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Is it Hard to Get Swedish Institute Scholarships?

Is it hard to get Swedish Institute Scholarship, really? I would say I am so grateful that I got selected as one of SISGP holders. I remember around three years ago when some friends of mine told me, my goals to study in Sweden should be revised as it was too high in their eyes. But show must go on! As Indonesian, I am eligible among 33 other countries to be granted this full time scholarship. But, what is SISGP and is it as hard as it became legend (at least among my peers)? Here’s from my point of view, hopefully it could bring little benefit for all of you who are willing to apply.

SISGP (Swedish Institute Scholarship for global professional) is a fully funded master’s degree program from Swedish institute, a public agency that belongs to the government of Sweden. This scholarship is specified for those who have experience in the workforce and willing to take part in a better future developing and participate in United Nation 2030 Agenda for Sustainability Development. Complete procedure of how you can apply can be found here. there are choices of other scholarships available too here.

In my application period, I remember the website told me there were around 7.000 participants applied yet only less than 350 awarded the scholarship. So it is pretty competitive obviously. But what should we put on our paperwork to get through? I have never talked to the committee, but here are things I pointed out from my document making process.

1. Motivation Letter

SISGP motivation letter template only requires us to answer 2 questions with a maximum of 1000 characters for the first question and maximum of 800 for the second question. Yes you hear me, less than two thousand characters, not words. That means, space ( ), dot (.) or comma (,) and other punctuation also counted as characters too. I am sure you would tell tons of talent or achievements you have, but limits are real. Question may differ in every application year but you may get a big picture from my case.

First question, I answered by telling them what exactly I expected from the program I choose and how I can contribute to my country (or can be your company too) once I graduate in regard to correlating with the knowledge I get from the Master’s program. I was keen to include a hard time story related to finance in my past, but again I have this 1.000 limitation of characters. So either I decide to point out my future plan, or my past time misery. And I choose to present my plan for the future. I am glad I chose this option. Anyway, it is Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals. Professionals should always march forward, right?

Second question was even challenging. With almost 800 characters, I related my goals in the first question with one of the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are 11 SDGs that cover all aspects of life, and I believe it is very important to understand it completely. So I suggest to read all of those 11 SDGs one by one then you may have an idea in which field your goal towards to. Take your time to understand it completely so you won’t choose an unmatched goal. SDGs are very important for Sweden as this country is one of pioneers in sustainability. If I were a country of Sweden, I would absolutely love all of your ideas and ambitions towards sustainability. 

2. Letter of Reference.

SISGP requires two reference letters from different referees. As they suggest in their website page, I believe it would be a good thing if we can get one out of the two referees from an organization or community outside our work. This reference from community or civil organization could be a reflection of our willingness to wellness or betterment of society and environment, which of course, in line with our goal passion. When I asked my superior from work to write a reference letter, I explained about my goals of study and how the program I choose is related to making it come true. Also, explaining how this path I chose would contribute to 2030 UN’s SDGs. Hence, your reference letter might be in line with your motivation letter. We indeed can not control the referee’s words, but the referees would get a picture in a way that your attempt is positive, need their support and would explain about you and their experiences working with you accordingly. So, don’t forget to brief the referee thoroughly. 

3. Other required documents and its details.

So, is it really hard to get Swedish Institute Scholarship? It will really depend on how much effort you put. There are more than just reference letters and motivation letters required. Full requirement click this page. Furthermore, all of the documents are essential for our judgement. Even if (for example) you write a spectacular motivation letter, but fail to provide english proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL), then it won’t make you eligible to be judged as you can’t apply to any university without English proficiency certificate. So make sure to complete all the administrative requirements.

4. Preparation and Time management.

Before I start to make all the documents, I read the whole procedure and process in order to manage the schedule. Schedule for what? Schedule of when I should start to write this or that, and specify my time allocation, how many days I should finish which document, which document should be prioritized. Trust me, this is essential. Read all the procedures and requirements completely, understand it, plan, then execute. Don’t just skimming read one or two paragraphs and rush to make a document. There are many details you need to put attention to. How do we make sure we meet the requirement? How do we make sure our documents are eligible? Read and Read. The more we read, the more we will understand.

And make sure you start as early as possible. This kind of application can not be done overnight or even a week!!


I believe many of SISGP applicants are either used to work or still actively working. So time is not as abundant as regular students as we have to share with the tiring workforce. That is why I suggest you start reading early. Yes! like now! Just a little example from my case, I applied in February for the academic year of 2020, but had been following the SISGP recruitment since 2018. Furthermore, I failed to achieve a minimum TOEFL score on my first attempt in June 2019, and of course, need time to drill my english skill and finally get band 7 on IELTS in January 2020. I can’t imagine staying procrastinating not to improve my English score. Can you?

Lastly, beyond all the experiences I shared, I believe it is very important to firstly know what we want and be sincere in your application. When we know what we want, what program to choose, what we want to achieve after graduation, why and how to get, it will naturally be reflected in your essays. And the question of Is it hard to get Swedish Institute Scholarship? Will be able to be answered by yourself later on.

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