The cost of attending graduate school in a program like MMF is steep. Tuition alone can be the equivalent of an annual salary (>CA$56,000), along with incidental fees. Add to that the cost of living in a major urban centre like Toronto for a year or more. Many students apply for scholarships in the hope of earning financial support while they attend graduate school.
We asked Prithvi Rosunee (MMF 2023), an international student from Mauritius, to share his story of being awarded a prestigious scholarship offered by his local Ministry of Education.
Prithvi was on the lookout for scholarships from the moment he received his Notice of Acceptance from MMF in April 2022. He was seeking financial aid primarily because of the prevailing economic situation in Canada: Inflation was high and interest rates were rising. Consequently, the Mauritian rupee had depreciated, relative to the Canadian dollar. That made the MMF tuition fees even more expensive for him.
“I had applied for a couple others before I got lucky with this one,” he said, referring to the Post Graduate State Scholarship offered by the Mauritian Ministry of Education.
Luck was only part of the equation. This state scholarship is open to all students who are pursuing a post-graduate degree. To be eligible, students need to be either currently attending, or have already secured a seat in, a master’s program. Chosen candidates have their tuition fees paid in full and receive a monthly allowance.
Prithvi’s application was judged on his high school and undergraduate academic performance, as well as on the strength of a 500-word essay where he was asked to sum up what he wanted to achieve in the MMF program, and how earning this degree would advance his career.
Eight months later, in early December 2022, Prithvi received an email announcing he had been awarded the scholarship. “I thought I had a good chance of getting it,” he says, “but it was still a pleasant surprise when I got the email.”
The scholarship is helpful in many ways. Prithvi doesn’t need to constantly worry about fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. And the financial security gives him peace of mind, allowing him to fully concentrate on his studies. That’s important, because MMF must report back to the Mauritian Ministry of Education about his academic achievement and personal conduct at the end of each semester.
When asked what advice he would give others who are seeking scholarships, he focused on the application questions that are typically asked, such as, why are you applying for this award? Or, where do you see yourself in a few years? Crafting a response can be difficult, because your answer must resonate with a group of people who are judging you based solely on how you appear on paper.
“This may seem obvious, but it’s important to be yourself,” Prithvi says. “If you wish to stand out, then don’t try to be something you’re not. You don’t want to sound disingenuous.”