Scholarship Education: What it’s like getting screwed over a fake scholarship

By Nvulane Nhlapo (@NvulaneNhlapo)

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash
Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash

I’m about to tell a tale I’ve never told before.

I’m about to show people what it’s actually like to be screwed up over a bogus scholarship. Not so fake but also not so real.

I’m also going to tell people why I’m honestly at peace with the dirty deed that befell me and how a failure-to-success story could be turned into an education in scholarship scams.

Let’s begin. Upon graduation towards the end of 2015, two ladies and I were conferred with awards for the best performing students from our respective faculties at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Lesotho campus.

The awards for excellence were packaged with a full scholarship to pursue a master’s degree of our choosing at Limkokwing HQ in Malaysia.

As the announcement was made, there was a feeling of anticipation. It was physical, like something was about to tear wide open. Maybe. It was a deep fried goodness. Possibly.

This is amazing, right? In theory, sure.

The problem is that the badge of honour doesn’t mean anything – but everybody thinks it does.

In March 2016, we followed up on the scholarships promise and were handed our scholarship letters. The details were quite clear and updated. The scholarship would only cover our tuition and accommodation fees. Fees from flight fees to living expenses were upon us. It wasn’t much of a surprise because we knew somehow this is the sad reality of how things are run.

So we were passionate and wanted in. The sketchy details on how we would raise money to cover the rest of the fees didn’t bother much.

We liaised with an office designated to help us enrol for our master’s degrees at the Lesotho campus. We got started on the process with the intake date projected for June 2016.

Part of the application process included completion of superfluous medical tests which were mandatory and had to form part of our application. This became phase one of forking our cash. We did our best and completed our application process and handed in our accompanying documents.

With a smile, we were told that our university applications would be relayed to Malaysia for processing and we should stay put. The oral assurance was convincing and so the wait began.

I wouldn’t say we waited and waited and waited. That’s just too much waiting. But it was clear we were caught up in the waiting game. No feedback. No update. Nothing. Nada.

Nevertheless, I waited as long as I could endure but the wait seemed out of the ordinary.

I took it upon myself to go out of the ordinary to find out what was going on. This time, I contacted the headquarters right away.

And sadly the email was nothing I expected. Nobody knew a thing about our applications. Something had gone wrong. LUCT is a big bureaucracy, and mistakes and lost files happen.

The verdict was that we had to start over the application process. And I did. It was June already and the hopes were for the next available intake.

We’ll continue the story on the next post but we got to dive in on some tips.


On Scholarship Education

One of the signs of a scholarship scam is claims that they’ll do all the work for you. It takes a lot of time to apply for scholarships. This is a process and no one can avoid it. If they promise to do all the work for you, then you’re likely getting caught in a trap.

Applying for scholarships usually entails a fair amount of work that only you can do – writing about yourself and filling out personal information. Most importantly, after the work you’ve put in, you need to get a confirmation that your application has been submitted. This will mostly be via email. Oral assurance will likely not hold.

Do not depend entirely on an agent even if they claim to have enough experience to take you through the whole application process.

Don’t get me wrong, agents will always have all the information concerning the application process in their office. Even better, they will be able to assist you in your language. However, the agent’s work can be limited and they might have to prioritize. Nepotism, elitism, and corruption could also come into play.

You should always try to have a better grasp of your application process and what you need to do next. It will help you grow up and get experience on similar processes as you will face them again in the future. Careful research is key to successful applications.

Be cautious and don’t fall prey of fraudulent agents with no authorisation to undertake your university or scholarship application process.

At the end, applying through an agent doesn’t necessarily guarantee you success with your scholarship or university application.