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Part 2: Applying for the Chevening Scholarship (Essay Tips)

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

This serves as Part 2 of the Chevening Tips, in the event that you would like insight in as far as what is Chevening and an overall insight on what is required to apply, kindly have a look at Part 1: Applying for the Chevening Scholarship (FAQ).

Applying for the Chevening Scholarship Series

Three Years a Charm: Becoming a Chevening Scholar

Part 1: Applying for the Chevening Scholarship (FAQ)

Part 2: Applying for the Chevening Scholarship (Essay Tips)

Disclaimer: Note that the advice given here below is my own personal opinion and not that of the Chevening Secretariat or the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

When applying for the Chevening Scholarship, you will be required to submit four written essays, each a minimum of 100 words and a maximum of 500 words.

Quick Tips on how to write your 4 Chevening Essays:

  • When writing your essays, use the STAR and SMART approach.

  • Ensure that you cover the bases in each of your essays, mentioning the most important elements.

  • Your essays have to be truthful, concise, and well-written.

  • Ensure that you tell a story when writing your essays, you can add bullet points to list achievements and highlight career goals however there should be a flow.

  • Ensure that any stranger can make out what you are trying to say, making it clear what you are talking about. When making references to data or situations from your home country, be sure to mention the country's name.

  • Refrain using words like our and their, and opt to name what you are talking about.

  • Use Grammarly to spell check your work and ensure that your grammar is correct.

STAR Approach - Derived from Muse

  • Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.

  • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.

  • Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.

  • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

SMART Approach - Derived from CFI

  • Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous.

  • Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress toward the accomplishment of the goal.

  • Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve.

  • Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose.

  • Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.

Leadership and Influence

Chevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer. - Question as per the Chevening Website

Using the methods explained above (STAR AND SMART Approach), ensure that you speak on the times you have depicted leadership traits, the leadership positions you have occupied and the times you have displayed a position of influence. These can range from managerial positions, leadership in organizations (NGO's included), or in your day-to-day life. In addition, you can touch on what leadership ambitions you have and how this ties back to your community.

It is important to ensure that the examples are impact-driven and not only for self-gain.


Chevening is looking for individuals with strong professional relationship-building skills, who will engage with the Chevening community and influence and lead others in their chosen profession. Please explain how you build and maintain relationships in a professional capacity, using clear examples of how you currently do this, and outline how you hope to use these skills in the future. - Question as per the Chevening Website

Writing your networking essay is primarily about showing clear examples of the relationships you have built, how they were established, and how you have managed to maintain them. In addition, highlight how these said relationships have been instrumental in your personal development and the work that you do. Ensure that you are able to glean from every example the skill acquired and how these skills will be useful to you in the future as a possible Chevening scholar. This essay, in essence, is to show that you have the ability to use the opportunities given to you in a tangible and impactful manner.

Career Plan

Chevening is looking for individuals who have a clear post-study career plan. Please outline your immediate plans upon returning home and your longer-term career goals. You may wish to consider how these relate to what the UK government is doing in your country. - Question as per Chevening Website

This essay provides an opportunity for you to layout an immediate 2-year plan, and a 5 to 10-year plan. Your plans need to be attainable and should speak to your ambitions as laid out in your career plan. The most important tip for when writing out your career plan, is to ensure that when you touch on your professional experience, it not be written as though it is a Curriculum Vitae but rather speaking on impact, journey, and career trajectory. You too are welcome to link your journey thus far, to how this informs your next career move, namely pursuing a masters degree. You should depict an understanding of what you want to do in the future, how this is tangibly attainable, and what your ambitions are long term.

Studying in the UK

Outline why you have selected your chosen three university courses, and explain how this relates to your previous academic or professional experience and your plans for the future. Please do not duplicate the information you have entered on the work experience and education section of this form. - Question as per the Chevening Website

Do not duplicate your career essay in this essay, however, you can link the information. You will also be required to list the three universities you will be applying to, the name of the courses at the said universities, and why you chose the particular university.

Tip: Depending on which course you intend to study, google the top-performing universities in the said field to inform your university choice. Then ensure that the universities you would like to attend are Chevening partner universities, before finalizing your list of your three chosen universities.

Bonus: I have asked three scholars who have managed to successfully be chosen for Chevening before to assist with proofreading 3 prospective scholars essays before submission. Kindly note that these will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. This available to a total of 9 prospective scholars and no more. Only the 9 successful prospective scholars will be contacted. If you are not contacted, unfortunately, the 9 spots were already taken.

To get your essays proofread - please fill in the form at the link here.

(Available to ONLY the first 9 applicants)

Proofreading volunteer scholars (each reading 3 prospective scholars essays EACH)

Rosalia Shiimi - Rosalia holds a BSc Honours Degree in Geology and a Certificate in Investment Management from the University of Cape Town. She is currently the Acting Grade Control Geologist at Vedanta Zinc International’s Gamsberg Operation. She is a part of the 2021/2022 Chevening cohort, pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Environment Geology at Cardiff University.

Abel is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and former Head of Internal Audit. He holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science and Postgraduate Diploma in Internal Auditing. In addition, he too is a Section Chairperson and Branch Executive member in SPYL and serve on the NCCI Windhoek Trading Committee. He will be pursuing a Master of Arts in International Relations at the University of Birmingham.

Hilja Eelu - Hilja is a UCT molecular biology graduate and a previous recipient of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship. Having been awarded both the Chevening and Commonwealth scholarship, she will be pursuing the MSc Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine starting September 2020, thanks to the Commonwealth scholarship.

To get your essays proofread - please fill in the form at the link here.

(Available to ONLY the first 9 applicants)

Additional Reading Material

From One Powerhouse to another

With Love,


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Jul 22, 2021

Thank you so much for your great effort. I have got tons of ideas after reading your tips and essay prompts. You are really amazing one. Love you from Myanmar

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