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Man who finally got Scholarship to Study Abroad after 10 attempts, Shares Lessons from his Mistakes

A Nigerian Man identified as Hammed Kayode Alabi who got at least 10 postgraduate scholarship rejections, has shared the lessons he learnt from his Mistakes as he finally bags numerous scholarships.

Kayode shared his story on a Facebook page called Headstart Africa Community w/John Obidi.

His story:

Winston Churchill once said that “Success is moving from failure to failure without losing your sense of enthusiasm”

I have seen many people share their scholarship rejection news and I know how it feels to be rejected. It’s always a painful moment but I hope you find hope in my rejection stories.

READ ALSO: “I had Over 30 Rejections before Gaining Admission into University of Texas,” says Nigerian 1st Class Graduate doing his PhD in US

I started applying to scholarships in August 2018 and every scholarship I applied to until August 2019 was rejected.

On February 25, 2019, after being longlisted for the Chevening Scholarship and asked to submit two references, I was served breakfast. I had boasted to my cousin that there is no way, I had been rejected. He said to prepare for the worse. I never did. I was trembling throughout the night that I submitted about four commonwealths shared applications that I was working on at the same time.

On February 1st, 2019, I received another rejection from the MasterCard Foundation at the University of Edinburgh to study Africa and International Development. The rejections were back to back.

April 10, 2019, I received the Commonwealth Scholarship rejection. The Federal Scholarship Board was the nominating agency. I was not nominated. I would save the story about this scholarship process for a later date.

On July 16th, 2019, I received 5 Commonwealth Shared Rejection emails. They came in at the same time. In between, I had gotten admission to all 5 schools. You could imagine, the work I had put into applying to those schools. I use free midnight data to work on my application every night. One school per midnight.

In April 2019, after University of Bristol convinced me to apply for their Think Big Scholarship that covers just tuition. I got rejected in two cycles. The other one came in July 2019.

In total, I had received 10 rejection emails from the scholarship process.

August 2019, things began to change. I got my first congratulatory email from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. My tuition was covered and got 11,000 pounds for living expenses.

I turned it down because I had just been accepted for the Peace First Fellowship-in-Residence programme. Great choice because I get to work with the best minds and support youth social change projects in more than 30+ Sub-Saharan countries.

I also deferred all my admission at the same time.

READ ALSO: Olaide Oludayo: LASU graduate who got Fully Funded Scholarship to US after 10 Rejections, Shares Photos as he Leaves the Country

I reapplied to MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at Edinburgh and Chevening Scholarship in 2019 and 2020, got into their interviews. I could recall my supervisor at Peace First Fish Stark saying that Hammed I believe in you. You will do well in the interview and followed it with a soaring recommendation letter.

I made both scholarships and I went for the MasterCard Foundation in Edinburgh to study Africa and International Development and to complement the work I was doing at Peace First and KLCI. I could recall being poached by some of those universities I had applied to. Some offered me partial scholarships but I was done.

What made my application better;

  1. I wasn’t fixated on the rejections. I kept doing my work. The truth is; they cannot pick everybody. If you are in their shoes, you will turn people down too. Just reflect on the process and be a better applicant next time.
  2. My rejections prepared me. I had known more about the scholarships and it helped in my interviews and crafting my essay statements.
  3. Let your why to be the centre of your application. If Japa (I.e, just want to travel out by all means) is your plan, it would show and that may be the cause of your rejection.
  4. Write from your heart. I was not being technical in my application. I was telling a story and narratives and it was consistent all through.
  5. Ask for help and let your close friends read your application and alumni or current scholars could prepare you for interviews or read your application too. Another perspective would help.
  6. Do not rush to submit. It’s not a sprint and nobody is awarding first to submit. Take your time and review until you feel you are confident to go.
  7. Ensure every word in your essay count. Don’t let sad stories dominate your essay that you forget to focus on how the story has inspired your work and what you do and have done and be optimistic about the future.

Rejections happen but they should not stop you from trying. Your time would come. As Victor Ugo said, “No force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.”

Hammed Kayode Alabi (c) 2022

I hope this graduation photo inspires you that your time will come.


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