What is SSGSABrief: The Sir Syed Education Society of North America (SSESA-NA), a 501 c (3) non-profit organization, annually administers the Sir Syed Global Scholar Award (SSGSA). 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 MS/Ph.D programs at centers/universities of international repute. SSGSA supports each scholar in achieving their full potential, as outlined below:
1) SSGSA scholars are selected on the basis of rigorous screening by independent academic experts and performance in Graduate Record Examination (GRE)-style test and personal interview to assess knowledge and motivation
2) A committed team of mentors work with the scholars on every aspect of their preparation and application. The mentors continue to be available for guidance and help throughout the academic journey of the scholars, and in many cases well into their professional careers
3) Upon successful admission, the students in turn become mentors to other students.
Points of expenditure: There are three main parts of expenditure incurred by prospective applicants. GRE/GMAT and TOEFL, mandatory for application to most masters and PhD programs in the United States, and individual application fee of the university.
Award Benefits: SSGSA award helps student with financial assistance towards Standardized test-preparation-materials, 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 covers the cost of GRE/GMAT and TOEFL entirely and funds the application fee of up to 5 universities. No cash is available to the student at any point during the entire application procedure. GRE/GMAT and TOEFL as well as application fees is paid online by SSGSA operational team. In order to ensure serious effort by the students that are nominated, we pay for the tests in steps. For example, students who get a good score in GRE (over 300, 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. Each candidate is supported for only one attempt.
Selection of Awardees Since the existing examination system in India at the bachelors and master’s level and the other entrance exams for PhD is entirely different from the TOEFL/ GRE/GMAT pattern, it may not be possible for students to prepare well for these tests simultaneously. Hence, the award is valid for two years. Applications for the award are invited in the first week of February and results are declared by the third week of March. The selection is based only on the Merit. Only applications from talented students with a proven academic record are considered. However, there are certain other criteria that the student has to fulfill. The entire application procedure entail the following requirements:
1) Curriculum Vitae/Resume
2) 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).
3) Attested copies of certificates and documents in support of listed achievements.
4) 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 review 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 are used to draw up a merit list and the top 5-10% students are called for a GRE-style standardized test and personal interview at AMU. About 25-30 students (dependent on available financial aid) are awarded SSGSA scholarships each year.
Mentorship: Besides the financial assistance required for the GRE/GMAT, TOEFL, and applications fees that are needed for applying to the US universities, the awardees is assigned mentors who are experts in the field. The students are guided through the entire application process and receive help in framing a strong personal statement, resume etc.
Validity: The award and its benefits are 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, the committee’s decision will be final.
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 ensure due to an act of plagiarism.
b) If the student gets a score in the exams that is not enough to make the application competitive. For GRE, at least 300/340 and for TOEFL at least 90/120 would be the requirement. 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 (e.g., monthly updates). 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 manner. The students, 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 or Europe.