Mastering the Scholarship Search: Key Points to Remember

Mastering the Scholarship Search: A scholarship is a financial award or grant provided to individuals, mainly the students, to support their pursuit of higher education, specialized learning or training. It is awarded on the basis of various criteria. This may include academic achievement, merit, financial need, specific talents or skills, affiliations, or demographic characteristics. These awards are intended to extend support for the cost of tuition, fees, books, and other educational expenditures. It reduces the financial burden on the recipients and enables them an access to academic opportunities that they might not be able to afford. Scholarships empower aspirants and enable them pursue their dreams. The aim of scholarships is to help applicants navigate their career paths effectively without facing socio-economic roadblocks. There is a wider pool of scholarship opportunities available in the field of education, sports, including other vocations. Some of the common categories and types of scholarship opportunities are as follows: 

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  • Need-based Scholarships 
  • Merit-based Scholarships
  • Need-based and Merit-based Scholarships
  • Fellowship Programme
  • Athletic/Sports Scholarships
  • Minority-based Scholarships
  • Girls/Women Scholarships
  • Talent-based Scholarships
  • Study Abroad Scholarships in India

The list is indicative and not exhaustive. It is important for applicants to be aware about the application process of suitable scholarships. This article attempts to acquaint the readers with the steps and strategies involved in mastering the search for the right scholarships with ease.

How to Master the Search for Scholarships – Importance of Scholarships

Mastering the search for scholarships is the crucial step in securing financial support for  pursuing your higher academic goals. Right kind of scholarships can significantly alleviate the financial burden of aspirants who are in the pursuit of higher education. It opens doors to improved academic and career opportunities.  Let us first understand its significance.

Facilitates Academic Excellence:  In order to achieve academic excellence, scholarships are an important incentive. Students who know that their hard work and dedication can be rewarded with financial aid are more likely to strive for high academic achievement. This promotes a culture of excellence in educational institutions that benefits not only the fellows, but also the entire ecosystem. Furthermore, scholarships are often supplemented with support and networking opportunities that facilitate exchange of knowledge, cultural know-how and skills required for academic and professional success. Networking can be of great value in helping students to make full use of their potential and strive for excellent career prospects.

Reduces Financial Pressure:  Rise in debt on education loans as a result of increasing cost of education can leave a lot of students with a high degree of debt that takes years or even decades to pay off. Scholarships cover part or all of a student’s university fees in order to alleviate this burden. This results in less debt, which means that students can be more flexible and make better choices when it comes to pursuing their career goals and interests instead of feeling overburdened financially. A wider financial implication is also witnessed in terms of contribution to economic growth and stability. Graduates with lower debt are more likely to be productive. They can earn, invest, start businesses or pursue a career they yearn to do.

Nurtures Talent: Scholarship opportunities provide a vital motivation in identification and nurturing of talent. A lot of scholarships are merit based. It rewards students on the basis of their academic achievements, leadership qualities or special talents. These incentives are intended to encourage academic performance and development of skills of the aspirants. By investing in the education of talented people, scholarships help create a pool of qualified professionals and innovators who can excel and leave a lasting impression in various fields.  Moreover, scholarship funds are often used to fund research projects allowing students to explore their own interests and broaden their horizons.

Widens Access to Higher Education: The role played by scholarships in widening the access to higher education is one of the greatest benefits that they offer. Pursuing higher education has become expensive as a result of the increase of tuition fees, accommodation cost, cost of expenditures on study materials, computers and their accessories etc. which can erect financial barriers. To eliminate these obstacles, scholarships provide financial assistance to worthy students in pursuit of their dreams despite being in a financially disadvantageous position. Scholarships are particularly relevant for the less privileged and marginalised communities. It enables a level playing field and widens the access to available opportunities. By making higher education accessible, scholarship opportunities help create a fairer society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed on the basis of their ability.

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How to Master the Search for Scholarships – Categories of Scholarships

Scholarship opportunities are available in various categories. They are designed to support students with different backgrounds, interests, and needs. Some common categories of scholarships are as follows:

Need-based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are awarded to candidates from financially weaker sections of the society. Such scholarships are awarded to aspirants in order to motivate them to complete their education despite financial limitations. Applicants must keep in mind that the major criterion for such scholarships relate to furnishing documents related to annual family income. This is a key document required in the process of applying under the scholarship programme and filling the application forms.

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programme
Dr. Ambedkar Post Matric Scholarship for Economically Backward Classes (EBC), Tripura
Saksham Scholarship Program for Drivers’ Children
AICTE-Saksham Scholarship Scheme
Sitaram Jindal Foundation Scholarship Scheme

To read more about need-based scholarship programmes.

Merit-based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are offered to applicants with excellent academic performance. It is mainly awarded to meritorious students who have achieved outstanding grades in their academic journey in their schools, colleges and beyond. The merit of a candidate is decided by the scholarship provider on the basis of final score secured in the internal/external examinations or rankings obtained in the competitive exams at various levels.

