Mujeeb Balogun is a 2021 Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. In this write-up, he takes prospective applicants through the process of application. He gives a brief background on the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, share tips to making a successful application chipping in some of his scholarship application experiences.
The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees Scholarship is one of the prestigious scholarships in the world. It is a full-ride scholarship funded by the European Union (EU) and awarded yearly to the top and high-achieving students from the EU countries (Programme countries) and non-EU countries (Partner countries). The above mentioned will inform you that the scholarship is very intensive and highly competitive as applicants will be competing with other top students with excellent profiles from all over the world. As an applicant, you are only allowed to apply to a maximum of three programmes per cycle at present. The application deadlines vary depending on the programme. The scholarship body awards more grant/scholarship slots to Non-EU students with a maximum of three slots per country at present. Do not worry, I will explain. So, for instance, in a particular Erasmus Mundus programme, you cannot have more than three scholars from the same country in the programme. However, sometimes, there could be exceptions to this. There could exist a maximum of four scholars from a particular country. It is rare, but it happens.
Five Essential Items
Academic Requirement: Generally, candidates with a First Class or Second Class Upper grade in their Bachelor’s degree can apply to the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. Candidates with a Second Class lower degree in their Bachelor’s degree and with excellent grades in a postgraduate study – an MSc can also apply. Additionally, applicants having a Higher National Diploma (HND) with excellent grades are also eligible to apply. However, this is dependent upon the programme. Do well to check with the secretariat or coordinator of the proposed programme if an HND is accepted. If the diploma is accepted, you can also do a World Education Services (WES) evaluation to show that your diploma is equivalent to a BSc degree and thus, bolster your chances.
Motivation Letter/Statement of Purpose: Let’s begin. In the words of Dr (in view) Gideon Olarenwaju (@LanreShaper), “It is first words before awards”. Another one by Dr Godwin Mark says, “The difference between who wins and who does not win (all other things being equal) is simply words – the words that they each write”. Writing an award-winning letter/statement is no easy task at all. It takes a lot of planning and deep introspection. Although perfect essays do not exist, you can always write an award-winning one with a constant consciousness of key items to note. These items will reflect in your letter and will make you stand out. Therefore writing a game-changing, award-winning 200-1000 words is worth all the effort.
The Statement of Purpose(SoP)/Motivation Letter(LoM) is one of the essential documents in your application file. It is what distinguish you from the rest of the pack. What to write, how to write it, and the word/character limit varies depending on the programme. Your SoP should show a good understanding of your proposed field and a strong desire to learn, your capacity to carry out research, work and volunteering experiences (if any), your choice of mobility track/pathway and your short and long term goals. It is your letter, so let it properly reflect who you are. Read the programme website you want to apply to thoroughly. Take as much time as you need to understand in depth what the programme is all about.
The programmes each have a website of their own, detailing some of which includes; the aims and objectives of the programme, catalogue of courses, programme pathways/mobility tracks, academic degree compatibility, their long-term goals, application requirements, academic and industrial partners, thesis topics done by the previous students, their alumni and so on. You want to familiarize yourself with all of these first before you think of applying. Ensure proper formatting, font usage, word/character limit for the SoP/LoM. Make sure that your motivation to study the programme is clear. Pass a clear message with each sentence that connects to form paragraphs. Do not keep restating what is already evident on your CV. Avoid redundancies. Avoid sounding vague or desperate. Employ the use of correct but straightforward grammar while avoiding run-on sentences. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) Technique to describe your experiences. There should be a nexus between your motivation letter and your CV and Reference Letter(s). You cannot lay claim to something in your SoP while your reference letter(s) is/are saying the exact opposite.