Most students dream of securing a bursary to help alleviate the financial burden that comes with tertiary education, particularly in tough economic times. Moreover, there are a very limited number of bursaries available, so students need to be on top of their game, and make sure they put their best foot forward when applying to stand out from the crowd.

The Sasol Foundation is inviting talented individuals to apply for one of its all-inclusive bursaries, but competition is fierce, and the energy giant needs to cherry-pick from hundreds of applications from across the country. 

Applying for a bursary isn’t too different than applying for a job. In both instances, applicants are asking a company to believe in them and invest resources in their future. It is up to the applicants to convince the company that they are worth investing in.

Sasol Foundation offers students the following key tips on how to approach their applications for a bursary:

  1. Apply early

The most important tip is to apply well in advance. Many bursaries have a lengthy process, involving several interviews and tests which will need to be completed before a decision is made. Applying early gives you enough time to gather the relevant information and adequately prepare.

  1. Understand what is covered

Make sure you understand the terms of the bursary, including what is covered and what isn’t. This might include whether or not finance needs to be reapplied for, or if it will automatically be renewed, whether or not transport and living expenses are included, what the terms are following completion of the bursary, and whether early withdrawal means you would need to pay it back.

  1. Research the organisation

It is also important to do some research on the entity you are applying to. Gain a good understanding of what their values are, and why you would want to join them. Further to this point, think of questions they are likely to ask you, and any you might want to ask them. This will help you to get ‘interview-ready’.

  1. Understand the requirements

It is also crucial to ensure you understand exactly what the requirements are, what you will need to submit to qualify for the bursary, and ensure you have certified copies of any important information the company requires. Any Commissioner of Oaths can certify documents, as well as all local police stations.

  1. Have the correct information

It is key to include reachable contact details, including a phone number and email address, that you plan to be using into the foreseeable future. Too often a company has been interested in an applicant, only to find that their contact details are out of date, and they cannot be contacted.  Sometimes this is due to human error such as a spelling mistake, or sometimes they have changed cellular providers, or are using an email address that is rarely checked. It is also a good idea when emailing an application, to cc yourself in that email to make sure you have entered the details correctly.

  1. Be professional

Finally, don’t forget that the organisation you have applied to could contact you at any time. Be sure you are ready, and always answer the phone in your most professional manner, as it could be the company calling to set up an interview.