How To ... apply for a bursary

2014-09-21 15:00

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Pointers on how to go about ­applying for financial assistance to further your studies

As the school year nears its end, many pupils in grades 11 and 12 are thinking of moving on to university, technikon or further education and training colleges to continue their studies.

If you’re lucky, your parents will be able to fund your tertiary education.

But if you need a bursary or loan to further your studies, read on.

Here are a few essential pointers on how to go about applying for a bursary.

Good school marks

School marks are an important part of getting a bursary, so work hard in grades 11 and 12.

Try to keep your average in all subjects above 65%.

Apply early the year before

Apply for your bursary early in Grade 12, if you want to study the following year.

Applications close any time between April and August, so make sure you apply in plenty of time.

Search for information

Search for companies offering bursaries by using the internet or newspapers. Gather all the details of companies offering bursaries in your area of study.

Get an application form

For some companies, you need to write a letter to get a bursary application form (see the example at the end of this guide). For other companies, you can download the information off their websites, or send a request in an email.

Once you have the form

Note the following:

.?Criteria for the bursary (check again to see if you meet their requirements)

.?Opening and closing dates for applications

.?Information and documents required

Collect your information

Prepare all the information that may be needed on yourself, your family, financial circumstances and studies.

Common documents required

Photocopy of ID, academic records for grade 11 and/or 12 and a passport photograph.

Complete and send application

Complete all the areas of the application form carefully. You might want to prepare your answers on a separate piece of paper before copying them on to the form.

Provide exactly the required documentation (nothing less, nothing more).

If there is no space for a motivation, you can provide a motivational letter.

Post or email your application to the correct address (or complete it online) well ahead of time, and remember to also provide your correct contact details as requested.

Keep a copy of your application form as you might be asked about it during your interview. If you complete your form online, print out a copy.

Apply for a number of bursaries

Competition for bursaries is tough and thousands of people apply. So apply for a number of bursaries to increase your chances.

Apply to university

Applying for a bursary is a separate process to applying for a spot at university.

Apply to a few universities before their closing deadlines as competition for places is tough.

The degree that you are applying for a bursary to study should be the same as the degree you have applied for at university.

Short-listing and acceptance

While it is reasonable to check if your application has been received, it is best to wait patiently for news on the bursary.

Applications will be short-listed to a few candidates, and you might be invited for an interview or an aptitude test.

If you are successful, conditional acceptance will be granted. After you’ve matriculated, send through a certified copy of your final Grade 12 marks to prove you have achieved the final results.

You will then get a bursary confirmation letter to register at the approved institution. Before signing the bursary contract, please take time to read and understand the terms and conditions as most of them are binding.

No bursary? Look at options

Many companies simply do not respond and you don’t receive a bursary.

If you do not get a bursary, consider applying for a National Student Financial Aid Scheme loan, or explore the other funding options available to you. Remember that you may be able to apply for certain bursaries once you have passed a year of university.

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