Navigating through the procedures for obtaining funding for a postgraduate degree can be frustrating, especially if you require the certificate to enhance capacity in the workforce or explore other areas of education.
It is with these concerns that YAFO Institute (a Think Tank Institution with a focus on Civil Liberty, Free Enterprise Research, and Prosperity) has organised a webinar themed “The Scholar’s Journey: How to Successfully Navigate Graduate School” to enlighten individuals who are aspiring to pursue educational levels beyond their degrees but have been unable to do so due to financial difficulties.
Leading the discussion was Dr. Albert Kobina Mensah, a research scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Ghana.
Dr. Mensah highlighted the vital need for applicants to start applying to professors in their final year. He prompted applicants to write vividly while pointing out directly why they need the endorsement and funding for the program they intend to pursue.
He also warned applicants to desist from the use of informal and ambiguous words; otherwise, their letters will be flagged, which will eventually lead to their application being declined.
For the sake of clarity, he segmented the conversation into “How to Gain Recommendation”, “How to Gain Funding”, and “How to Maintain Funding”.
On obtaining recommendations, he revealed that recommendations should not be limited to lecturers.
According to him, if an applicant is already working in a firm, he can obtain a recommendation from his employer, a colleague who has a doctorate degree, or, if possible, get an endorsement from a lecturer or someone of good reputation.
For funding issues, Dr. Mensah observed that applicants need to follow and observe the works of the supervisor or professor they are applying to to ascertain if their works or projects align with their vision.
Applicants should also pay attention to the criteria for the program they intend to pursue; from there, they can give a clear statement regarding what they will inform the professor, according to him.
He added that it is imperative to put achievements, proposals written or published, conferences attended, and certifications on their CVs.
Touching on how to maintain funding, Dr. Mensah said applicants need to write progress reports each year to ensure the continuous flow of funding.
Dr. Mensah encouraged applicants to document every activity they engage in while considering the unique style of the universities they are applying to, explaining that these can boost their chances of being selected for funding as regards their choice of program.