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Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programme
L&T Build India Scholarship 2023
INSPIRE Scholarship For Higher Education
JSPN Scholarship
KSCSTE Prathibha Scholarship Programme 2023

To read more on merit-based scholarship programmes.

Need-based and Merit-based Scholarships

Need-based and merit-based scholarships are offered  to candidates on the basis of both academic performance and annual family income. Most of the need-based and merit-based scholarship programmes include both of these aspects in the final selection of applicants.

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programmes
Swami Dayanand Education Foundation Merit-cum-Means Scholarship 2023-24
Merit-cum-Means Scholarship for SC Students, Haryana 2023-24
HDFC Bank Parivartan’s ECSS Programme 2023-24
IIT Madras Merit-cum-Means Scholarship for BS Degree/Diploma in Data Science 2024
LIC HFL Vidyadhan Scholarship 2023

To read more about need-based and merit-based scholarship programmes.

Fellowship Programme

A fellowship is a form of financial support or grant provided mainly to individuals, often professionals or scholars, to pursue a specific program of study, research, or professional development. It is awarded on the basis of merit, achievements, and academic potential. Fellowships offer recipients the opportunity to  pursue their education or career in a specific field further. It is a short-term fund that is provided by an organisation/institution with a focus on a professional field of study in a particular course or programme being pursued by the aspirants. Fellowships are offered at the higher education levels such as graduation, post graduation, or research. The aim of the fellowship programme is to help aspirants hone their skills and master professional expertise in a particular field of study.

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programmes
Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship
NSP National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students 2022-23
SBI Youth for India Fellowship
Schaeffler India Social Innovator Fellowship Program 2023

To read more about fellowship programmes.

Athletic/Sports Scholarships

Scholarship programmes meant for sports personnel are awarded to  individuals  who are passionate about sports. It is solely based on the outstanding performance of the applicants in any of the sports disciplines. It enables them to pursue their passion for sports along with their studies in schools/colleges simultaneously.

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programmes
DXC Progressing Minds Scholarship for Sportspersons 2023-24
ONGC Sports Scholarship Scheme 2023-24
Indian Oil Sports Scholarship
AAI Sports Scholarship

To read more about athletic/sports scholarship programmes.

Minority-based Scholarships

Minority scholarships are mainly targeted at individuals from underrepresented sections/communities of the society. Through such financial help, candidates from minority sections of the society are able to pursue their studies/career without facing socio-political and financial hurdles. Scholarship support helps in bridging the education gap by providing opportunities to students from diverse minority backgrounds to pursue their dream.

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programmes
Post-Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Tribe Students, Nagaland 2023-24
Minority Girls Scholarship, Assam 2023-24
Dr. S.S. Prabhu Scholarship 2023
Legrand Empowering Scholarship Program 2023-24

To read more about minority-based scholarship programmes.

Girls/Women Scholarships

Women scholarships are specifically meant for female students. It encourages gender diversity in various fields of study. Such opportunities aim to pay special focus on the empowerment of women by enabling them to pursue their academic goals. 

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programmes
Santoor Scholarship Programme 2023-24
FUEL Business School CSR Scholarship 2023-24
Kotak Kanya Scholarship
Pragati Scholarship – AICTE-Scholarship Scheme to Girl Child (SSGC)

To read more about girls/women scholarship programmes.

Talent-based Scholarships

A talent-based scholarship is a form of financial aid or grant awarded to individuals with exceptional skills, talents, or achievements in a particular area of interest. These scholarships are granted to recognize and support individuals who excel in fields such as the arts, athletics, music, dance, theater, or other specialized talents. Talent-based scholarships are often offered by academic institutions or arts academies, private organizations, foundations in order to encourage the development and pursuit of talent in various disciplines.

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programmes
Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2023
Kalakriti Fellowship
Nikon Scholarship Program
Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme (CTSSS) 

Study Abroad Scholarships in India

Study Abroad Scholarships in India are financial awards or grants specifically cater to Indian students who are willing to pursue higher education or specialized training programs in foreign countries. These scholarship programmes are offered by various government agencies, private organizations, universities, and international institutions. It provides Indian students an easy access to quality education and international exposure. 

Some of the relevant examples are as under:

Name of the Scholarship Programmes
Chevening Scholarships 2024-25
Erasmus Mundus Scholarships
Dhirubhai Ambani Scholarship Program
JN Tata Endowment Loan Scholarship 2023-24

To read more about the study abroad programme.

How to Master the Search for a Suitable Scholarship Programme – Key Points to Remember

Mastering the search for a suitable scholarship program is a crucial step in the direction of securing matching financial support for your education or career aspirations. It involves adequate research, strategic planning, and effective application techniques. A well-planned strategy plays a pivotal role in filtering out suitable scholarship programmes. It is always advisable to begin the search for a scholarship well in advance, preferably a year or more before an applicant plans to commence their education or training. Aspirants must clarify their academic goals in order to identify matching scholarship programmes that align with their aspirations. Some of the key points to remember when applicants embark on their journey of scholarship search are as follows:

1. Self-analysis Holds the Key

It is important for the applicants to analyse their academic goals along with the assessment of their financial budget required to pursue them. Aspirants need to figure out their domain of specialisation and their career aspirations. At this stage, it is crucial for the candidates to assess their achievements in the field of academics, sports, extra-curricular activities, or any other areas of interest.

