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Tips when applying for a bursary

Tips when applying for a bursary

Applying for a bursary is much like applying for a job. In both cases, you are asking for a company or organisation to invest in you and give you an opportunity to develop yourself. So, to get a bursary, you need to show in your application that you are worth investing in.

Too often we receive bursary applications which are incomplete, badly written, sometimes we have even gotten other organisations application forms sent to us. We receive thousands of applications each year and if you want to be taken seriously it’s important to really take your time and put your best effort into the application.

In this article we will give you 10 basic pointers you should consider when applying for a bursary.


  1. Give yourself enough time to apply. Start the bursary application process early. This way you can collect the relevant information which is required and ensure that your application is correct and complete before you send it.
  2. Do research on the organisation you are applying to. Understand what they are about and why you would want to be a part of them.
  3. Read the instructions carefully. Understand what is being asked and what criteria they are looking for.
  4. Make a list of all the documentation that is required. Make sure you do not leave out anything which is being asked for as organisations may decline your application on the basis that it is incomplete.
  5. Create certified copies of all your important information. You can easily do this at any police station as long as you have a copy and the original document. Scan these documents and store them in a safe space. If you don’t have a data / memory stick you could email them to yourself and save them in your inbox so that they are electronically available at any time.
  6. Decide which email address, cell number or any contact details you will be available on and able to access daily and for at least 8 months after your application. This is incredibly important as often we are interested in a candidate but are unable to contact them via the contact details that have been provided. It is often due to candidates giving us an email address which they never check, cell numbers which are no longer in use or they have misspelt their email address.
  7. When you are asked to write an essay, understand the topic and the amount of words required. Don’t send a sentence or two when asked for an essay.
  8. Check your spelling and never write in short SMS style language for example “U” instead of “you” and “4” instead of “for”. This screams unprofessional and requires the reader to understand your abbreviations.
  9. When sending your application and documents to the organisation, make sure you type in the correct email address. Copy yourself on the email so that you have a record of the document being sent. Have the documents scanned properly. A photograph of your application and documentation are not the same as “scanned”. We don’t accept these applications as they are far too difficult to read and often very blurry. 
  10. Finally make a list of the organisations you have applied to. Remember that they could call you at any stage and you need to sound sure of your application and the organisation. Be professional when you answer the phone as you never know when it could be someone calling you for an interview.
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