ERASMUS-LIKE GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS?
In this episode, we answered a graduate scholarship question sent by Zaki from Algeria.
Basically, Zaki wants to know if there are graduate scholarships in Canada he can apply to without getting admission first.
“Hello, Sara I’m Zaki from Algeria,
First, thanx for all the precious posts you share with us; and sorry (really sorry for inconvenience), but i saw u super active i thought you may help to guide me . . .
I spent a great amount of my time (25 yo; master in electrical engineering) seeking for a scholarship (precisely, a fully funded one would be better), I found a lot, but I didn’t act on anyone of them, confused !!! The essence of my question and plea for help, is the procedure, the problem is prior admission, aren’t their any scholarship to apply to without prior admissions, like mobility scholarships similar to ERASMUS ones, where all you have to do is apply for the scholarship; that’s all . . .
I really wish i’m not very annoying, so sorry if it’s the case thank you so much, wish you the best”
Zaki, thank you very much for your question, and of course you are not “annoying”, it is really our pleasure!
Actually, this is a very common question. We therefore felt it is important we explain the difference between a “broad” scholarship and a more “specific” one, or what we call Fellowship, to help other fellow students better focus their efforts in order to maximize their chances of securing a fellowship for their graduate studies. Enjoy!
So, to answer your question Zaki:
There are many Erasmus-like graduate scholarships programs here in Canada, but the only difference is that unlike Erasmus scholarships, these are not “blanket” scholarships, they are very country specific.
For example, there are many, many graduate scholarship programs established between Canada and, for example, The United States, China, Brazil, India and other countries. Basically you will have to go and see if there is any specific graduate scholarship agreement between your country (in your case, Algeria) and Canada and then you will be able to apply. So basically, there is not a broad Erasmus-like graduate scholarship program here in Canada, as I said it is very country specific.
However since our objective is really to help you find the most, I will say, the quickest and easiest way to get or secure a graduate scholarship independently of your country of citizenship, we will further explain the difference between what we like to call the two big buckets of funding or of graduate scholarships types.
The first one, which is the one you are referring to in your question, is really the big category, or the broad graduate scholarships category
In Canada, these are the scholarships that are offered by big institutions, associations, foundations, companies and/or corporations. These are actually really focused on a very specific topic. For example, let’s take the The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario $18,500 Scholarship for a Masters Degree . They do have a graduate scholarship but in this specific case the scholarship will be granted to student who are interested or agree to study topics specifically related to heart disease or health or wellness, etc. So basically, a very specific topic. Like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to this kind of broad scholarships.
The advantage is that this information is available and when I say available, I mean this information is no “secret” to anyone. These are really well know in the Canadian higher education “Ecosystem”. A lot of Canadian and international students know about these scholarships because information is circulated everywhere: among the different universities, colleges and research networks. Basically, a lot of people are making sure this information gets out in the public domain to encourage applications from Canadian and/or International students.
As a result of this intensive “marketing”, the competition ends up being pretty fierce. This can be a huge disadvantage, not necessarily, because it is difficult, but because the sheer number of applications that these institutions do receive on a monthly basis. It is obviously more difficult to compete and/or stand out in from hundreds of other stellar candidates.
The second disadvantages that we see is that the decision making process involves a committee. As soon as you say “committee”, this means you have different committee “members”, so the review process and the final decision is at the discretion of many “judges”: each one of them makes a judgement call based on a set of criteria they want to see in the application. Basically your job is to convince all members of that committee that you are the best candidate, which obviously, makes the application process, less “predictable” and therefore more difficult. We have a great compilation of tips directly from the NSERC scholarships committee, that you can access here.
The third disadvantage, is that many of these graduate scholarships will require the applicant, meaning you, to find a professor, or research director, first. Generally, these have to be within specific Canadian universities and/or Province. You will have to demonstrate that the research director has agreed to take you in his lab, show that you have been admitted to the university etc etc. Obviously, it is very doable, but this “multi-step” process does add another layer of complexity which can make the whole application process relatively difficult to navigate.
The Graduate Fellowship
The second bucket of graduate funding is what we call on Studdys.com “Graduate Fellowships”.
Unlike the broad scholarships, these are “professor specific”. Basically, these are posted when a professor has secured funding (either from a public funding agency such as NSERC or from a Private Corporation, or from the University funds) and as a result needs graduate students as soon as possible. So what is great about this “route”, is that the professor does have guaranteed funding, so you know that he or she will be able to cover the salary (aka graduate fellowship) of a graduate student to conduct a Masters or a PhD.
The other characteristic of these graduate fellowship is their “subject specificity”, i.e. the Masters or PhD research project posting is specific to the project the funding has been granted for.
The first advantage stemming from this “specificity” is it becomes much easier to really understand what the professor is looking for. As such a you, can customize and work on your resume and on your package to specifically answer or meet the professor questions or requirements, while putting forward the skill set that the professor is looking for for the successful completion of the research project.
The second advantage we see in applying for these Graduate fellowships, is that the decision making process, involves only one person: the Professor. So, as soon as, a professor sees that you have the skill set required to join the research project team, and subsequently, endorses your admission request by guaranteeing funding, the whole “bureaucratic” university admission process becomes much easier and streamlined. As as result, this is the route I highly recommend you follow.
Not understanding the real difference between a graduate scholarship and a graduate fellowship is, in my opinion, what causes confusion among the student community, and even more so for international students who are not well versed with the Canadian or even the North American higher (research based) education system. The overwhelm that you feel when you actually go from one graduate scholarship to the other without really understanding what the process is, what to expect, how really to work on your application to really maximize your chances of getting the “YES”, is really what leads to poor results.
So, hopefully this will help you better understand how the process of applying for a graduate scholarship and/or graduate fellowship works and really choose the balance between applying for broad scholarships vs specific fellowships, very carefully.
Keep in mind that having a clear strategy, will help you concentrate your efforts, as at the end of the day, there is only so much time, or energy you can put towards finding a source of funding to study in Canada. So it is important you really understand the whole process to avoid feeling discouraged.
Most important, we absolutely do not want you to think you won’t be successful if securing funding to study in Canada,there are many graduate scholarships and/or graduate fellowships opportunities awaiting for great candidates like you, so it is just a question of understanding where to go. Have a clear objective and just go for it.
So, hopefully this answers your question about Erasmus like graduate scholarships and please stay tuned because we will be providing further information about scholarships, admissions, Canadian universities, graduate programs in Canada, on how to get that “yes” from that professor, how to customize or draft the resume and cover letter that will get the attention of the professor and much more.
So, once again thank you and we hope to talk to you very soon.
Also, if you have any comments or any questions regarding graduate scholarships or graduate fellowships please leave your comments in the blog post or on our Facebook page and we will make sure to get back to you as soon as we can.
Thank you very much and we wish you a fantastic rest of the day!
More information on this question, can also be found here:
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Good morning students and welcome to Studdys desktop
Today we will be answering a question from Zaki.
Zaki is asking first of all he this is what he is writing:
Thank you so much for all the posts and information you are sharing with us. Then he goes and continues and says: I spent a great amount of my time 25 years, so Zaki holds a Masters in electrical engineering and he has been spending a lot of time looking for a scholarship. He says that he did find a lot of scholarships or many opportunities but he didn’t act on any of these opportunities and the reason being is that he feels confused.
The second part of his question is related to Erasmus. He is asking if there is any Erasmus-like graduate scholarships available in Canada were actually you will not need to get university admission first before applying for these graduate scholarship, so basically you will be admitted by for a graduate scholarship and then you can go ahead and apply to a University.
Photo Credit: Yamagata Camille