Head of our Economic Development Section, Mike Vidler, offers his top tips for those applying for Chevening Scholarships.
We have just confirmed the 14 Peruvians we’ll be sending to the UK on Chevening Scholarships this year. They are all impressive and inspirational people who possess the potential to be leaders in their fields. Good for Peru. Good for the UK. Congratulations to them all!
The Chevening application process is a long and highly competitive one. In Peru, we received 328 applications and interviewed a shortlist of 48. Many of the interviews were moving and inspirational. Some were okay. And a handful, despite looking great on paper, didn’t wow us in person, as their interview technique let them down.
Based on my experience this year, here are some thoughts that might be useful for those applying in future:
- Be enthusiastic.
A Chevening Scholarship pays all your expenses to study and live in the UK. We have four of the top eight universities in the world. And the UK is a great country to live in. If you can’t show the interview panel that you are enthusiastic about living and studying in the UK fully funded, then I have to question why you’re applying in the first place.
- Be confident.
Believe in yourself and your ability to make a difference. If you can’t convince yourself of this, you won’t be able to convince us either.
- Have a plan.
None of us can predict the future, and things change. But the panel will want to know that you applied for the Chevening Scholarship for a reason. Yes, a Chevening Scholarship will enhance your personal career prospects, but the best candidates also imagine how they will use it upon return to make real a difference to others.
- Practice your English.
We know you may be speaking in a second language (and chances are that your English is better than my Spanish) but speaking English is a key criterion for the scholarship. Strong English is also essential for getting the most out of your time in the UK. So practice before your interview.
- Be specific.
We will ask you to give examples of times where you have demonstrated key skills (especially leadership and networking). Prepare an example, explain what the situation was, what you did, and what the result was. We’re really not interested in what the rest of your team did – they are not being interviewed! We want to know about you. So give clear examples of your contribution and avoid saying ‘we’ in them.
- Finally, understand what you’re applying for.
Chevening is not just another scholarship. We’re looking for future leaders. So have a vision and try to inspire the interview panel. If you can’t inspire the panel, how would you inspire others in your chosen field?
The application process for Chevening will start again in August 2016. We want to offer the best of UK education to the most talented Peruvians of all backgrounds. So apply! I hope the tips will help you with your application.
Head of Economic Development, British Embassy Lima