Top tips for successful scholarship applications

Q: What are the Australia Awards and what can I study?
A: Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian Government. The awards provide citizens of Timor-Leste with the opportunity to obtain a qualification at an Australian tertiary institution.

Scholarships are available for the following levels of study:

  • Bachelor Degree
  • Postgraduate Certificate (Permanent Public Servants only)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (Permanent Public Servants only)
  • Master Degree
  • PhD

Q: Are there any short-term courses to study in Australia?
A: Short-term courses are not currently covered by the scholarship awards. They are for bachelor degrees, post graduate diplomas and certificates, masters and PHD’s apart from people with a disability, who have the option to study at an undergraduate, including diploma level.

Q: Who are the target groups?
A: Any citizen of Timor-Leste, however, we strongly encourage applications from women, people living with disability and people from rural areas (i.e. people from the traditionally disadvantaged groups). Please note that people who have recently returned from an Australia Awards Scholarship are excluded from applying for a period of time (please refer to the Australia Awards Policy Handbook for details).

Q: Am I eligible?
A: Please see the eligibility criteria listed on the “Am I eligible” page.

Q: I applied before but was unsuccessful. How can I improve my application?
A: Strong applications demonstrate;
1. Evidence of the applicants academic achievements that go beyond university/academic results, highlighting their communication and critical thinking skills and their engagement in learning.
2. Potential to adapt and thrive in a foreign environment and their resilience in the face of challenges. Applicants should give concrete examples of these qualities and an understanding of what it means to deal with change, or operate in a foreign environment. Applicants who have never travelled overseas before should highlight challenges or changes they’ve faced in Timor-Leste and the how they overcame them.

Q: I was selected for interview but was unsuccessful. How can I improve my interview responses?
A: Previously unsuccessful interview candidates gave less strong answers in the following areas; their motivation, leadership skills, self reflection and ability to relate their scholarship application to broader development goals for Timor-Leste.

Any candidate who is selected for interview can strengthen their interview responses by;
1. Clearly explaining their motivations for, and interest, in applying for a scholarship, their choice of course and it’s location.
2. Providing examples of leadership not just participation in professional work or community activities.
3. Outlining their capacity for self-reflection and an understanding of their personal limitations and areas for improvement.
4. Demonstrating how their scholarship will support Timor-Leste’s development needs, not just their own personal goals.

Q: Do I get a choice of where to study?
A: Yes, in consultation with the Australia Awards Course Adviser (a respected academic from Australia). Your location of study is an important consideration for a range of reasons which are different for each applicant. Our course adviser will discuss this with you when looking at the field of study and the learning outcomes you aim to achieve through your scholarship.

Q: Do I choose the university and the course I want to study before or after I find out if I have a Scholarship?
A: You make the choice after you have been offered an Australia Awards Scholarship. However, this decision will be made in consultation with a course adviser. Consultation will cover a number of issues such as your desired career outcomes, course articulation and early exit, course availability at a university where the same course maybe offered with lower course fees, location of campus, cost of living (if travelling with dependents), and a number of other important considerations to ensure the success of your scholarships.

Q: How do I choose where to study?
A: You should research the different universities in Australia, and discuss your preferences with the higher education specialist who will be available to assist you with your decision. Please make time to have informed and meaningful discussions with your course adviser both in face to face meetings and through on-going dialogue via email and skype.

Q: Can I study whatever I like?
A: Your course of study must be within the field of study you have nominated in your application form. This should be in one of the priority areas for development, or in a specialised field if you can provide a strong justification for study in that field. (See Priority Fields of Study)

Q: What are the priority areas for development in Timor-Leste?
A: Priority areas for 2021 intake. (The Australian Government reviews its priorities regularly, so this list may change.)

  • Education and training
  • Private sector development
  • Health
  • Agriculture and rural development
  • Infrastructure
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Community and social development.

Q: What is the process and how long does it take?
A: Here is a diagram of all the stages from the time the Australia Awards Office promotes the Scholarships until the Scholarship recipient departs for Australia. This whole process takes a minimum of 8 months.


Q: What are the English language requirements?
A: To be offered an Australia Awards Scholarship, applicants must meet the English language proficiency requirements.

Q: Is there an age limit?
A: The Australian Government does not discriminate because of age.

Q: Can I bring my family with me to Australia?
A: Yes, but at your own expense. You would be fully responsible for your family’s well-being and that includes financially.

Q: What are the Scholarship benefits?
A: Australia Awards Scholarships generally cover the following fees and entitlements.

Q: How can I make sure my application is a good one?
A: Here are some hints that may help strengthen your application. Not every point may relate to your application, but we encourage you to consider them all.

You need to apply for a course in a field of study that is appropriate to your academic and work experience background. If you want to change your career path completely, then you need to justify why you are doing so and be able to link it to the development needs of Timor-Leste.

Your English language skills are an important part of the selection process. Don’t wait to improve your English skills. Start today! It does not have to be expensive or done through formal training. Read English language fiction and non-fiction, engage in conversations with English speakers. Expand your vocabulary one word at a time! Learning a new language requires commitment and perseverance. Some people learn at a faster pace than others.

It is not enough to have a good academic background; you also need to have a good understanding of the strategic priorities for Timor-Leste, to be aware of the development issues, and to have thought about possible solutions for resolving them.

You need to be able to speak about the benefits that the scholarship would bring not just to yourself but also to the organisation or institution and to your community and Timor-Leste.

If you are intending to undertake a Masters course by research or a PhD, before you approach a potential supervisor in Australia, you should approach the ministry that is responsible for that sector to get a research topic that is applicable to Timor-Leste.

The Panel rated more highly those applicants who could potentially contribute to Timor-Leste’s development as an academic and/or a practitioner) after they returned home from their studies in Australia.

Make sure you double check your spelling and grammar. Try reading your responses aloud, or ask someone else to read your responses back to you.

Ensure that your responses answer the questions. Think carefully about your answers. It is recommended that you draft your responses in a word document first and then cut and paste them into the online application form once they have been finalised.

Q: How should I prepare for my interview?
A: The interview questions always reflect the selection criteria and applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare and practice for their interviews ahead of time. WDPTL will run a session prior to the interviews to assist in this, and give candidates advice on how to prepare and how the interview will be structured.

The scholarship team are available to answer your questions

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