Help! I’m Too Late For Chevening

You’re not! You’ve got until Tuesday to submit your application to do a fully-funded Masters in the UK, starting September 2019. If you’re successful, you’ll be in great company. Some well-known Zimbabwe Chevening alumni include academic Alex Magaisa, deputy chief secretary presidential communications George Charamba, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and National Gallery curator Raphael Chikukwa.

By the British Embassy in Harare

In the last few weeks, the British embassy has spoken about Chevening on radio in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare. We’ve also run workshops to help you come up with a winning application.

If you missed these, don’t panic. With only FOUR DAYS to go before deadline, we’re giving you answers to 10 of the most frequently-asked questions about the Chevening process. We wish you a steady hand, the ability to see the great things you’ve already done – and the confidence to show you have your future plotted out. Here goes!

Where do I apply for Chevening? This in an online process. Go to chevening.org/apply. You can get there through chevening.org/Zimbabwe too. This is a slightly longer way to get to the same form.

But don’t I have to come for a face-to-face interview? All in good time. Once you’ve submitted your application (before deadline, of course), a first sift will happen in the UK. If you get through that successfully, you’ll be called for a face-to-face interview at the British embassy in Harare.

Why do you ask for two years’ work experience when jobs are very hard to come by? We’re aware of that and we allow for it. When we say two years’ work experience, we are happy for you to include internships (including those that were part of your degree) and volunteer work as part of your two year total. You’ll need to spell this out clearly in your application.

I’ll finish my undergraduate degree within the next few months. I’d like to apply for Chevening now so that I can move straight on to my Masters. Short answer: afraid you can’t. You need to have already graduated when you apply. If Chevening is part of your plan (and we’re glad it is), we suggest that you plot your coming months carefully as you wait for the next application round to begin. Get work experience, volunteer, find out more about courses in the UK, talk to past Cheveners.

I’d like to apply for a Masters that has absolutely nothing to do with the undergrad course I did. Can I? You can – but you’ll need to tell us why. Perhaps you studied education but your real passion is for nutrition and that’s what you want to do your Masters in. Maybe you’ve got a small start-up helping market natural produce. Or you run a children’s club at the school you’re working in to encourage healthy eating. These are the kind of concrete details you need to include in your application so that you can build a convincing story for your case.

The application form says I have to pick three universities in the UK. Do I need to prove that I’ve got a firm offer of a place from these institutions? Not at this stage. Make sure you know why you’ve picked those universities (Their reputation in your chosen field? Something about the city the university is in?). We strongly recommend that you contact those universities now or very soon (and certainly before you come for interview). You may be offered a place conditional on you being awarded a Chevening scholarship.

I didn’t get a First class degree. Can I still apply? Yes. We look for leaders. That doesn’t mean you have to have been given the highest score possible for your degree. Many of our candidates have a 2:1. But successful candidates from Zimbabwe have had 2:2s. Some have had 3rds.

I’ve got a great academic record and I want to go to the UK because my family is already there. Isn’t that a good enough reason for applying? No. You need to show us why – with concrete examples – you deserve to get a Chevening award. What have you already done that shows you have initiative in your field or that shows you are a leader? Don’t forget that ALL Chevening scholars have to come back to Zimbabwe after their course is finished. You will need to commit to staying in Zimbabwe for two years after the completion of your course.

I’m way older than 35. Can I still apply? There is no age limit. Ages of successful candidates vary. We’ve had a scholar from Zimbabwe who was 23. And one who was 50. We are looking for those who’ll shine when they’re back in Zimbabwe – and who are determined to give back to their country in practical ways.

Any tips on writing styles for the application form? Clarity, clarity, clarity. Short sentences. Evidence of clear thought processes will always impress. Use concrete examples to illustrate your point. Draft your answers first. Ask a friend (better still, a Chevening scholar or alumni) to read through your drafts and give feedback. He or she may see holes in your thinking or grammatical errors.

 It’s a wrap! Good luck. Here’s hoping we see you for your Chevening interview soon.