October 31, 2018, by International students

Top tips for Chevening applicants

By Deborah Braide, a Chevening Scholar from Nigeria, with contributions from other Chevening Scholars at Nottingham. This was adapted from a longer blog available here.

Hi, I’m Debbie… I’m from Nigeria and I’m studying Msc Sustainable Energy and Entrepreneurship at the University of Nottingham.  I also run a social enterprise for women and youth in STEM, civic leadership and sustainability. I am passionate about driving impact and action through people, ideas, and community.

Getting the Chevening Scholarship to fund my studies in the UK was a dream come true for me and a life changing moment. In this post I share some tips I hope will help you put together a good application to increase your chances of being selected for the scholarship. There are a few key components of your Chevening application and I will be highlighting each of them. I have also asked a few friends of mine who are also Chevening scholars to include their comments and you will find them quoted in this post!

As you embark on the process, first you need to understand the spirit of the Chevening scholarships so you can put in the best application possible.

What exactly is Chevening all about?

Chevening is the UK Government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations, Chevening offers two types of award – Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships – the recipients of which are personally selected by British embassies and high commissions throughout the world. With an alumni community of 50,000 individuals, the highly prestigious Chevening Scholarship programme has produced leaders across the world in various sectors.

“Chevening is a partnership, show what you offer as a partner and how what the Chevening scholarship offers will help you achieve a shared goal (read about their programs in your country)” – Noor Mousa, Iraq

Completing your Chevening application

 The Chevening Scholarship programme for the year 2019/2020 is open for applications.  The application deadline is 6 November 2018.   The final deadline to complete the process is 11 July 2019.


At the point of application, Chevening will require you to list 3 universities and courses in order of preference. Make sure you can demonstrate passion and a connection between your course choices, your professional experiences and your future career plans when writing about this in your essays.

“Make sure you choose the right course that will support your career and professional development. Take your time to check out the course details. Read about the modules, course entry requirement, fees, and make sure it is a taught course! If you are applying for an MBA, be aware of the Chevening scholarship cap (currently 18,000 GBP for MBAs). If your MBA course fee is higher than the indicated amount, you will need to pay the balance. Try to apply for tuition scholarships from the school as soon as possible.” – Nguyen Thi Phương Thao, Vietnam


This is where Chevening gets to interact with you at first instance to try to understand you as an individual, assess your motivations, leadership potential and the potential impact you would make in your country as a result of the opportunity the scholarship brings.

This may be stated in every application advice column but I cannot stress how important it is to be original. Chevening is more likely to appreciate a well put together original line of thought. Also, do not plagiarise and don’t include any lies. Your essays should reflect strong passion and vision. Maintain consistency and good flow. Be clear, concise and specific. When writing about your work, do not just write vaguely but show your impact in numbers.

“Spare time to finish the 4 essays. Try to complete and focus on one essay before moving to the next one. If you get stuck, find essay forums or other Chevening scholars group to get enlightenment.” – Andina Dwi Kanti Setyaningrum, Indonesia

“Remember that you only have one chance to make a good first impression and these four essays are your opportunity to tell Chevening you are the candidate they are looking for!!! Take a lot of time drafting and proofreading your essays! Keep in mind that reaching the interview stage is the most difficult part considering that you only have 500 words in each essay to prove you are the ideal candidate! Pick your best examples and don’t try to tell your whole story in the essays. It will make it confusing! Choose two or three examples and work deep in them!” – Dariela Valdes, Cuba

“Mention specific examples in the essays that show your role and the impact you have done. Also, take some time after finishing the application to reflect on your writing for editing purposes.” – Sondos Alqutati, Palestine

“Be succinct and honest. Do not write something you do not understand. Be genuinely honest about your experience, you may want to exaggerate but do it in a very nice and light way.” – Andina Dwi Kanti Setyaningrum, Indonesia


2018-19 Chevening scholars at the University of Nottingham

“References are important, do not underestimate the impact they have on the overall assessment of your application. Therefore, choose your referees wisely and strategically and also ensure that your references not only corroborate your achievements but also gives the assurance that you are a future leader destined for great things.” – Stacey Weever, Guyana


Hopefully, this post helps you prepare a winning application. However, reach out to former scholars and people in your network to help you review your essays.

“One of the key skills Chevening is looking for is Networking! Use yours and get involved with other applicants, scholars, alumni, colleagues! I always tell people, when I started to apply for Chevening I did not know a single person who knew about Chevening or scholarships at all and I still put together a successful application thanks to many scholars and applicants as me who helped me without knowing me. By the time I got the scholarship I had already met most of the applicants of this year who later became my fellow Cheveners!” – Dariela Valdes, Cuba

Applications for Chevening Scholarships in 2019/20 close on 6 November 2018. Find out more on our website and the Chevening website.

Posted in Scholarships