What does it take for one for get a scholarship/fellowship? What does it take for one to secure a university admission? How do you answer the question: tell us about yourself? These are some of the questions that were addressed at the standout talks that took place on 11th June,2017, at the International Christian Assembly(ICA), in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Tendai Banda, the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, shared her experiences making… the Mandela Washington fellowship application. Tendai said that this was not her first time applying for the Mandela Fellowship. After the first rejection email, she took time to reflect on her essays and she had a lot of things to learn from her previous applications. She had two major tips for one to make a successful application: 1) Know your track: Mandela has three tracks, Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership and Public Management. As an applicant, you need to take time to know which track is suitable for you. 2) Mandela fellowship applications are not only for people who have founded organisations.
Lonjezo Sithole, a Global Health Corps(GHC) Fellow, and reviewer, shared his experiences in reviewing application documents. Lonjezo highlighted some of the mistakes that applicants make when making various application. He shared that ‘most applicants, fail to articulate their vision, and how that vision relates to the application for fellowship/scholarship’-Said Sithole. He added that poor grammar, poor planning, and starting the application hours before the deadline, are among some of the issues that make applicants miss out.
Mary Jiyani, the first female Malawian to be awarded the Rhodes scholarship shared six tips that can help one to get a scholarship. 1) Know what you are applying for. 2) know who you are. 3) Tailor each application. 4) Reach out to people who have gone through the same process. 5) Being able to articulate yourself in your application documents and face to face interviews. 6) Apply to several scholarship providers and don’t give up.
Maggie Phiri shared how she managed she managed to get scholarships for her undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Maggie also shared how she managed to get the Moremi fellowship, AWARD fellowship, and GHC fellowship. Maggie emphasized the power of networking and not being afraid to make applications.
Chimwemwe Manyozo, a Chevening alumni and Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society(RCS), gave a presentation about how one can write a person statement. Chimwemwe emphasized that a personal statement is about you, therefore, it needs to reflect who you are in relation to the application that you are making.
The session concluded with a one to one session where participants were given feedback on how they answer the question ‘Tell us about yourself?’