Starting as a failure.

Failure can be crushing, but it is always important that we pick ourselves up and try to carry on. Here, student ambassador Bao Tran tells us how despite some rejections, he tried his hardest and secured a scholarship to study at UL.

One fact: I lost a few scholarships due to my own failure and failed a lot when I reapplied. But here I am, studying a major I have always been dying to study.

A new year sparks a new beginning. This blog today is dedicated to inspiring people who are on their path to fulfil the dream of studying abroad, especially in Ireland. I do not want to call this as sharing tips because I simply think I am not smart or intelligent enough to advise anyone on securing a scholarship place. I just want to share my experience and encourage like-minded people out there not to give up on their dreams and do their best to achieve their goals. 


So, despite all the hardship we all went through in 2020, I was lucky enough to get a scholarship from the Irish government – the Government of Ireland’s International Education Scholarship (GOI-IES) – to study a Master’s degree program in Limerick. A little bit about my background:

  • Graduated from a Bachelor’s program in Law from a Dutch university with a mediocre GPA (not very high) compared to those receiving the same scholarship.
  • Some work experience as a research intern during my Bachelor’s studies.
  • And a few extracurricular activities.

Then, the question is: how did I get the scholarship? Well, I can give you this formula to write an inspiring and convincing motivation letter in spite of your low GPA (low here means around 7-7.5/10 or 2:2-2:1 Irish scale): R-O-W-A

First thing, be Relevant.

A scholarship committee does not want you to repeat what you have included in your CV. Just take a few examples and make them stand out in your letter by linking your education/experience/whatever you think is suitable to the program you’re applying for. Mention your strength and how you will develop yourself further by utilising the scholarship. 

Second thing, be Original.

Be yourself, do not try to be someone else. Write your own letter, you can read someone else’s letter to get some ideas but do not ever copy and rephrase his/her letter. Make it your own masterpiece. One important thing, do not try to use flamboyant or fancy words. Yes, it should be not too casual but using super formal words does not help you win a scholarship. Sometimes, it can backfire you because it may not be suitable for a certain context you are talking about. 

Third thing, be Wise.

Take a close look and carefully analyse the scholarship’s goals as well as details of the program you are applying for. What is the strength of the program that makes it stand out from other programs? Why this university in Ireland? Why Ireland? Ask yourself those questions and answer them. Formulate and connect those ideas to say what you can contribute to the scholarship community or the country in general after the program? Do not just apply for a university because it is one whose ranking is super high or one that is famous. Apply for one that is suitable for you and your career goals and one that you can tell the grant giver why they should grant you this scholarship.

Final thing, be Ambitious.

Don’t be afraid to tell them what you aim to get during and after the program. Be self-motivated but not too confident. Confidence is good but think about your ability. Try to have a concrete plan for your studies and career path. In that way, the scholarship committee knows that you are very serious in this and you are doing whatever you can to get this chance. 

So, these all are my experience and you can see that I am not a very outstanding applicant. But, what I had is my motivation, a clear plan for the future that I can show to the committee, my work spirit, and a look-forward attitude. Of course, if you have a high GPA and your profile is full of internships or traineeships with big companies, they will be your strong points on the CV. Yet, what matters here is what you are going to do with those achievements. Thus, to all people out there who have a not-too-high GPA or not-much work experience, do not be afraid to try and give your best. I am sure your hard work will pay off.

The Korean characters are ‘hwaiting’ and mean ‘do your best’.

Again, new scholarship calls are coming, I hope this will help you in finding a bit encouragement to combat against your fear and anxiety. Final words, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year and best of luck to your future study applications.


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