Last week, the Swedish Institute published the successful recipients of the Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals. First of all, congrats to all the winners, particularly those who will start their journey at KTH later this year! Your Swedish adventure is about to begin, and this is truly very exciting.
However, I’d like to address this post to those who didn’t find themselves on the scholarship recipients list this year. Rejection is always hard, especially if you put a lot of effort into getting it. And I’m not just saying this from the perspective of a current scholar — I’ve been in your shoes, too. Prior to getting two full-ride scholarships to study in Europe, including SISGP, I received 8 rejections during two years of trying.
So I’d like to share with you the lessons I’ve learned and some practical information that can help you get to your goal of studying in Sweden.
Analyse your application and big idea
If you’ve applied to SISGP, you should have some kind of a problem that you want to solve or at least contribute to solving with the help of the knowledge, skills and network you get in Sweden. The first step is to analyse your application and how you’re willing to solve that problem, aka your big idea. Is your concept specific enough? Did you make it clear to the selection committee how this master’s programme and the Swedish Institute, not just the money it provides, would help you to bring your idea to life? Did you make a great connection to that idea through all of your application documents, or do they resemble a number of random papers under your name? These are crucial questions to look for answers for. And you don’t have to do it yourself: reach out to your friends, coworkers, mentors, and maybe even former successful scholars. LinkedIn and social media groups are your friends to help you find the right people.
Work on your profile
SISGP aims to develop future global leaders and to compete for the scholarship, you have to demonstrate your leadership potential. Fortunately, there are many ways to do so that you can add to your CV and other application documents. As I already told you in one of my previous posts, ideally, your experience should be logical and consistent, making this scholarship another point on the roadmap of your story. For example, your big idea is connected to SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities, and you’re interested in studying Sustainable Urban Planning and Design at KTH. But the question is, what have you done before applying to the scholarship that would bring you closer to reaching your big idea? How can you demonstrate your interest in this field from a global leadership perspective? My big idea was connected to gender equality. After the first year of not getting SISGP, I realised that I might lack experience in this field. So, during the next year, I participated in several summer schools and online projects connected to the area of my interest so that I could prove this topic is important to me. And apart from receiving more profound knowledge of the current issues, I was also able to broaden my global network, which is extremely valuable for the potential scholar profile. So the key input here is to think of what you can do before applying for the next year to strengthen your profile for the selection committee.
And the final and the most essential tip…
Don’t give up!
When it comes to your dream, I firmly believe that if you’re motivated enough, “no” is just a postponed “yes”. It might sound trivial, but I know many people who received 10+ rejections before getting their dream scholarship. I became certain that it’s about resilience, perseverance, and significant effort to correct mistakes. If you’re sure that Sweden is the place for you to be, keep pushing, and you will definitely reach the goal.
I hope you find this post helpful, and if you have any questions about the SI scholarship, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below, and I’ll make sure to answer them.