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Tips for applying to the Chevening Scholarship


Are you thinking of applying for a Master's Scholarship in the UK? Are you anxious because you don’t know what to expect and what to prepare for? Don’t worry about it because we’ve got you covered. In this blog, Iris, Khanh, and Abiy – our Link to Leeds Ambassadors as well as Chevening Scholars 20/21 from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Ethiopia respectively – will share with you some tips in applying for Chevening Scholarship.

Section 1: Three Things You Need to Know Before Applying for Chevening

It is important that you are aware of three main things before you apply for Chevening Scholarship. The first and the most exciting thing is that Chevening is a fully-funded scholarship that will allow you to undertake any master’s course at any UK university. Your flights, accommodation, and course fees are all taken care of so that you can fully focus on realizing your academic goals and having the best UK experience.

The second thing you must pay attention to is the eligibility criteria, some of which include being a citizen of a Chevening-eligible territory or country and completing all components of your undergraduate degree by the time that you submit your Chevening application. You will also need to have at least two years (equivalent to 2,800 hours) work experience which includes voluntary work, paid or unpaid internships, and full-time or part-time employment.

Lastly, because there are various stages (application, references, and education documents submission, interview, and unconditional UK university offer submission) that you have to go through before getting selected, it is a good idea for you to know the application and selection process as well as their deadlines. It usually varies slightly from one year to another, but the timeline is always available here.  

Section 2: Applying for Chevening and the UK Universities

In general, when you start to apply for a Chevening scholarship, there will be 2 main activities that you need to do: (1) Applying for Chevening Scholarship and (2) Applying for your desired universities in the UK. Once you know that you are eligible for Chevening, go ahead and create your profile on the Chevening application online portal. From this portal, you can check what kind of essays/ how many you need to write, what kind of documents you need to prepare.
For the Chevening application, you are required to submit 4 essays with a maximum word limit of 500 words per essay on these 4 themes: (i) Leadership and influencing; (ii) Networking; (iii) Studying in the UK; and (iv) Career plan. Essay writing is the most important step within your application process so make sure you invest your time, effort, and energy effectively for this step. Start as early as you can, create your plan and make a timeline to have everything finished before the deadline. Here is a very useful link about feedbacks from the independent reading committee that can help you to improve your essay.

You will also have to submit 2 references as well, but the deadline is later compared to the application. You should choose the right people who know you in either an academic or professional capacity and give them enough time to write the recommendation letter for you.
When submitting the Chevening application, you will be asked to indicate your desired master courses and universities in the UK. You will need to select three different master's courses. These can be three different courses at the same institution or three similar courses at up to three different universities. Please refer to this link to research courses/ universities that are eligible for a Chevening scholarship. 

You do not have to obtain any offer from the universities yet during the application stage, but there is a university unconditional offer deadline that you will have to meet once you are selected for the scholarship. Therefore, we recommend applying to the universities as early as possible (i.e. during the application stage or right after you submit the application). Generally, you can apply directly via the university’s website. The University of Leeds is in fact a long-term partner with CHEVENING so look through our University website to search for your desired courses.

Section 3: You Made It! Time to Get Ready for Your One-Year Master in the UK
Preparing for your journey can be an exciting transition where you get to learn more about yourself. Get yourself a list of items, books, and sentimental items that are special to you. Remember, however, not to overpack and carry too much of your old bookshelves and wardrobe. Pack lightly and be selective, as you might also find it exciting to open yourself to a new reading list and adventure. After all, you are here for a new experience!For those working, formally informing your employer or colleagues about your study plans can facilitate a smooth transition at your workplace. Try to do this as soon as you receive your conditional award letter. By around the time you received your travel arrangement, get familiarized with your itinerary within the UK. Check how far your airport is located from your accommodation? Ask if your university has arranged an airport pick up for international students, for which you might have to notify your flight details. Ordering your kitchen packs (like dishes, pots, pans, cutleries, etc.) can help you serve yourself meals as soon as you arrive.

To learn more about the city and the university before you even arrive, you can get in touch with the student ambassadors. For example, before our arrival, we had a lot of questions about student life at the University of Leeds, we contacted the Link to Leeds Ambassadors and attended their live chat events. This can help you know what to expect and how to adapt quickly to a new environment.

You can find more information about Chevening Scholarships here.