How to Apply For Biotech Scholarship – Indian or International & Increase your chances of selection
Undoubtedly the best way to pay for one’s education is through scholarships and grants. Unlike loans, they don’t need to be paid back. Also, there is nothing more satisfying to be able to support one’s own education. Biotechnology students can apply for scholarships as early as in their graduation and as late as during their Ph.D., and of course, anywhere in between these two, i.e during their post-graduation, as is more common. But many of them struggle on the part – How to Apply For Biotech Scholarship ? & How to increase chances of getting selected? We are going to answer these questions below.
Government of India and many other organizations, universities, and colleges offer scholarships encouraging students to pursue science as a stream of study and research. In order to achieve such scholarships, applicants need to meet the eligibility criteria and thereafter fill an application form. Some fellowships require clearing an entrance exam like that of CSIR, DBT, and some individual institutes/universities. Aspirants need to submit relevant documents backing their claims, as part of the application process. The application forms submitted are reviewed and students are offered scholarships for a specified period of time if the eligibility criteria are met.
There are a number of popular scholarships for which aspirants can apply during or after their BSc/MSc course: CSIR, GATE, INSPIRE (Ministry of Science & Technology offers this program to candidates who want to pursue bachelor’s as well as master’s (level) education in natural or basic sciences), DBT, Women Scientist Scheme etc.
Getting an international Biotech Scholarship: It is quite a known fact that studying abroad requires a lot of investment in terms of finance irrespective of the program, course, university, or country. Hence it is the best shot to apply for scholarships in order to arrange for one’s own funds. But being limited in number, obviously, the competition is quite high. In fact, very few students are actually able to receive these scholarships to cover for all their study-related expenses. Only 1 out of 10 undergraduate aspirants is able to bag a scholarship for a bachelor’s degree, according to a recent report posted by the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. Only 19% of students are able to qualify for receiving scholarships given by the colleges, even with a GPA of 3.5-4.0. Apart from having a good profile, test scores are extremely essential to apply for a scholarship and also to increase the chances of getting one. Still, only 13% of such students are able to bag a scholarship.
There are some other factors also that affect the availability of scholarships. A deep analysis of these factors can help in determining the best time and way to apply for a scholarship.
After an in-depth analysis of more than 5000 scholarships achieved by students, the following factors have come into the light:
- Most number, about 25% or more, of scholarships’ deadline is set in March. In terms of scholarships, this intake has the largest pool of amount dedicated to it. However, September intake is the one where most of the scholarships are awarded.
There are four times more scholarships available for women than the number which are available for men.
- Although the reserved scholarships based on the ethnicity of a student are only 6%, still the minority ethnic groups are able to enjoy an equal number of scholarships distributions.
But while awarding scholarships, nationality, and subject area have a more significant role in being a deciding factor, rather than gender and ethnicity.
- Out of the total scholarships, 40% have location restrictions (based on nationality and citizenship), 37% have study area restrictions, 5% have gender restrictions and 6% have ethnicity restrictions.
Hence one thing is clear from the above data, that the aspirants should start searching for scholarships opportunities as early as possible and should aim for the March deadlines.
Even if is extremely difficult to get such national or international scholarships, one should hope for the best and follow some tips to increase their chances of getting the desirable one:
The foremost answer to How to Apply For Biotech Scholarship – is proper planning. Many students miss out scholarship opportunities as they fail to apply for the same within the deadline. These students are busy preparing for their GRE /IELTS/TOEFL exam, writing powerful essays or even short-listing universities. They fail to plan well ahead of time and thus miss out on scholarships grants, which are usually very strict with deadlines.
What is one of the biggest mistakes is to assume that university admission deadlines and scholarship deadlines are the same? Most of the students only think of the scholarship application only during university admissions. However, depending on the institutions, the deadlines may vary. It is very important to keep oneself updated and plan accordingly well in advance. Keep visiting the institute’s website and social media accounts so you don’t miss out any announcements such as change of requirements, tips about the scholarship, or a deadline extension. Try and submit the documents early so that you get extra time to prepare for other important aspects of the application process like interviews.
