s office and you won’t be there to explain any variance or disparity.
So, there virtually no need to try cutting corners. This saves you time, stress and rewards you in ways you can’t imagine.
5. UNDERSTAND THE STAGES AND FOLLOW UP:
Believe me when I say that to begin scholarship pursuit without knowing the stages and what should be done in each of them is akin to taking a voyage in an uncharted route; You will hardly reach your destination in record time.
There is a need to learn the stages generally involved in getting Nigerian scholarships and follow each of them religiously and satisfying their demands.
The world is built on rules and processes; even God is a God of laws.
Scholarship awards have processes that prospective awardees must take to be qualified for such awards.
As a general rule, there are no general rules! Did that shock you?
Yes, every scholarship has its own distinct processes, requirements and stages.
However, almost all the scholarship have or follow the stages we shall discuss below.
(a) Call for Application:
Applications are usually invited from qualified students for grants and scholarship awards by the awarding company(s).
This may be done through their website, newspaper, e-mails and other general publications.
Normally, when call for application is made, many students from different parts of the country would apply and the company would screen the tons of applications and invite qualified students for exams or interview as the case may be.
The important things to do here is basically to prepare your documents and make your application in record time. When you pass this stage, you are a step closer to winning.
(b) Exam/Interview Stage:
The awarding company, through an already set standard, will determine eligible students from the applications received. The students will be shortlisted for a qualifying exam, interview or both in rare cases.
The company has the sole right to decide whether to use the exam method or interview method.
I usually advise my protégés to take the exam as a serious business in which they must be punctual to and observe all the rules of good conduct expected of them before, during and after the exams.
(c) Verification Stage:
Companies awarding scholarships do so with utmost carefulness and scrutiny to avoid giving awards or grants to these who do not need or merit it.
The companies, through their employees, visit the schools of prospective awards to confirm their status as students, CGPA and level.
In the application stage, the companies will state the eligibility criteria and that would always form the basis of their verification exercise.
Though most of the companies are rich and multi-national oil and gas companies, they do not go about throwing their resources around. They verify the status of every student who has passed their exam before awarding the student.
They may do this through the office of your Head of Department of office of the Dean.
(d) Awarding Stage:
This stage brings happiness to students as it crowns their efforts with success. Obviously, the companies, after the exam and students verification stages, would award the scholarships to deserving and successful students.
In making awards, the company may communicate the award notice to the successful students through email, text messages or through a letter sent to the schools of the students. However, general notification and news of the award will be online.
Now, award has been clinched but the award letter does not contain cash! Therefore, you are advised to study the award letter carefully to understand the terms and conditions of the award.
The award letter will also inform you the modality of payment.
One of your biggest obstacles in your way to scholarship success is your already won scholarship(s). Never allow the feeling that you have arrived to engulf or envelop you from vigorously pursuing other numerous scholarship offers.
There is always an award to be won and there is always more money to be made through it. So, why not want some more?
6. MARRY PAST QUESTIONS:
From my experience in writing over 10 scholarship exams, I have come to understand that the examiners repeat some of their questions every year and that gives you an edge if you are a smart student.
For instance, when I wrote SEPLAT SCHOLARSHIP online exam in 2015, I discovered that many of their questions were drawn from previous past questions I had earlier studied.
That alone helped me to easily pass the exams and consequently win the scholarship! So, go for past questions and study them before your exams.
7. GET A MENTOR:
One of the most important factors that helped me win 5 scholarships in school was because I had a scholarship mentor.
When you have a mentor, you will stand on his or her shoulders to fly above your contemporaries. This is true because your mentor has made all the mistakes you will likely encounter and will help you avoid them!
However, your mentor must be someone who has good record in winning scholarships and must have the positive mindset to guide and motivate you for free.
8. MAINTAIN GOOD CGPA:
The importance of this is in two laps. One, poor cgpa would disqualify you from applying for many scholarship offers and the second is that poor cgpa can make you lose the scholarships you have won already.
You see, all the scholarships are subject to continuous good performance in school and the company won’t hesitate to withdraw your scholarship any year you fall below the acceptable CGPA. It may be 2.5, 3.0 or the general 3.5 on a scale of 5.0 which most scholarships use.
9. The God Factor:
Aside the easy scholarships, others are tough to win. So, when you do your best, pray to God or whatever you believe in.