The Sir Syed Education Society of North America (SSESA-NA), a 501(c) (3) non-profit organisation, 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 from all faculties 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:
There are three main parts of expenditure incurred by prospective applicants. GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS, mandatory for application to most masters and Ph.D. programs in the United States, and individual application fee of the university.
SSGSA helps scholars 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.
SSGSA covers the cost of GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS 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, TOEFL/IELTS as well as application fees are paid online by the 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. Scholars are advised to take practice tests and send those scores to our mentorship team for evaluation. Based on how they perform in the practice tests, a decision on whether to pay for the tests will be made.
Since the existing examination system in India (at the bachelor's and master's level and the other entrance exams for Ph.D.) is entirely different from the TOEFL/IELTS/ 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 merit. 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 entails the following requirements:
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 points on a scale of 1-100. An average of these points is used to draw up a merit list and the top 20% students are called for a personal interview round. About 25-30 students (dependent on available financial aid) are awarded SSGSA scholarships each year.
Besides the financial assistance required for the GRE/GMAT, TOEFL/IELTS, and application fees that are needed for applying to the US universities, the awardees are assigned mentors who are experts in the field. The scholars are guided through the entire application process and receive help in framing a strong personal statement, resume etc.
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/extenuating circumstances, the student may request for extending the award benefits. However, the committee's decision will be final.
Students will face immediate disqualification under the following conditions:
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.