Ph.D. Scholarship Success Story
“Sorry, I don’t have space for you in my lab”, said a German Professor of a 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 from the world’s top 100 universities, and my aim to get a foreign Ph.D. scholarship and the confidence to qualify for the top 100 shattered many times.
I, Narjis Fatima, have done my BS in Biotechnology from the University of Karachi. After securing a first-class position in BS in my department and then competing with the whole faculty of science in the University for this, I was awarded two Gold medals. The title Double Gold Medalist made me, and it was assumed by many, that foreign scholarships for me would be a kid’s game. But then comes a bit more practical world, where research papers, publications, and conference proceedings are valued more than these merit certificates.
Just after my BS, I got admission for a Master’s in one of the best institutes in Pakistan. I was on top of the merit list and got the best advisor trained by Max Plank, who taught me insights into 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 developed research expertise, read more about my field, and presented myself at more than 5 international conferences. I was proud of my innovative project that I designed for a therapeutic cure of epithelial carcinomas. However, I considered all these efforts useless when I did not receive any positive response from foreign scientists. The mentors at ScholarDen Facebook asked me to take the General GRE and make my way to the USA. They advised me of many exchange programs that 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 when I had no interest in social life and was frustrated with my research as I had made 2 research synopses, and none was confirmed; my research was not giving results, and the path was like a dark tunnel for me. A few advisors were advising me to do a direct PhD from Pakistan and save time (which apparently they think will happen). Thanks to Almighty, somehow, I decided to get a Master’s degree first by putting all my efforts into pulling the ship out of the storm, regardless of thinking about what the future holds for me.
I managed to get a 307 GRE score despite the fact that I had practiced for it along with my institutional 9 to 5 responsibilities. And for this, ScholarDen, Facebook, and WhatsApp groups deserve appreciation. It was because of them that I managed to get awareness, material, sincere mentoring, and valuable advice, ALL FOR FREE.
Meanwhile, I was also applying for Direct admissions in countries other than the USA, including Germany, Switzerland, the UK, China, and Australia. In Australia, I applied for a Ph.D. at the University of Sydney and for a scholarship, Endeavors Scholarship Australia.
I jumped at every opportunity offered by any reputed university, and despite all rejections, I did not leave my aim to get enrolled in at least one of the Top 100 universities in my field. People like Dr. Ayaz and Scholar Den Founder Faisal Khan are worth mentioning here as they helped me find the best universities in the USA. Because of these sincere mentors and my non-stop efforts, I got admission to one reputed university in the USA, along with a few in the UK, China, and Germany. But all have certain financial constraints and other limitations. I was considering Australia but got a rejection from the 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 the 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. An interesting thing is the University in which I got selected ranks 47th in the world. I had been rejected from the Top 100, including world 70th and 80th ranking universities, and finally got a scholarship from the Top 50. So, that’s what you get if you believe in yourself.
For new applicants and dreamers of foreign education, I would advise you on a few things.
- Remember, success is achieved after gaining experiences from failures; a chick cannot see the world without breaking its shell. We have to break many barriers, bear 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 who are jealous of 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 the 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.