The people who are a part of our GetIn community are one of its greatest assets; they follow our stories and support our many endeavors. Typically, they are rooting for and cheering on many others, so to see them ultimately rewarded with irresistible, juicy grad school offers is so exciting. Today's scholar shares with us the importance of utilizing community resources to achieve your goals.
Bilqis Ishola is a lawyer who is passionate about self-development. In 2018, she graduated with a second-class upper degree in Law from the University of Ilorin. She then attended law school and completed the mandatory national youth service. During her time at the university, she participated in several extracurricular activities, such as the Human Rights Chambers, which provided a simulation of legal activities to prepare students for life after graduation, and the Student Union Bar for Law Students. She joined the workforce in 2021, at which point she decided to enroll in the GetIn graduate school boot camp. Her interest in pursuing a master's program was sparked by her desire for additional expertise and specialization in law. “I wanted to go to grad school because I wanted to have more than just my undergrad degree. I was also interested in an international degree to help me build my career progression.” As an avid follower of GetIn, it was a no-brainer for her to enroll in the boot camp to increase her odds of securing funding as well as getting the right guidance. She was aware of the testimonials and records of success.
(Look, even if you are not ready to join the Bootcamp, follow us on our social media. Just like Bilikis, you will find real people with real stories and resources for when you are ready.)
Bilikis, who was now enrolled in the Bootcamp, was not a passive student. She had goals and was aware that there was work to be done. She recalls that her eyes were open to how a CV and SOP should look. It additionally offered her insight into understanding the Admissions committee. “It was not just cliche things, it was practical and gave me an idea of what to pay attention to. It was thorough. In addition, the GetIn community was a very good one. It was very engaging, especially the telegram group. I was able to connect with people. Even connected with people from my class back in Uni. I loved how we shared ideas and opportunities”. (You just might find your old classmate or high school friend in the GetIn telegram channel, sign up today!)
In deciding where to go to school, Bilikis asserts that the UK had always been her first decision because the the country has a legal system similar to the one in Nigeria, and so she thought that parallel was important. In addition, she has friends and family she could lean on as support systems. Armed with this resolve to focus on the UK and secure full funding, she applied to the Commonwealth scholarship and then applied to University of East Anglia, University of Exeter and also University of Nottingham. She confesses that she had to restrategize at some point. “I had some half way applications but did not see the green light on funding so I decided to focus on those where scholarships were sure. I was also interested in the University of Warwick but could not complete the IELTS exam on time so decided to forfeit that”.
“I found the Post Graduate Excellence scholarship and Developing Solutions scholarship at the University of Nottingham and applied as best as I could. Also applied to the Flywire scholarship, which is external”. While many people take the English language tests for UK universities, Bilikis decided to skip it and focus on schools were other proof of the English language was accepted.
If you have worked through graduate school applications, you know that the wait sometimes feels unending. Bilikis threw in the applications for the University of Nottingham, hoping for the best. “It was my last option for the application season. I had to wait about 6 weeks. I was also busy planning to change jobs though during that time.” For her, her life would not be on hold for grad school, she was busy working on other things
“I got admitted into Exeter but with no funding. Then, I got the 50% Developing Solutions Masters. I was happy but not sure if I was going to go ahead with it because I wanted more. I was drawing a plan to know how I would fund the rest and care for myself while there. A rep from the school came to Nigeria and I met with them to answer questions on student life. I didn’t hear back from other schools so decided to go ahead iwith it. I figured that it was a competitive scholarship, and 50% was not too bad and I believe this was worth going for. In addition, this university is a top one and it was something to look out for. I also did not want to postpone getting my post-graduate degree any longer”.
If you are reading this and wondering if the bootcamp will work for you, our scholar tells you…
“Don’t go with the mindset that if you sign up for a boot camp, then you don’t need to do anything. To say that you are resourceful in your CV, means that you must be able to show it. There is work to do. If you want your documents to blow your trumpets, then you must do the work. If you want to tell a scholarship body you are worth investing in, you must be proactive. Start carving a niche for yourself. Once all the information from bootcamp has sunk in, you know what to do. Research is always the first thing. You need to focus even on choosing the country you want to go to. Having a limited scope is better and gives you focus. Know what you want, sit down and think. Reach out to people in your field who have gone before you. For the waiting period, have a back up. Be prepared to go again if that is what is needed. I was shooting my shot but I was busy with my career too”.
Because the bootcamp is a gift that keeps on giving, our scholars frequently testify that it is a gift that keeps on giving. “It has made me know how to carve my CV better for job search. You can’t be humble when you are putting yourself out there. It also taught me the importance of research, using the cold emailing trick and the importance of networking”.
Bilikis is enjoying the UK, she knows the work is hectic but her goals are clear before her eyes. “It is hectic, it is kind of a marathon. Everything you need to learn is squeezed into a year”.
In spite of this busyness she is experiencing, she is still passionate about many things. “Right now, the focus is going to the legal work sector. I am interested in Environmental sustainability and exploring the role of the law in solving some environmental issues in Nigeria.”
When she is not in school, she works a part-time job to sustain and care for herself. She has also been busy with a placement program. She likes the exposure to different cultures and the development system, which she says is better than Nigeria.
We are so proud of Bilikis, her achievements and contributions to GetIn’s community. She has referred 6 of her friends to the Bootcamp since 2021 and indeed is a friend who rises by lifting others.
If you have read up to this point, invite a friend to join the GetIn boot camp, it could be the link to changing their lives.