2. Milestones Achieved in Schools and College Life 

After having assessed their strong areas, aspirants must prepare a list of their academic achievements, awards, special skills, talents, involvement in leadership roles, community service, or volunteer work. This will help the applicants in formulating their cumulative profile.

3. Comprehensive Research

Online research is one of the best methods to look for scholarships. Utilize online scholarship databases and search engines to discover a wide range of opportunities. Websites such as Buddy4Study provide a one stop solution for most of the searches related to scholarships programmes on offer.  Available resources for a streamlined search include the official websites of the following:

  • Professional Institutions
  • Private Organisations and Foundations
  • Corporations and Business Houses
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Government Agencies

Moreover, students can also follow the social media pages of the relevant institutions as mentioned above in order to stay updated with regard to scholarship/fellowship/other funding opportunities on offer. 

4. Adherence to a Deductive Approach

After researching a wide array of available opportunities, aspirants must narrow down to those programmes that are directly aligned to the required goals and priorities. The narrowing down can be done on the basis of academic qualifications, geographical location, ethnicity, gender, and other specific requirements.

5. Shortlisting Multiple Platforms and Familiarisation with Application Process

At this stage, candidates must finalise multiple platforms to maximise their chance to succeed. It is very important to remain acquainted with the steps involved in the application process. Following are the crucial aspects that must be kept in mind while applying for scholarship programme:

  • About the Program 
  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Awards
  • Documents Required
  • Application Mode (Online/Offline)
  • Selection Process

6. Importance of Start Date and End Date

It is important to keep a track of application timelines including the start date and end date. Candidates should start at the earliest so that they are left with sufficient time to complete and review the application before its final submission. This eliminates the room for errors.

7. Seeking Guidance and Mentoring

It is always advisable for candidates to seek the opinion of their parents, teachers, mentors, and guides  to gain a better understanding of the scholarship recommendations and application guidelines. It helps them stay motivated while making an informed decision.

8. Follow Ups

Once the applicants have submitted their application forms, it is essential to maintain a healthy relationship. Maintaining a strong connection with the organization is important, and this can be achieved by conducting regular follow-ups. It reveals  sincerity and dedication on the part of the applicants. It also helps in staying updated on the status of the next round after screening of the documents for further clarity.

Mastering the Search for the Scholarships – FAQ

Can aspirants apply for more than one scholarship programme?

Yes, it is possible to apply for more than one scholarship programme simultaneously. However, many scholarship schemes have clear guidelines on availing multiple scholarships. The best way forward for the applicants is to apprise themselves about the details on the respective scholarship programme on offer before applying.

When should a candidate start applying for a scholarship programme?

It is never too late to start for an applicant. The earlier they start the better it is for them. They can familiarize themselves with respect to application requirements on the basis of their areas of interest.

Should I apply for scholarships before or after I’m enrolled in a college?

One can apply before or after they are enrolled in a college. It depends on the eligibility criteria of a scholarship programme.

What does it mean to renew a scholarship programme?

Applicants, who have been selected for scholarship programme in a particular year can apply for renewal under the scholarship programme for the same course in the forthcoming year, if the scheme has similar provisions.

Can the applicants apply for different scholarship programmes simultaneously?

Candidates can apply for multiple scholarship programmes simultaneously, however, they are entitled to receive only one scholarship at a time.

Can the candidates apply for a scholarship programme if they interested but lag by a year in pursuing the designated course?

No, a candidate shall only be considered for scholarship programme only in the year of commencement of her/his course.

What should a candidate do if the application under a scholarship programme is rejected?

If a candidate is denied a scholarship, she/he can send a letter of appeal to the scholarship provider with an earnest request for information on the reasons of rejection. After having received the information, the candidates can analyse on the reasons of rejection and ensure an improved application request for the scholarship programme in future.

Can candidates get scholarship if they fail in their semester/academic year?

No, the candidates must fulfill the minimum criterion. If they are required to have passed their each semester/academic year for consideration of their application under a scholarship programme, they must meet the criterion.

Do I have to pay to search for scholarships?

No, scholarship search providers do not charge any fee for facilitating search on scholarship programmes. Applicants can browse the official websites of scholarship providers or connect with them through appropriate channels. Buddy4Study is one platform where applicants are not just offered support for searching a matching scholarship requirements but they are also offered mentorship support.

Where should I look for available opportunities on a scholarship programme?

Aspirants can visit the website: to know about several scholarship programmes catering to different domains. Websites such as Buddy4Study provide a one stop solution for most of the searches related to scholarships programmes on offer. 


  1. Source of Information: Buddy4Study app compiles details on scholarships/fellowships from government websites and private scholarship sources. Links to the official sources accompany each listing detail pages.
  2. Non-affiliation: The Buddy4Study app is not associated with any government entity in India or elsewhere. When featuring government scholarships, we rely on publicly accessible information from central and state government websites in India.

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