How to Apply for a Scholarship

Copyright: Piotr_Marcinski /

Regardless of whether you have to pay student fees or not, studying is expensive and usually costs more than you can earn working part time. Rent, food, transport – even if this does come with student discount – books and other necessary materials all have to be paid for. One way of covering at least some of these costs is to apply for a scholarship. Anyone who thinks that scholarships are just for the top students is very much mistaken. Here is an overview of the most common scholarships for both German and international students and how to apply for them.

Lots of scholarships are financed by political parties, large corporations and companies, societies, sports or political organizations and even the Protestant or Catholic churches. Candidates are not simply selected based on their grades. The economic situation of the applicant is also taken into consideration. Furthermore, ability, social commitments, or overcoming particularly difficult family or personal circumstances are also decisive criteria.

Find Out Which Scholarships are Relevant to Your Situation

There is a wide range of scholarships on offer. For example, scholarships for gifted women, for people who are in employment but didn’t take Abitur exams (equivalent to High School Graduation), for trainee teachers, prospective journalists or engineers. Some scholarships support students just beginning their degree course, while some are reserved for Bachelor’s or Master’s students. Furthermore, there are also special doctoral scholarships and additional funding available for students from specific countries, and even regional funding programs that are linked to the Stuttgart area.

Finding the Right Organization

Once you have found a scholarship relevant to your situation, you then have to find out whether those funding the scholarship are also right for you. For example, the Heinrich Böll Foundation places great importance on applicants that show social commitment and have an interest in politics when awarding their scholarships. It is also important that applicants take the time to find out about the values of the sponsor, so in this case, ecology, sustainability, democracy, human rights, free will and justice.

Be Aware of Application Deadlines

When you have found a scholarship that suits your situation, interests and skills, the next step is to submit your application. Most scholarships have two application deadlines each year. These are usually March/April and September/October. But these deadlines must be checked for each individual case. Any students interested in applying are usually required to submit their applications using a special application portal. More information about this can be found on the relevant organization’s homepage. Once you have submitted your application, it is subject to a series of selection processes, in order to find the most suitable applicants. But don’t worry, what first appears to be a tough battle for a scholarship often isn’t as difficult as it seems. Many scholarships are not even awarded due to the low number of applicants. That is why it is important not to be put off by having to write a cover letter or go through the selection process.

How to Prepare an Online Application

Before submitting your application it is important to first compile all the necessary documents and ideally convert these into a PDF document. These should include: a reference from your employer, proof of any social commitments, Abirtur certificate, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree certificate if applicable, and sometimes a sample of your work and a cover letter are also required. Once you have done all that, it is time to open the application portal and get started.

Here is an overview of some of the different scholarships available:

Overview of scholarships from the University of Stuttgart

Gradus for doctoral students


Foundations in the fields of electrical engineering and information technology at the University of Stuttgart

Doctoral scholarship pursuant to the Landesgraduiertenförderungsgesetz 

Graduate and research school “Efficient Use of Energy” Stuttgart (GREES )





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