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Continuing studying at postgraduate level is a big decision, not least because of the financial implications. Unlike with undergraduate studies there is currently no government loan system for funding a Master’s course, at least not yet. I just missed out on the government loans of up to £10,000 for postgraduates, which will be available for students during the 2016-17 academic year, so if you’re reading this as a potential student you’re in luck!

For me however, there was no postgraduate loan scheme and I was keen to look at my options and find out what financial support was available. One of the things that really attracted me to Bournemouth University was that, unlike the other universities I considered, they offered a range of scholarships for postgraduate study. I continued researching and found the scholarships page on the postgraduate section of BU’s website.

Olivia's-scholarshipI read through the options and found out that I was eligible to apply for a BU Dean’s Scholarship for the media school. This scholarship meant a 50% fee reduction and was awarded to four media students each year who demonstrated strong academic ability. I think the automatic reaction is to think “I’ll never get that” or “there’ll be so many applicants, I won’t stand a chance”. Despite convincing myself that I wouldn’t be successful I filled in the application form. I had to write in more detail about my academic record and explain why I felt I should be considered. It’s always difficult blowing your own trumpet, but the advice I’d give to anyone considering applying for an award like this is just not to be embarrassed and don’t worry about coming across as conceited. Celebrate your achievements!

I sent off my application and was surprised and delighted a few months later to learn I had been successful.  An award like this is not just a huge financial benefit, but also a big confidence boost. I felt that the university genuinely wanted me, and that my previous experience and qualifications were valued.

I would really encourage potential applicants to research the scholarships available and see what you are eligible for. Even with the new postgraduate loans system, continuing education is pricey. There’s really no harm in applying, you have nothing to lose, and potentially a lot of money to save and confidence to gain!

By Olivia Beazley