There are many international Biotech scholarships available, each with its own eligibility criteria and requirements, failing to meet them; it is not possible to apply. Hence, research well about the criteria and read them out carefully to find out if you are eligible. Although it is always advisable to apply to a maximum of them, do not go for applying blindly to all available scholarships, this might end up in a direct reject. Hence apply to only those that fit your profile, to enhance your chances of getting a scholarship.
Most of the international universities scholarship decisions strongly rest on the undergraduate marks. With an excellent GPA/percentage, the chance of earning a scholarship is still pretty decent, even if the GRE or TOEFL scores aren’t satisfactory. However, the 10th or 12th marks hardly matter for the scholarship decisions, when it comes to judging your academic abilities. Hence, it is always best to score high in your graduation studies and have a strong academic background.
One can lookout for a few scholarships program or student exchange programs by the Government of any country. For example, in India, the Government of India awards scholarships for study abroad covering almost all study-related expenses of a student including travel, accommodations, tuition fee, library fee, etc. Other programs like Education Exchange Programs (EEPs) are also available for students interested in spending six months to one year studying abroad. Such scholarships may not cover the expenses of a complete course, but still, the student is offered at least a semester or a year of study in a foreign institution.
Scholarships from private organizations
Apart from considering only the college/university scholarships, which are definitely no cakewalk to bag, students can alternatively search for options provided by private associations. To name a few are the Illinois Soybean Association (in which applications should have majored in crop sciences like Biotechnology, breeding or plant pathology), Iowa Biotechnology Association and the New Mexico Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (in which applicants are encouraged to major in a subject preparing for a biotechnology career). Another famous example is the Tata Scholarship awarded by the Tata Education and Development Trust of Tata Group
Filling out the application forms
It is always advisable to answer all the questions/ essays provided in the application form for scholarships eligibility. Most students tend to overlook the ‘optional’ section. But these are the trivial things that precisely boost an applicant’s chances of getting a scholarship. It helps to get an additional space to talk more about one’s interests and talents, where one can showcase their personal background, hobbies, and participation in activities. Hence, ensure that you not only attempt the ‘optional’ section but also answer it as sincerely as the rest of them.
Even though online research provides one with essential information and details on the scholarship availabilities, it is also suggested to search offline as well. One can search for some books by any famous author having an in-depth knowledge of scholarships. This will definitely help one to get a different perspective on the scholarship application and also help to get insights and tips about creating a strong profile that is scholarship-worthy.
Keep a checklist of Requirement
Even if you are the most qualified applicant, missing out on submitting even just one document, can get you rejected. While Applying For a Biotech scholarship – it is advisable to always make time to review all the requirements, follow the instructions, and answer every question asked. Stick to the suggested word limit when writing out an essay. Keep ample time for government documents to get processed. Ensure to allow at least a week’s time to people while asking them for recommendation letters. Keep checking your list of requirements and set dates for them to be accomplished.
Keep your online profile updated
Nowadays, scholarships not only depend on the documents and essays you submit but sometimes, the decision-makers may also lookup through your social media accounts to get to know you more. So ensure you keep them updated and clean to avoid indicating red flags to the sponsors. You can even try Google-ing yourself to see what kind of search results show up. It is also advisable to keep a straight and a professional email address, instead of some funky and casual ones.
Ask for scholarships
Do not hesitate to ask your target university about the availability of any scholarships, and if they provide, get the complete information about eligibility, the application process, and deadlines. This way you may come across more comprehensive information, which you may not find on the website.
After finalizing the right time and right scholarship, one can engage in a lot of things while waiting for a reply from the college or university. Instead of getting anxious and stressed about the results, one can always enhance their profile and work on their documents carefully in order to boost up the chances of receiving a positive reply.
