Tips from US Embassy advisor (Mastercard Scholars: free university!)

Here are some tips we posted to social media from the info session we held, as described in this post back in October. We also posted full programme details in this earlier post.

October 13 2015 Posts from @kenyanikwetu

Free top universities? Mastercard Scholars Program offers 15,000 scholarships. Info session @Pawa254 4pm sharp!

Info session with Faith of the @USEmbassyKenya and Mastercard Scholar Job cc @mcfoundation Scholars


  • Get the experience, and no employer will say no to you. The opportunities are there. ~ Faith
  • “All I needed was the internet.” Do you meet the criteria? Do you have the skills we’re looking for? ~ Faith’s personal story.
  • Who are you, academically? What are the things you enjoy? You need to find that out. ~ Faith
  • “I got As, sure, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do.” ~ Joel, @Harvard class of ‘17 Kenyan and @mcfoundation scholar!
  • Build your confidence: Write a profile of yourself. Any achievement you think you’ve ever done, however small it is.
  • Think if the school is a good fit for you… not even if you are a good fit for the school.
  • Do a LOT of research about the school you are applying to.
  • When there are many subjects and you have to choose one, it’s a problem. You have to figure out more about yourself.

Application process tips:

  • It’s hard to write about yourself. Admissions committees will sit around to examine, how do you critically analyse yourself?
  • Essays aren’t as simple as the prompts. They’re analyzing all your abilities from your essays. Tell your story. Sell yourself.
  • Letters of recommendation can be a challenge here in Kenya. They are looking for someone who can really endorse you & your skills.
  • Do you have skills? Can you sing? What do you have that is a talent that maybe that school is seeking?
  • What are you doing – and going to do – for your community? Answer that.
  • Are you that person who is able to complete your application fully, with all pieces and elements?

Getting university paid for:

  • How much does it cost? It will cost 1.5 million KES per year to study in the US. @mcfoundation #scholars programme helps you by paying for that. Travel, laptop, monthly stipend, etc, @mcfoundation #scholars will pay.
  • Stop praying for school fees. There is money. APPLY. Use that money, or it will go to waste. These universities have extra money to bring you, not even just the this programme. Each school has its own pot of money.
  • When I talk about need & merit, I mean, you are an A student who can’t afford the fees. You need to be competitive.
  • Is it too good to be true? We have Job right in front of us who’s attending @Harvard. @mcfoundation #scholars program. He didn’t get into other schools he applied to, but he got into Harvard!
  • Hard work + luck = SUCCESS. How badly do you want it? If you want it, you can GET it. @mcfoundation #scholars info session.
  • What is the way forward? Applications begin Oct 1. Deadlines Nov, Dec, Jan. August to January is prime time.
  • Worried about the costs of applying? You can request a waiver of the application fees. Write directly to the university.
  • You need to have good transcripts and strong KCSEs, as well as good SATs, to apply.
  • What about the SAT exam fees? There is some possibility of getting waivers, if you are a strong student otherwise.
  • To reach Faith & her team:
    • Email Faith at
    • Facebook EducationUSA-Nairobi Advising Center
    • The Centre is inside the US Embassy but open to the public.
    • It has set office hours, so visit the website for details!

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