In this article, I will share my impressions of Turkey’s most popular scholarship program – “Türkiye Scholarships” with you. I am currently in the second half of my master’s education in Istanbul, that is, I am in the stage of writing my thesis.
“Türkiye Scholarships” program allows students from all over the world to receive free education for bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in different cities of Turkey. The scholarship covers not only the tuition fee but also provides you with a fixed monthly stipend, depending on the degree you study (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) during your stay in Turkey. These payments are set at 1000 TL for bachelor’s, 1400 TL for master’s and 1800 TL for doctor’s degree in 2022.
So, what procedures should be followed to earn the scholarship? First of all, the admission process consists of 2 stages (online application and interview). At the online application stage, you need to register through the APPLICATION/LOGIN button using the link https://www.turkiyeburslari.gov.tr/. Having opened an account you must complete your application by filling in your personal information in the relevant sections on the dates specified between January-February (usually January 10 – February 20). It is important to note that in the first stage, your academic average scores (the average score of 80+ of applicants for master’s degree is an advantage), international foreign language certificates (note: I was selected even though I do not have a foreign language certificate), such as TYS (Turkish Sufficiency Certificate), IELTS, TOEFL increase your chances (the university you choose may require any of these certificates). Social and academic activities, as well as the preparation of your motivation letter in accordance with certain requirements, will all be taken into consideration.
Let’s talk a little about the requirements of the motivation letter. What are these certain requirements? I would point out that there is no requirement to write your motivation letter in accordance with a standard form. In the online portal, you will be asked to share the reason why you apply for this scholarship and why you want to study in Turkey. You will then be required to answer short questions related to your research topic – your thesis – that you will choose to graduate with a master’s degree. However when applying myself, I did not specify the topic of my research, I used the information on the topic of the thesis I wrote for my bachelor’s degree. If you want to pass the first stage successfully, you should pay careful attention to your motivation letter. After writing your motivation letter, you finally complete your application by choosing the field and university that suits you. You will be informed whether you have passed the first stage or not via the e-mail address in June of the current year.
Now let’s talk about the second stage of the “Türkiye Scholarships” program. Upon successful completion of the first stage, you will receive an invitation to the second stage, i.e. the interview stage. The second stage is usually carried out in August. The year I received the scholarship coincided with the time when the COVID-19 pandemic had just started to spread (2020), so the interview phase was extended until September 17. The main point to pay attention to during the interview stage is to be ready for any questions related to your chosen field and university. The interview phase is usually held at the Yunus Emre Institute for students living in Baku. However, as mentioned above, I had to go through the interview phase online because of the pandemic. Although I answered all of their questions, I had some doubts about being accepted after this stage. All I had to do was wait.
More than a month had passed when I finally received an e-mail with a message about my admission to Istanbul University, majoring in Public Law. In that e-mail, you will receive a “Letter of Acceptance” and a “Scholarship Commitment” from the university you received. Once you’re in Turkey, you’re supposed to go to the university you were accepted to and complete the registration process there. Each university has its own registration requirements. Allthough some universities require to submit admission documents online (for example, my university), others find it necessary to submit the documents physically to the university.
Although the only thing left to do after I was accepted was to pack my suitcases and go to Istanbul, unfortunately, it did not happen that year (read: COVID-19), but exactly one year later. In the first year, we completed our classes and exams online. This had both advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages was that I could go to work while studying online as well as focus on self-development and my specialisation. In addition, online classes were registered in the AKSİS system of our university, so whenever I could not attend classes, I could watch them in the “archived lessons” section of the system. As for midterm and final exam assessments, it mostly depends on the approach of the teachers you had chosen. Thus, I was able to complete the end of the year with a high average, except for one of the 8 courses I chose to complete during the year. One of the main reasons of this success was that the teachers encouraged us to express our views, have discussions, and most importantly, the authentic relationship they built with us.