By Shingirayi Kondongwe CONTRIBUTOR (Opinions expressed by YOH contributors are their own.)

You are done with high school and now you want a scholarship, but you do not know how to do it. I am also talking to you, who have just graduated with your first bachelor’s degree and now you want a scholarship to further your education. You don’t even need to pay anyone or any agency to get that scholarship! Do you hear me? Yes, you don’t pay a cent to get a scholarship.

The first step is to make ready documents that are required when applying for a scholarship and scan them. If you have a laptop, create a nice folder to store your scanned documents and this will make it easier when applying for a scholarship. The following are the top 5 most important documents that you must prepare, scan and store:

At least two recommendation letters– Letters of recommendation may be prepared by your former Professor, Lecturer or Employer on your behalf. Most schools and departments accept officially stamped letters on a letterhead.

Transcripts and Certificates– You must also have your results transcript and certificates scanned and ready. Make sure that all grades are visible when scanned.

IELTS or TOEFL– Most institutions especially in the western world request for IELTS or TOEFL as part of their admission requirements. These are used to measure your English proficiency. Nevertheless, not all scholarships require IELTS or TOEFL, some only request for a simple letter from your previous university or school confirming that the language of instruction was English. Depending on the type of scholarship, some certain countries are exempted from providing English requirements.

Motivational letter (sometimes “statement of purpose”)– The motivational letter is written to explain why you think you are the perfect candidate. It is an introductory document attached to your resume or CV. Avoid ambiguous words, grammatical errors and silly spelling mistakes. Make it simple, interesting and short.

CV or Resume– A resume is a simplified summary containing your skills and experience, whereas a CV is an in-depth and more detailed summary of your skills and experiences. Depending on the scholarship application requirements, either of the documents may be needed. Just make sure you have both ready.  

In addition, other requirements such as, essays, proof of income just to name a few may be required in some applications depending on the school or department that you wish to make an application. However, the top 5 documents are mandatory in most cases. When you have them prepared, then nothing can stop you from pursuing any scholarship of your choice. You can do it yourself and there is absolutely no reason to pay anyone. Good luck.

SHINGIRAYI KONDONGWE is an African Union Scholar, United Nations Graduate Programme Fellow, and A Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneur. He writes in his capacity and does not represent the views of any organization. He can be contacted at the following email:

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  1. Hi my name is Chief from South Africa. I wish to apply for PhD. Kindly assist with all the procedure.


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