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Abdul Karim Khan

1 hr

Dear All,
I would like to share my journey of scholarship hunting (Masters and PhD both) with a
hope that someone might find it helpful.
This might be an old story for many but still, I would be more than happy if it can help
someone somehow.
The question I usually encounter is that how did you find about this specific or that
specific scholarship? My answer to this is always Scholarship Network.
How I got MASTERS Scholarship?
Back in 2014, I was following almost all the scholarships announced in this group. The
basic requirement for these scholarships was IELTS. So before doing anything else, I
submitted my IELTS fee to British Council Pakistan and started preparing for IELTS. It
took me about a week (few hours per day) preparation to get 7.5 band.
My English language skills are pretty average and if I can get 7.5 after a week
preparation, obviously almost anyone can get it. The tip is to practice at least 5 IELTS
tests from any book but make sure you do it in a time bound manner like a real exam
scenario.
Now I was ready to apply and try my luck. The next step was to select a
country/university and respective professors. Regarding country, I selected Korea
because there are normally so many scholarship openings in Korean universities labs
and the only thing to win the scholarship is to convince the professor. For that I followed
the guidelines given in the group about how to contact professors and drafted my email.
I would like to share few important points about writing an email to a professor.
Its all about psychology. Imagine there is something you are interested in, and suddenly
someone start talking about it, it will grab your attention. Same psychology principle
applies in case of grabbing professors attention through your email. You need to talk
about things he is interested (in research) in.
How would you know that? Well, for that study few of the research papers professor
recently published and go through his or her research profile. Then try to align your
research interests with the professors research interest while writing email to a
professor.
You must use the research terms (specific words related to some specific field) related
to the professors research profile and when he will see the same words he used in his
papers or a little related, it will obviously grab his attention.
I got scholarship in three of the Korean universities at a time and selected one.
How I got PhD Scholarship?
Long story short, after completing my masters studies in Korea and coming back to
Pakistan in March 2016, I had made my mind that I will peruse my PhD studies in some
English speaking country.
I selected Australia because like Korea, there are so many scholarships for PhD studies
in almost every field. As my IELTS was already expired so I needed to retake IELTS first
of all. After doing my IELTS again, unlike for masters, I needed to have my research
proposal ready before applying for PhD.
I extended and elaborated the future work of my masters thesis and documented it in
the form of a two page research proposal. I took me about three days (working on and
off). So the tip is, its good to base your PhD Research Proposal on the future work of
your masters thesis. Its not a hard job, it will take about a week or so if you have really
worked on your previous masters thesis.
Now when the research proposal was ready, I searched relevant professors of Australian
universities and emailed them my CV along with my research proposal. I followed the
same psychology principle of grabbing professors attention and it worked. Two
Australian Professors from two different universities agreed to accept me as a PhD
candidate. Now it should be noted that I emailed around 10 professors (relevant to my
area of research) and out of which 6 directly declined my application. 2 professors didnt
reply even after checking my email.
There is an app of Gmail with a name mailtrack which when you install into your
chrome browser and link it with your Gmail account, it can tell you whether your sent
email is read or not. How many time it has been read and which device was used for
reading your email. The link is given below. This way, you will know if the professor has
checked or read your email or not. There might be any other application for other mail
accounts as well. Please remember to remove the mail track signature from your email.
https://mailtrack.io/en/
Now once you get professors approval, there are two more
milestones you have to achieve. The first is to apply online to the university (where
professor agreed to supervise you) and the academic committee will screen your
application for admission. After getting admission, they will normally consider your
application for the university PhD scholarship pool. There will be another committee
which will screen your application against university scholarship.
In my case, I cleared all the three stages in one university and was offered a fully
funded PhD Scholarship. In another university, I couldnt pass the scholarship
committee screening even though my professor agreed to support my application. Moral
of the story is, you need to clear all the three stages in order to get scholarship in
Australia.
Now I was happy and started preparing for Australian visa and was taking it very easy
like other countries (Korea /China). But was shocked when people told me that
Australian Government has banned visa from the KPK students. I wanted to take a
chance and prepared all my documents according to the embassy requirement and
lodged my application.
It should be noted that even if you have got Australian scholarship, you still need to
clear one big milestone of getting Australian visa. Its not like Korea or china. It will cost
you about 80k pkr (the visa procession fee and medical). The scholarship normally
doesnt cover the visa processing fee. The visa processing time is about 3 months and
you need to keep them reminding that you will lose the scholarship if you wont be able
to get your visa on time. They dont care about you and you will have to track your
application by reminding them.
One more point, your SOP is very important in your Australian visa process and its like
the backbone of your application. If you have got scholarship, then you dont need to
show your property documents or bank statement but you need to show strong ties with
Pakistan.
In my case, as I wasnt having any property or bank statement on my name, so I was
scared to fulfill the GTE (Search for GTE requirement in Australian visa). For that, I was
lucky that I got a job in academia as a lecturer and full filled my GTE requirement by
showing strong links with Pakistan through my job.
You can use your property, Pakistani bank balance to show your strong ties to Pakistan.
Otherwise, try to start a job or research in academia which may fulfill your GTE
requirement.
If you are from KP, dont worry, if your case is genuine, you will get your visa for
Australia. Dont believe on the rumors that KP students cant get visa because its a war
zone. Its all bullshit.
Plan, Prepare and execute, you will win inshaALLAH.
If you have any question, you can inbox me.
AK