Going to school is a dream that most Kenyan students have.
It is often very devastating when they realize that their dreams to further their dreams have been cut off due to insufficient funds and inability to pay their school fees.
However, this does not have to be your truth with education sponsors in Kenya looking for needy and worthy students to support.
Knowing how to scout for a good scholarship could be the key to reaching your academic goals with ease.
The secret is to be aggressive and browse the internet for a scholarship that matches your standards.
In Kenya, the two main bodies which offer scholarships to students are the Government of Kenya and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Remember, these scholarship opportunities have different application requirements.
In this article, we will share with you some tips on how to apply and land that dream scholarship.
Common things to look out for when applying for a scholarship in Kenya
1. Most scholarships have a deadline for application
You should have your application ready and submit it on time, on or before the deadline.
2. Almost all scholarships have a set of qualifications for applying
Check them and see whether you meet the qualifications. A common qualification is usually academic merit. The qualifications vary for different scholarships.
3. Some scholarships require that you fill the forms.
Ensure you enter all the details required so as to give you a chance of qualifying for the scholarship.
4. Stories are a good way of attracting scholarships.
Make sure you articulate your story well in your statement, so as to give the scholarship giver a reason to consider you.
5. Have every document required for the application process
Some scholarships require you to have your result slip, leaving certificate, parents’ ID, and so on. Make sure you have all the requirements before completing your application.
6. Finally, be wary of scholarships that require you to pay some money
Some of these are scams seeking to extort money from unsuspecting people. Do a thorough background check before any application.
How to apply for a scholarship in Kenya
The best way to identify government sponsorship programmes and get them is by:
1. Being on the lookout.
You need to continually check for new opportunities announced by the government throughout the year.
The government of Kenya has several programs put in place to provide scholarships for Kenyan students at all the stages of learning all the way from primary school to university.
You have to read newspapers, watch television news, and keenly follow government educational conferences.
You might want to give some bias to the ministry of Education of Kenya and pay more attention to their events and activities.
2. Making your application concise
When sending an email application for a scholarship, keep your email as brief as possible.
No one wants to read lots of information; they will only spend a few seconds on your email.
Tailor it as per the instructions and just communicate about the information that they need in deciding to grant you sponsorship.
If you need full support, make sure that comes out clearly.
3. Being confident
Do not let yourself be walked over by interviewers; shyness is not an option.
From the moment you make an application, you should remain convinced that you are good enough to get it.
If you get a chance to defend your claim, then this should boost your confidence further, explain your goals and vision ensuring that they are in line with those of the sponsors and you will win their hearts.
4. Getting good referees
Almost all sponsorship application forms from the Government will require you to provide references.
The process is in a bid to establish your character. Failure to get proper referees automatically results in disqualification.
For this reason, take your time to get excellent professional references from your teachers and employers to upper your chances of getting the desired sponsorship.
5. Targeting the right company
Do not waste your time sending emails and making phone calls to companies that have not communicated that they are interested in issuing sponsorship or sponsored other students in the past.
Instead, it makes more sense to contact companies that have participated in such programs before.
This way, you can be confident that they will be interested in your proposal.
6. Being creative
Thinking outside the box helps you to attract the companies’ attention.
By offering something different from other Kenyans who are also looking for sponsorship such as taking advantage of their goods and services as opposed to asking for funds directly, the firm might be triggered to choose your application over the rest.
Sponsorship from companies comes in different forms, therefore, don’t sound like you are outright looking for money from them.
7. Being convincing
When making an application for sponsorship from the learning institutions in Kenya, if you form a low-income family, be sure to mention it and use it to sell yourself.
No one wants to see a brilliant young person miss out on education only because they cannot afford the school fees.
8. Achieving academic excellence
One proof the most straightforward way of getting sponsorship from learning institutions is by performing well in your academics.
With this, there is a good chance that you will be awarded a scholarship by the institution even before you make the application or get referrals for the same.
9. Selling your talent
Apart from the academics, learning institutions pay keen attention to your participation in extra curriculum activities such as sports and acting.
If you actively participate in games, you can use this to sell yourself and get a competitive advantage over the other applicants.
For instance, Strathmore University issues scholarships to rugby students, so you play for the school team rugby and they pay for your tuition fee.
10. Making use of Ebursary
Ebursary, a Kenyan bursary management online platform, enables you to easily search through a large database of bursaries/scholarships and receive a report matching bursaries based on your particular criteria search.
As a registered User, Ebursary matching platform will help you find bursaries by delivering a smarter, targeted list of bursaries that are uniquely suited to you and enable you to apply for them online.
Different forms of scholarships in Kenya
1. Sponsorship from the Kenyan government
A standard way of getting higher education sponsors in Kenya and high school sponsors is by looking out for government opportunities and support.
To get funding from the Government, you will most likely have to send applications and attend some interviews.
Some of the scholarship programs from the Government of Kenya include;
a.) The Ministry of Education Bursary and Loans. They are accessible online from the ministry and education department of your constituency,
b.) Secondary school bursary. The secondary school bursary forms are available online; you only need to fill in all the required details and submit.
c.) Presidential Bursary .The Presidential Secondary School Bursary is meant for vulnerable children coming from low-income families and orphans in secondary school and is administered by the OVC Secretariat as a complimentary service to the CT-OVC Programme.
