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Recipe for a Successful Scholarship Application

A blog article from Summer School student Bushra Shakil.


5 min read

Learn how to design your Academic Director’s Scholarship application from someone who got it right!

I vividly remember jumping off the bed on Eid day when I received the scholarship email from LSE. I was beyond elated to be selected as one of the nine recipients of the merit-based Academic Director’s Scholarship that LSE offers under three categories for Summer School. The details can be found on LSE’s website but I hope you will find my discussion of my application journey useful.

After receiving my offer letter to attend LSE Summer School, I began preparing for the scholarship application which entails two very short essays: a statement of motivation of 300 words and an optional leadership-related anecdote of a hundred words if you have held such a position in your middle or high school.

One of the key things you need to highlight in your application is your excellence beyond the classroom, especially achievements that contribute to the overall wellbeing of society.

At the time of my application, I had worked with two fintech start-ups and had secured a runner-up position in a global, social business competition. I linked my professional experience with my achievement in an extra-curricular activity by mentioning how I dealt with agri-loans in both scenarios – agri-loans being a very socially beneficial product.

The point is, find a link that connects the different aspects of your life to build a cohesive story. Wherever possible, talk about the journey rather than just the destination. Don’t just state that you won a prize in a competition, briefly mention what you did to receive it.

You should also mention how the LSE Summer School course you have applied to, and the general experience, benefits you in the larger context of life – this is your chance to highlight your aspirations.

LSE Summer School courses are not only very well designed but they are also taught by esteemed faculties – read once again about the course(s) you have selected and talk about what excites you. The prospect of studying in a city like London or being a part of a classroom as diverse as that of LSE Summer School can also be experiences to look forward to.

Remember to also focus on your academic achievements because that is another important criterion for selection. Successful applications need to be well-rounded, touch upon the pointers provided by LSE, and lastly, express one’s utmost passion for one of the following three areas: Sustainability and Development, Responsible Leadership or Technology, Media & Society.

About 400 students apply for the Academic Director’s Scholarship every year which tells you how competitive it is. But that shouldn’t stop you from applying as well. However, don’t be disheartened if your application is not successful.

LSE Summer School provides a holistic experience – the lectures will equip you with in-depth knowledge about your subject; the Spark sessions will train you in how to develop professionally; and lastly, the social events will introduce you to some amazing individuals from all over the world. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience.


*Please note that Bushra’s description includes details of the 2022 application process that may be subject to variation for Summer School 2023.


This blog was written by one of our 2022 Student Ambassadors, who are here to share their stories and help you understand the summer school experience at LSE.