Getting the Swedish Institute (SI) scholarship ↗️ was one of the best things to happen to me. Not only did it turn into a reality my dream to pursue further studies in Sweden, but it also opened up a world of opportunities for personal growth, career development, and networking. In this blog, I share my top tips on how to ace the SISGP application.
Remember, these tips are based on my personal ideas. It is important to remember that every applicant’s story is different and it is up to you to find the best way of presenting your application to show your leadership potential and how studying in Sweden is aligned with your aspirations.
1. Follow instructions
The SI scholarship is very specific about how the templates should be completed. In order to ace your SISGP application, you need to go through ALL the instructions and understand them. Thereafter, you can present the information required in the way that the scholarship team wants it. Don’t take any instruction for granted.
2. Start early
The application portal usually opens for only a short period in February. For the 2023 application round, it’s from 10 to 28 February 2023. ↗️ However, the templates/forms of the application documents ↗️ are usually already released in November or December every year. As such, it is better to prepare the documents early on and have them ready by the time the application portal opens. This way, when the portal opens, your focus can be on completing the online application form. It is important to note that from the 2022 application round, a motivation letter is not included in the list of document templates released earlier. The motivation will be asked in the online application portal.
The SI application has quite a number of documents. If these are done in a rush, it’s easy to make mistakes (for example dates on the CV, spelling errors, etc). Starting early will give you a chance to work on each document adequately and minimises the possibility of making errors. Starting early also gives your referees time to work on the reference letters at their own pace without rushing.
Also, it’s important not to leave the submission of the application until the last day. If anything happens while you are trying to submit at the last minute (for example, bad network, computer issues, etc) you might fail to submit your application on time. The SISGP does not accept any late applications.
3. Tell a clear story
In order to ace your SISGP application, it is critical to ensure that your application material tells a clear story about the type of leader that you are and the challenges that you want to tackle. The application documents can be regarded as pieces of a puzzle. They should, when put together, paint a clear picture of you. I think it’s important to clearly show the link between your past studies, experience, and chosen Master’s programme. It is also important to make each sentence count by including meaningful material and avoiding wordiness.
With regards to the challenges you want to solve, I believe that it’s better to be specific than general. You can also show how, in your work, you have done some groundwork towards achieving that goal. Additionally, you can show how the Master’s program you want to pursue feeds into that goal.
4. Be honest
The SISGP is a highly competitive scholarship. I believe that the selection committee takes a lot of time and has plenty of experience in evaluating tons of applications every year. As such, they are able to see the sincerity of applications. The lessons you learned and reflections you got from your experiences are the foundation of your application. If this foundation is strong, all you need to do is to be honest. To ace your SISGP application, be who you are and answer honestly. Remember that the proof of your work and leadership experience should support the answers you provide in the application form.
If you feel that your accomplishments are not yet adequate to build a strong application on, it is okay to give yourself time, work a bit longer to develop yourself, and apply next time when you have enough experience to support your application. Remember, the SISGP does not have any age restrictions.
I think one of the things that probably made me stand out is the fact that I had a very specific idea about the challenges I hope to solve in the future, based on my work experience. While choosing where to study, I did a lot of research about studying in Sweden, the curriculum of the programmes I was interested in, as well as the extent of collaboration between Swedish universities and the industry. I was particularly interested in ongoing innovations in the manufacturing industry and how the programme I wanted to study would increase my aptitude in that area.
As such, I got a clear idea of how studying in Sweden specifically would provide the academic experience I needed in line with my aspirations. Since the challenges I aspire to tackle in the future are in line with some sustainable development goals, I made it a point to show how education in Sweden would help develop me into a leader who can contribute to my country’s development in the future.
Lastly, while preparing my application, I got friends to review my documents and help me in proofreading them. Having friends review your documents can help you find and correct errors and ensure that the information provided in your documentation is clear and easy for anyone (even people who are not in your field) to understand. Clarity is an important aspect of a winning application.
The application process can be long and challenging at times, but one thing I know is that getting an SI scholarship is life-changing. It’s worth all the hard work. Wishing you all the best as you prepare your application.
Till next time. Hej då!