Applying for High School Study Abroad Scholarships in Europe
Studying abroad in high school can be a life-changing and perspective-broadening experience. However, the costs associated with international study can seem prohibitive for many families. Fortunately, there are a number of scholarships for high school seniors available specifically for US high school students looking to spend a summer, semester, or year overseas. With some advance planning and effort, financing a high school study abroad program may be more feasible than you think.
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Finding and Researching Scholarship Opportunities
The first step is identifying scholarships that match your particular needs and eligibility. There are thousands of scholarships out there; digging into scholarship databases and being methodical in your search is key. Here are some good resources to begin your scholarship search:
- Scholarship Databases: Large databases like FastWeb and Scholarships.com allow you to search for study abroad scholarships specifically. Focus on ones that fit your nationality, desired location abroad, academic record, talents, hobbies, family heritage and other criteria.
- Program Provider Scholarships: Many study abroad program providers like CIEE and Youth For Understanding USA offer scholarships or grants to participants. Check with your program to see what kind of financial assistance they provide.
- Government Scholarships: The U.S. Department of State offers merit-based scholarships for study abroad in certain countries like Egypt, India and South Korea.
- Destination Country Scholarships: Research study abroad scholarships offered by specific European countries. For example, Germany, France, and Spain offer scholarships specifically for international students.
In your scholarship search process, be sure to note application open/close dates, eligibility criteria, award amounts, and any required supplemental materials you’ll need to provide. Maintain this scholarship information organized somewhere that’s easy for you to reference throughout the application period.
Preparing Your Scholarship Application Materials
Once you’ve identified relevant scholarships to apply for, you need to carefully prepare materials that will make your application shine:
- Academic Transcripts: Provide your most recent 1-2 years of transcripts showing excellent academic achievement. Some scholarships require minimum GPAs, which average around 3.0 or higher.
- Test Scores: Standardized test scores like the SAT/ACT demonstrate your academic readiness for rigorous overseas study. Include your best results.
- Recommendation Letters: Ask 1-2 teachers familiar with your abilities to highlight your academic qualities and potential for thriving in a foreign learning environment.
- Essays: Craft well-written essays responding to each scholarship’s unique essay prompts. Demonstrate maturity, curiosity about other cultures, adaptability and motivation to study abroad.
- Interviews: If offered an interview opportunity, prepare responses illustrating how studying overseas fits your academic and personal growth goals. Show genuine enthusiasm!
- Financial Need Documentation: Some scholarships prioritize applicants with demonstrated financial need. Be prepared to provide documents like tax returns or FAFSA results if applicable.
Allow yourself plenty of time to collect materials and compose quality application components. You don’t want to jeopardize your chances for lack of preparation. Leverage school counselors to help guide you through technical scholarship application requirements as well.
Submitting Complete, Timely Applications
With your materials ready, strictly adhere to scholarship application instructions and deadlines, submitting all required components well before stated deadlines.
Stay organized by maintaining a spreadsheet tracking:
- Scholarship names
- Application due dates
- Items needing submission
- Dates you submitted required pieces
Follow up with scholarship administrators to confirm your application was received successfully. Be aware that competitive scholarships often involve various rounds of consideration before finalists are chosen, which can span months.
If you apply for multiple programs and scholarships simultaneously, keep records about what materials are going to which programs so nothing gets mixed up. Submitting incomplete or late applications is one of the biggest mistakes you can make that will get your application thrown out immediately.
Alternative Funding Options to Explore Further
Alongside competitive scholarships, consider investigating other potential funding sources for your study abroad adventure if needed:
- Grants and financial aid awards from your current high school
- Crowdfunding campaigns through platforms like GoFundMe
- Bank student loans at favorable rates
- Part-time employment freelancing online to earn income while abroad
- Paying program fees on a monthly installment plan basis
Finding ways to make study abroad attainable takes dedication and creativity. With persistence and care taking thoughtfully considered steps, an incredible international experience may be within reach. The personal growth, eye-opening cultural immersion and lifelong memories you’ll gain from studying overseas are invaluable.
Table 1: Notable High School Study Abroad Scholarships
|Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship
|U.S. Department of State
|Full funding to study abroad plus travel stipend
|U.S. high school students ages 15-18.5; German language study required
|National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)
|U.S. Department of State
|Partial funding for summer/year language study abroad
|U.S. high school students ages 15-18; Critical language study required
|CIEE High School Study Abroad Scholarship
|Open to all CIEE summer/semester students
|Youth For Understanding USA Scholarships
|Youth For Understanding USA
|April (summer), October (year)
|API Study Abroad Scholarship
|Academic Programs International
|For semester/year programs in select countries
|SIT Study Abroad High School Scholarships
|SIT Study Abroad
|Merit based; Specific countries
|Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Scholarship
|Underrepresented ethnic backgrounds