Securing a scholarship or bursary to aid with the financial aspects of university can be life-changing and it certainly was for me. I receive the Marsden Scholarship and it has helped me in many ways. I can fund my studies and all the items I need for my studies, this has been more crucial than ever with the majority of university lectures, tutorials, and practicals being online through Zoom, the right hardware is required, and this can be costly. It also helps with the small things that all mount up: kitchenware breaking, the cost of using college washing machines, and Junior Common Room (JCR) costs all of which I did not budget for originally. Most importantly it has really helped my mental health, I am not constantly worrying about my financial situation and instead can enjoy university and all the opportunities it affords me.
Finding the Right Scholarship
Durham University offers a wide range of scholarships and bursaries through alumni donations and partnerships with organisations, there are also external opportunities outside of the ones Durham University offers and there is a database of a selection of these, these options can be found on the Durham University website.
I started my search through the Durham University website, I highly recommend this as each scholarship has an in-depth description with all the key information such as application dates and eligibility, this clarity made finding the right one for me easy and intuitive.
Eligibility is a very important thing to start thinking about, identify which categories you fit into and then search for scholarships pertaining to those categories. There is an extensive range of such categories for example: family income, area of study, minority groups, geographical, attended state school. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
I originally applied for the Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Scholarship. Once I had received my Durham University offer through UCAS I put together a personal statement describing my financial circumstance, how the scholarship would help me, and my interest in science and especially science at Durham University. Along with this, I provided a character reference from my teacher and a copy of my Student Finance England assessment letter. Applying was easy and the scholarship staff were so helpful during the whole process.
A month or so later I received an email informing me I was unable to be offered the Women in STEM scholarship and instead had been placed on a reserve list. Then a month after that I received another letter informing me I was to be offered the Marsden scholarship. So, do not be discouraged if you are put on any waiting lists and remember there so many different scholarships and if you are eligible, apply.
What Happens Next
Once I had confirmed the scholarship and started my studies at Durham, I was asked to write a letter for my scholarship donor introducing myself and giving them some information about my course and how the scholarship will help my future as a Durham student, this was forwarded on to my donor through the university. From there my responsibilities are to follow the terms and conditions of my scholarship and at the end of every academic year, I provide an annual report on how the scholarship has helped me.
This scholarship has helped my time at Durham greatly and my experience would not be the same without it.
Find out more
Download our latest prospectus here.