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I Received 80% Funding to Pursue an LL.M at the University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign- Tutu Okusaga

Scholar: Tutu Okusaga

Undergraduate Course and Degree- Law. Second class upper degree

Undergrad University - Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye

Graduate Course and University- LLM (with a focus on corporate law) University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign

I got funded by applying! (Lol) But seriously speaking, I think for most people, we all have to tailor our expectations to our realities. I had applied several times since 2014 to the big/good/nice UK schools (yes UK because I love the Queen of England) and whilst I would get admissions, I never got funding. Funding as you all know is one of the greatest challenges for post graduate dreamers like me. I had in one of those years applied to one top US school and was put on a waiting list (due to late submission of my application). Anyway, I gave up after I got married and stopped applying, telling myself that I would have to save up (salaries plus bonuses) to get my dream actualized and should children come in view, I would have to further back step.

Fast forward to two months prior to the school applications season for 2018 admissions, I got talking to a colleague who advised that rather than pursue the big schools, get admissions and get my hopes dashed by the limited funding available to a few, I should “spread my wings” to other equally good schools who will jump at the opportunity to have me with my experience and grades. I was also encouraged to apply more to US schools which usually have a bigger and better funding pool than the UK schools. I dusted my old application materials and revamped my CV as I knew work experience is always a selling point! I also made up my mind not to spend too much on the applications, having done so in previous years. So first I only applied (using my money) to the big US school that had put me on waiting list in 2014 (just to see if I would actually get in). I then aggressively pursued other school s in states like Virginia, Illinois, Washington etc . I even got application fee waivers from a lot of these schools (chat me up if you need a waiver request template). I felt good and decided to extend the waiver requests to some other big schools like Georgetown, University of Texas and I was told they do not grant application fee waivers and since I was not ready to pay over a USD 100 each for an application, I said my goodbyes.

Back to my University of Illinois story, I applied on 2nd January 2018 and by 5th February 2018 I got my admission with over 80% scholarship. It was the first school that came back with such an offer and up till date the school that had given me the highest. Other schools which came back with scholarship offers are good schools but because my primary focus was funding, I knew I had to stick to the school with the highest scholarship.

My advice for post graduate dreamers, do not stick to one strategy, if you are like me that always wanted to go to an ivy league school but had no money, just refocus, go to the next big deal school, and work your way up…perhaps a PHD at Harvard, Cambridge, Columbia or even other professional courses to spice up your CV!


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