How International Students Can Find Scholarships in the United States

Pursuing higher education in the United States offers a world of opportunities for international students. With renowned academic institutions and diverse cultural experiences, the U.S. is a highly sought-after destination for students worldwide.

Financing a college education as an international student, however, can be a challenge. Fortunately, scholarships are available to help make studying in the U.S. more accessible and financially manageable. By understanding how to stand out as an applicant, international students can increase their chances of securing funding through scholarship programs.


Getting Scholarships To Study in America

It helps to start thinking about scholarships in high school — or as an undergraduate for graduate studies. That’s because factors like grades and activities play a vital role. Since good grades and test scores can help set you apart from the competition, always strive for academic excellence.

Extracurricular activities and community involvement are also crucial. Consider participating in clubs, sports, or volunteer work to showcase your well-rounded personality and leadership skills. These experiences help demonstrate your commitment and ability to balance academics with other interests.

Strong recommendation letters from teachers, counselors, or community leaders can also help your application stand out. Choose individuals who know you well and can speak to your strengths, character, and potential. Be sure to give them ample time to write thoughtful and persuasive letters.

Lastly, take your time crafting your application. Make sure to communicate your unique story, aspirations, and qualifications effectively. Also, make sure you provide all of the necessary documentation. A well-prepared application can make all the difference in obtaining a college scholarship.1

Searching for Scholarships

Begin your scholarship search early because it can be time-consuming. While creating a list of potential scholarships tailored to your qualifications, you may want to start by consulting your home country’s government or educational agencies for scholarships specifically designed for students pursuing education abroad.

Next, you may want to explore available scholarship programs at the U.S. universities you’re interested in attending. They may offer scholarships or financial aid packages for international students. Don’t forget to check the school’s international student office for more resources and guidance. Online scholarship databases can also help you find scholarship opportunities.2

Remember to be proactive, persistent, and organized during your scholarship search. It’s important to keep track of deadlines and requirements to maximize your chances of success. With determination and a strategic approach, you can increase your chances of finding the right scholarships to help you achieve your educational goals.

Types of Scholarships

Understanding the different types of scholarships can help you identify the ones most suited to your needs and qualifications. Here are some common categories of scholarships.

  • Merit-based scholarships: Awarded for academic, athletic, or artistic excellence. High grades, test scores, or exceptional talent can make you eligible.
  • Country-based scholarships: For students from specific countries or regions. Look for scholarships offered by your home country or U.S. organizations fostering international relations.
  • Subject-specific scholarships: Targeted at students pursuing a particular field of study or major. Research scholarships in your chosen academic discipline.
  • Minority scholarships: Aimed at supporting underrepresented student groups. Check for scholarships designed for your ethnic, religious, or cultural background.
  • University-specific scholarships: Provided by individual universities to attract talented international students. Research scholarship opportunities at the schools you’re interested in attending.
  • Need-based scholarships: Designed for students who demonstrate financial need. Your family’s financial background and your educational expenses will be considered.3

By familiarizing yourself with these scholarship types, you can refine your search and increase your chances of finding the right financial support for your education in the United States.

Scholarship Programs for International Students

Several scholarship programs are available to international students. Here are a few well-known options to help give you an idea of what’s out there.

  • United World Colleges (UWC) International Youth Scholarships: Provides need-based support to international students attending one of the 18 UWC schools worldwide, including the UWC-USA campus.
  • Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD): Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this program provides one-semester scholarships to outstanding undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • International Cultural Service Program (ICSP) Tuition Scholarships: Offered by the University of Oregon, these scholarships provide partial tuition waivers for international students who demonstrate financial need and exceptional merit.
  • Clark University Global Scholars Program: This merit-based scholarship provides financial support to first-year international students, covering a portion of tuition and offering additional stipends for project-based work.
  • Additionally, here are some scholarships available for international graduate students and professionals: Fulbright Foreign Student Program, Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program, and Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.

Of course, these are just a few examples of scholarship programs designed for international students. Thorough research and persistence can help you uncover many more potential scholarship opportunities.

The Takeaway

Securing a scholarship to study in the United States is within reach for international students who are proactive, persistent, and well-prepared. Start your search early, focusing on your strengths, academic interests, and background. Utilize resources ranging from government websites in your home country to online scholarship databases.

Remember the importance of good grades, extracurriculars, and strong recommendation letters. Stay organized, keeping track of deadlines, to ensure you submit applications on time. Taking the time to apply for scholarships to study in the USA can help international students make their goal of studying abroad a reality.