The main aim of the bursary scheme is to enhance secondary school enrolment and attendance of school by orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya.
The beneficiaries of this program must be aged below 18 years and enrolled in Secondary school.
d.) The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB)
This is a State Corporation that was established by an Act of Parliament (Cap 213A) in 1995).
HELB is the leading financier of higher education in Kenya. It has the mandate of disbursing loans, bursaries, and scholarships to students who are pursuing higher education in recognized institutions in the country.
e.) TIVET Bursary Scheme offered by the Higher Education Loans Board Kenya
The program provides bursaries to eligible students in Technical, Industrial, Vocational, and Entrepreneurship Training tertiary institutions.
The programmes give priority to orphans and students from low-income families.
The TIVET institutions include; Technical Training Institutes, Institutes of Technology, and Public National Polytechnics.
2. Employee scholarships
Some employers give study scholarships to their highly esteemed workers in Kenya.
For example, they can fund your master’s degree on condition that upon completion, you will return to the organization and impart the knowledge that you have acquired.
Many Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), private companies, and government agencies offer such scholarships.
One of the ways of earning such scholarships is by standing out as the best performing employees; this will increase your chances of getting the scholarship award when you show interest.
3. Private education sponsors in Kenya
You will need to identify a few private sponsors for education in Kenya to increase your chances of getting sponsorship.
Some of the Sponsors of education in Kenya are private organizations and individuals.
An example is the Kenya Youth Education Scholarship fund that was established in 2005 as a society to address the issues affecting the education of the youth in Kenya.
The primary source of funds for the organization is corporations, foundations, and individuals that share a similar viewpoint on how to address national education challenges. Investing in young Kenyans who demonstrate academic excellence. The organization is keen on creating a fund to guarantee its viability and sustainability.
Equity Bank is one such organisation.
Private establishments such as Equity Bank has a fund set aside to sponsor extremely good performing students further their studies even abroad.
The company has local scholarships in Kenya for students who have gained admission to local University.
The Equity scholarship program has seen more than 1000 people go through the program over the years.
The company takes care of the first male and female first students in every district. Equity has been a trendsetter in this sector as it has connected more than 69 students to international universities.
4. Sponsorship from NGOs
One way of getting Education sponsors in Kenya is from companies in the country both local and international.
NGOs and other international organizations have invested in the education of Kenyans.
This explains why there are numerous scholarship offers from well-established organizations in the world.
Getting free sponsorship from companies might sound like an uphill task, but with the right strategy and approach, it is one of the natural ways to find aid in the country.
The secret to international scholarship is to first gain admissions to a University that is recommended by the sponsor.
While applying for scholarships, many people only consider universities in the UK and the US, oblivious of the fact that some of the world’s best universities are located in Asia and even Africa.
In addition, while approaching an organisation for college funding, there is a higher chance for success with smaller foundations than with major scholarship agencies.
5. Kenyatta University OVS scholarship opportunities
This learning institution puts a lot of emphasis on the social development of the students and for this reason; it established the Orphans and Vulnerable Students Scholarship fund to take care of the less privileged students who would like to pursue higher education.
6. The AgaKhan Foundation scholarship for developing countries (Masters and P.H.D)
The AgaKhan foundation offers a limited number of postgraduate scholarships for students with outstanding academic performance who do not have any means to finance their studies. 50% of this scholarship is a grant.
7.The University of Nairobi Rockefeller Foundation scholarship
The University of Nairobi offers undergraduate and graduate scholarships in the fields of social and Economic studies, Basic survival safeguards, security, and climate and environment.
8.The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship for Kenyans
This program provides scholarship opportunities to young individuals who demonstrate academic talent.
It seeks to reward zealous entrepreneurs
Until 2016, the program had provided at least seven hundred million dollars for the education and leadership and development of more than thirty thousand young Africans.
How to apply for undergraduate scholarship in Kenya
Imagine studying in an Ivy League university or college and not having to worry about school fees.
You also do not have to break your back working three jobs to raise pocket money because you receive a decent monthly stipend to cater for your needs.
Even better, you do not have to worry about your accommodation or put up in substandard hostels off-campus because that is already taken care of, as is the case with food.
When you want to go home for Christmas, you do not have to worry where a plane ticket will come from because you are granted a yearly return ticket.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, that is the life of hundreds of young Kenyans studying abroad on full scholarships in various universities.
Student searching for undergraduate scholarships can log in to www.topuniversities.com and view the QS ranking, which is the list that compares top universities in the world.
Click on the individual university’s website and apply through their scholarships portal.
Getting good grades in KCSE provides solid ground, but I advise students who want to study abroad to sit for SAT exams immediately after Form Four. The tests are an added bonus and are usually inexpensive.
SAT tests are American standardised entrance examinations used by many universities across the globe. In Kenya, SAT tests are provided by accredited examination centres based in Nairobi.
The public universities in Kenya offer scholarships to study masters at the institutions for the students who get first class honors in their undergraduate studies.
All the best in your quest for scholarships.
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