It has been a few months since the deadline for the scholarship applications. I don’t remember now if I got a call or an e-mail. But it was Luis, saying that to advance to the next part of my application, he will need to set-up an interview with me. Their office was in Canada so I took the call late at night, in my office. I was so happy, because I was already prepared to receive a rejection notice. It was almost past the date they said they would announce the screening results, after all. At the same time, I was so nervous. Take note that at this point I already lost the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, so the pressure on me was off-the-roof. “I made it to an interview. I need to get this scholarship no matter what”. This was all that’s running through my head as I practiced how to tell Luis why I deserve the scholarship, my plans of going back to the Philippines, how I’m basically the perfect candidate for them.
So then came the Skype call. Luis was unexpectedly friendly. He asked me about my plans, the details of what I was going to study, why I wanted to go to Europe. I answered as I had rehearsed. I am not sure if the shaking in my voice was audible through Skype. At the end, he then said…” Actually, this call is just to inform you that you have gotten the scholarship.” At this point I lost it. I don’t think I have ever wanted something as bad as this. And I couldn’t believe that I actually got it. I don’t know how many thank you’s I said to him that night. He talked about some more technicalities after that, but I was already screaming internally.
When he put the phone down, I screamed externally. It was ecstasy, and all I can say was “thank you”. And up to this moment, I say thank you, GSEP. Although the partnership may have its own agenda for starting the ESED scholarship, I am still grateful. You have no idea how this really is an opportunity of a lifetime for me. You are one of my inspirations. I want to do really well so that at the end of each semester, when I send Luis my grades, he will be proud of me, and know that their investment did not go to waste.
So, what exactly is GSEP and the ESED scholarship?
The Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) is a non-profit organization composed of a group of electric companies from across the world. They have several development projects. One of them is the Education for Sustainable Energy Development (ESED) Scholarship Program. It started in 2001 with the aim of supporting postgraduate students from developing countries. Scholars will have to pursue a track on sustainable energy, and must be geared towards serving their country.
I think I got the scholarship because I was perfectly aligned with its goal. I wanted to pursue a career in Energy, and I wanted to do it in and for the Philippines. I submitted my application just a day before the deadline, but I think my desire came across in my Statement Form.
How do you apply for the ESED scholarship?
Everything is laid out in their website. Requirements include the usual:
- Recommendation forms
I think it helped that one of my recommendation letters came from a sorority sister. She knew me very well: personally, professionally, and character-wise. I also oriented her on what the scholarship and the program I was applying for were about. Thus, the resulting recommendation was very genuine, but at the same time well-targeted for GSEP.
- Motivation essay in the form of an Applicant’s Statement Form
Here you have to answer questions about your studies, yourself, and how this is connected to what GSEP wants to achieve.
- Admission to a university
I believe this is negotiable, but it is best that you already have a sure program to go into before applying. You will need to talk about this in your motivation essay, and will also have to submit a detailed copy of the curriculum once you receive the scholarship
I would say that the best strategy is to make everything in your application purposeful. There are around 1,000 applicants globally, and only less than 10 are selected. Stand out by being as concrete, concise, and sincere as possible. You should relay clearly what you have already done in the past that makes you deserving (specific projects handled, work results, etc.). You should also lay down exactly what you plan on doing with and after the scholarship (positions you want to take after 5/10 years, projects you want to pursue, etc.). I think this makes the application more personal, compared to using big, flowery, Ms. Universe-type answers.
Finally, if you don’t get the scholarship in the end, it is fine. Believe me. It doesn’t mean that you are incompetent or less of a person than the others. I have self-funded classmates who have impeccable character and work-ethic, with impressive experience and expertise. Sometimes it makes me wonder how come they weren’t awarded with scholarships, when they clearly deserve it. Not getting a scholarship simply means that you didn’t get it. Maybe there are quotas per degree or per country. Some of the applicants may have more urgent needs than you. Perhaps it’s just not the right time for you. It doesn’t matter. Improve your application and then continue looking for other scholarships, or try again next year. Do not lose heart.
If you plan on pursuing the ESED scholarship, do your best! You can connect with me on LinkedIn if you have any questions. ♦
Screens grabbed from: GSEP-ESED Website