“Sorry, I don’t have space for you in my lab”, said a German Professor of renowned university ranking 70th in the world. “I can’t take you as you don’t suit our eligibility criteria”, replied a Swedish professor. “We don’t have scholarships for you”, emailed a Canadian fellow. I received numerous such emails from many scientists across the globe of world top 100 universities and my aim to get a foreign PhD scholarship and a confidence to qualify for top 100 shattered many times.

I, Narjis Fatima has done her BS in Biotechnology from University of Karachi. After securing first class first position in BS in my department and then competing the whole faculty of science in the University for this, I was awarded two Gold medals. The title Double Gold Medalist made me overwhelmed and it was assumed by many, that foreign scholarships for me would be a kids game. But, then comes a bit more practical world, where research papers, publications, conference proceedings are valued more than these merit certificates.

Just after my BS, I got admission for Masters in one of the best institute of Pakistan. I was on top of the merit list and got a best advisor trained from Max Plank who taught me insights of molecular biology. I did research on cancer and mitochondrial involvement in it. Due to some circumstances, he left and again I was left alone with no research proceedings which was necessary to prove myself in the foreign world. But, the struggle to get a good position continues. I had developed research expertise, read more on my field, and presented myself in more than 5 international conferences. I was proud on my innovative project that I designed for therapeutic cure of epithelial carcinomas. But I consider all these efforts useless when I did not receive any positive response from foreign scientists. The mentors at ScholarDen Facebook asked me to give General GRE and make a way to USA. They advised me many exchange programs which have tough criteria and for an average student like me, I considered them difficult to get. Also I was born free and want to live free, so I am afraid of these exchange programs and the contracts they make.

There was a time in my life where I had no interest in social life, frustrated from my research as I had made 2 research synopsis and none was confirmed, my research was not giving results and the path was like a dark tunnel for me. Few advisors were advising me to do direct PhD from Pakistan and save time (which apparently they think it will happen). Thanks to Almighty that somehow I decided to get Master’s degree first by putting all my efforts in pulling the ship out of the storm, regardless of thinking what future holds for me.

I managed to get 307 GRE score despite of the fact that I had practiced for it along with my institutional 9 to 5 responsibilities. And for this ScholarDen; Facebook and WhatsApp groups deserves appreciation. It was because of them, I managed to get awareness, material, sincere mentoring and valuable advices, ALL FOR FREE.

Meanwhile I was also applying for Direct admissions in countries other than USA, including Germany, Switzerland, UK, China and Australia. In Australia, I applied for PhD at University of Sydney, and for scholarship, Endeavors scholarship Australia.

I jumped at every opportunity offered by any reputed universities and despite of all rejections, I did not leave my aim to get enrolled in at least one of Top 100 universities in my field. People like Dr. Ayaz and Scholar Den Founder Faisal Khan are worth mentioning here as they had helped me in finding the best universities in USA. Because of these sincere mentors and my non-stop efforts, I got admission in one reputed university of USA along with few in UK, China and Germany. But all have certain financial constraints and other limitations. I was considering Australia but, got rejection from Endeavors scholarship program. Luckily, the experiences and guidance from ScholarDen in writing research proposals and Statement of Purpose worked this time. GRE subjective and GRE General scores acted as an additive factor and one of the professors at University of Sydney recommended my CV to an Emeritus professor of Sydney, and I was awarded the Australian Awards scholarship along with the University of Sydney fully funded IPRS. Interesting thing is the University in which I got selection ranks 47th in the world. I had been rejected from Top 100’s including world 70th and 80th ranking universities and finally got scholarship from Top 50. So, that’s what you get if you believe in yourself.

For new applicants and dreamers for foreign education, I would advise you few things.

  • Remember, success is achieved after getting experiences from failures, a chick cannot see the world without breaking its shell. We have to break many barriers, bare lots of social pressure and face lots of rejection before getting some suitable position.
  • Research is a bumpy road; you may face smooth platforms as well as jerky breaks. Never lose hope, always pray to Almighty for the best. Also, believe in yourself.
  • It’s always worth applying. Never lose any opportunity. Opportunity does not come again and again.
  • Do not follow every advice. People lie to you and there are many that are jealous from your accomplishments. Listen to everyone but act on what suits YOU the best.
  • Join scholar den! It’s a reliable group with sincere people having the aim to advise maximum students towards higher education in USA and other reputed countries. For GRE, they help in providing the finest advice as the mentors themselves are US educated and Fulbright Scholars. They guide students in all aspects of GRE Preparation.