Listed are some of the several govt. and non-govt. agencies which provide scholarships, fellowships and Interest-free loan to desirous and talented students aspiring for or doing undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D. degree courses for Indian students and researchers in the field of science and particularly in biotech or advanced life science branches:
- A.M.M. Arunachalam–Lakshmi Achi Overseas Loan Scholarship
- Aga Khan Foundation International Fellowship Program
- AICTE National Doctoral Fellowship (NDF)
- British Chevening Scholarships
- Cambridge-Nehru Scholarships
- Chinese government scholarship
- CSIR – Senior Research Fellowship
- CSIR- Junior Research Fellowship: Through the India National Eligibility Test (NET), twice a year- June and December.
- Czech Government Scholarship
- DBT (Department of Biotechnology)– Junior Research Fellowships
- DBT– Post Doctoral fellowship in Biotechnology and Life Sciences
- DBT’s Biotech Consortium India Ltd conducts BITP – Biotech Industrial Training Programme
- DBT- various collaborative fellowships: DBT announces various foreign collaborative fellowships for Indian students time to time
- Developing Solutions Joint Chevening Scholarships
- Developing Solutions Taught Masters Scholarship for India
- DFID Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)
- DST – Young Women Scientist Award: (For Women Only)
- Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (a center of TATA INSTITUTE OF FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH), Research Scholarships
- ICMR – Junior Research Fellowship Examination
- ICMR – Senior Research Fellowship
- ICMR – Short Term Research Studentship For Medical Students
- India Undergraduate High Achiever Scholarships
- Indian Academy of Science Summer Research Fellowships
- ICAR’s (Indian Council for Agriculture Research) Junior Research Fellowships (JRF)
- ICAR Senior Research Fellowship (SRF)
- Indira Gandhi PG Scholarship for Single Girl Child\
- Inlaks Foundation
- INSA-COSTA-CSIR Travel grants
- Japanese Government Scholarships: For Research studies in Biotechnology, Biological Oceanography, Fisheries, Environmental Science
- JN Tata Endowment Scholarship
- K.C. Mahindra Education Trust Scholarship
- KAUST DISCOVERY SCHOLARSHIPS
- Kishor Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana
- Lady Tata Memorial Trust Research Fellowship
- Ministry of Human Resource Development International Scholarships
- National Brain Research Centre, Scholarships and Fellowships
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP)
- National Overseas Scholarships/ Passage Grant for SC and Backward castes/tribes/ Minorities
- Post Graduate Scholarships for Professional Courses for SC/ST candidates
- Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme (RGNFS) for SC/ST Candidates
- Rhodes Scholarship
- Sahu Jain Trust Scholarships: Given in the field of Science and technology.
- Scholarship scheme for higher education for students of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes- approved by The Union Cabinet
- Scholarships for studies in the UK (M.S/Ph.D.)
- Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowship which is granted to top 20% candidates who qualify the NET, CSIR examination.
- TATA Innovation Fellowship sponsored by DBT
- Tata Memorial Centre & Tata Memorial Hospital- Junior Research Scholarships For Cancer Biology
- The Gates Cambridge Scholarships
- & Many More – the list if huge
Although getting a scholarship is no child’s play, it is best to be practical while applying for one, helping you to concentrate on the right one to target. Achieving a scholarship from an institution can be a strenuous and rigorous process, right from being eligible for a certain scholarship or even in choosing the right category. But with strong determination and thorough research along with some expert advice, one can aim for the scholarship of their choice.
Always remember that even if you don’t get the scholarship, it is not the end of the world. As in many inspiring success stories, those who win in the end are the ones who kept on trying. Even if you do not get your dream scholarship today, don’t forget that there are other programs available and there’s always the next time. Try to learn from your experience in the first try and do better.
Stay tuned into Biotecnika Newsletters for latest updates on scholarships from various sources.
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