What is SSGSABrief: The Sir Syed Global Scholar Award (SSGSA), formerly known as the Sir Syed Excellence in Science Award (SSESA), is a merit-based scholarship that is awarded to academically outstanding students at Master's level from all faculties, including sciences, life sciences, medicine, arts, business, commerce, law, and education at the Aligarh Muslim University. All donations and contributions directly sponsor the attempts of talented students to secure admission in PhD programs at centers of international repute. The Sir Syed Education Society of North America, a 501 © (3) non-profit organization, annually administers the Sir Syed Global Scholar Award (SSGSA).
Points of expenditure: There are three main points of expenditure incurred by prospective applicants. The Graduate Research Examination (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), mandatory for application to almost all PhD programs in the United States, and individual application fee of the university.
Award Benefits: SSGSA award helps student with financial assistance towards standardized tests (GRE & TOEFL) and application fees, and personalized mentoring throughout the process from selection of universities to refining personal essays and resumes.
Sponsorship by SSGSA: SSGSA will cover the cost of GRE and TOEFL entirely and fund the application fee of up to 5 universities. No cash will be available to the student at any point during the entire application procedure. GRE and TOEFL as well as application fees will be payed online by SSGSA operational team. In order to ensure serious effort by the students that are nominated, we will pay for the tests in steps. For example, students who get a good score in GRE (over 1150, as recommended by most universities) will be supported for TOEFL, and students who score well in both the tests will be supported for the application fees for the universities. Students who don't get good scores will not be supported for the next step. One candidate will be supported for only one attempt.
Selection of Awardees Since the existing examination system in India at the M.Sc level and the other entrance exams for PhD is entirely different from the TOEFL/ GRE pattern, it may not be possible for students to prepare well for these tests simultaneously. Hence, students may be eligible up to one year of achieving their M.Sc degree. Applications for the award will be invited in the first week of February and results will be declared by the third week of March or before if possible. Merit will be the most important and crucial criteria in selection procedures. Only applications from talented students with a proven academic record will be considered. However, there will be certain other criteria that the student will also have to fulfill. The entire application procedure will entail the following requirements:
1) Attested copy of first and last page of valid Indian passport (it is an essential requirement for appearing in GRE and TOEFL).
2) Curriculum Vitae/Resume
3) Attested copy of mark sheets for all years of Std. XII, B.Sc and M.Sc. (NET, GATE and other test scores may also be included if taken).
4) Attested copies of certificates and documents in support of listed achievements.
5) A one page (one side only) statement of purpose (SOP), briefing the student's interest in science and intended field of study (this is important as it is also one of the selection criterion in US graduate programs and will help us evaluate the student).
Selection of the students: A panel of experts in the respective fields reviews the contents of each application from that discipline. The reviews are done independently so that the students get a fair assessment and each application is assigned marks on a scale of 1-10. An average of these marks is used to draw up a merit list and the top 5% students are called for GRE-style standardized test and personal interview at AMU. About 12-15 students (dependent on available resources) are awarded SSGSA scholarships each year.
Mentorship: Besides the financial assistance required for the GRE, TOEFL, and applications fees that are needed for applying to the US universities, the awardees will be attached to a mentor who is a specialist in the field. The students will be guided through the entire application process and will receive help in framing a strong personal statement, resume etc.
Validity: The award and its benefits will be valid for a maximum period of two years from the date of announcement. Students must take the exams and apply for admission within this time. Failure to do so would automatically disqualify the student from the award. Under pressing/ unusual situations, the student may request for extending the award benefits. However, he/ she may have to formally request the committee and the final decision will be taken after thoroughly assessing the request and the reasons.
Disqualifications: Students will face immediate disqualification under the following conditions:
a) If at any stage, it is found that wrong or fraudulent information was submitted. Disqualification will also ensue if plagiarism is proved.
b) If the student gets a score in the exams that is not enough to make the application competitive. For GRE, 1150/1600 and for TOEFL 100/120 would be the requirement. Students who score less than 1150/1600 on GRE would be put "on-hold". They will be given a chance to take the exam again AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE. The award benefits will be re-offered if they score well on the second attempt.
c) The students are required to update the committee on their progress at regular intervals. If they fail to do so or attempts to contact them prove futile repeatedly, they will be given a notice to respond or face disqualification.
Internal Growth: Students/scholars, once successfully sponsored, will automatically become paying members of the SSGSA fraternity. They will commit to returning the initial scholarship awarded to them in this fashion. The people, who have benefited from the SSGSA award and have complete faith in its existence, will bring a fresh perspective and spirit to contribute to the viability and growth of this mission. Successful awardees will be involved in the functioning of the program once they come to the US, will be trained to manage the award and take over the administrative and organizational functions of SSGSA eventually.