What is the HMC Projects scholarship programme?
The HMC scholarship programme provides full scholarships for middle school students from certain countries in Central and Eastern Europe to study in the United Kingdom for one year in prestigious independent schools. This programme has been running since 1993 and currently places over 50 scholars every year from thirteen countries.
What are the aims of the scholarship programme?
The aims are to:
- allow talented students from Central and Eastern Europe to study for one year in an independent school in the UK;
- allow those who are awarded scholarships to experience life in a British school and to develop their knowledge of the life and culture of the UK;
- allow those on the programme to develop their interests beyond academic studies in areas like sport, art, music and other cultural activities;
Do I qualify for a scholarship?
To be eligible to apply for an HMC scholarship you should:
- have citizenship of the country where you live;
- not be younger than 16 yrs or older than 17yrs and 6 months by August 31st of the year you would take up the scholarship;
If your parents' combined annual income does not exceed £30,000 you are eligible to apply for a full scholarship. If your parents’ total income is greater than this then you still qualify to apply for a reduced fee scholarship.
What qualities and qualifications are required?
HMC would expect you to:
- have a very good command of English;
- have an excellent academic record including a range of academic achievements;
- have a commitment to a range of interests and pursuits outside academic work;
- be independent and prepared live away from home for long periods of time;
How do I apply?
You will need to submit an application to the programme co-ordinator in your country which will include:
- a form giving personal and academic details to be completed by you;
- a Personal Essay written by you;
- a reference from certain teachers, in particular, your English and Mathematics teachers.
When should I apply?
Applications are usually submitted in November for a scholarship for the following year. The final date for applications will be in the information provided by the programme co-ordinator in your country. You should contact them for further information.
How are the successful applicants selected for a scholarship?
In many countries applicants will take an English language test to demonstrate their level of English and may be required to write an unprepared essay in English. There is normally a charge for this test. You should contact your programme coordinator to find out what the pre-selection process is in your country.
Applicants who are successful will be interviewed in January or February, depending on country.
Interviews will be conducted in English by one or two representatives of HMC Projects, who are responsible for selecting the successful students.
If successful, how do I choose which school to go to?
You do not choose the school. HMC Projects will decide which school will be most suitable for each successful applicant, based on his or her interests and talents.
If, however, you are applying for a reduced fee scholarship then you can apply to up to four of the schools offering a reduced fee scholarship. In this case you choose which of these schools to apply to. Each school then chooses which applicants it wishes to award a reduced fee scholarship to. It is a competitive process with typically 50 or so students applying for a total of about 25 places.
When does the scholarship start?
Almost all independent schools start their academic year in early September. The academic year is divided into three terms - the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms (sometimes known as Michaelmas, Lent and Trinity). The Christmas and Easter holidays last about four weeks and the Summer holidays, which normally start at the beginning of July, last for about eight weeks.
How long does the scholarship last?
The HMC scholarship is for one year only and students are advised that they should not necessarily expect a second year in the UK. It is not uncommon for HMC scholars to be invited back for a second Sixth Form year by their schools, often at full cost to the school, provided that they have demonstrated the academic level expected and have contributed well to school life. Significantly, HMC will have no formal link with such students after their first year nor can it provide further support, financial or otherwise.
What qualifications can I expect to get by the end of the scholarship?
This will depend on the National examinations chosen by each school. At the end of the scholarship year many students will have taken examinations at AS level in England and Wales and Higher examinations in Scotland. On the other hand, students studying for the International Baccalaureate (IB) will need to spend two years in the UK to acquire a diploma and care is therefore taken to ascertain from all scholars their preferences in this regard before they are assigned to their schools.
If a scholar is invited back for a second year in the Sixth Form by their school then they can expect to have completed their examinations sufficient for matriculation at the end of that year.
|A-Levels||Scottish Highers||IB (International Baccalaureate)|
|After one year||
AS level exams
(in some subjects)
After two years
|A level exams||Advanced Higher exams||IB diploma examinations|
For a more detailed account of the education system in the UK go to the page on The British Education System.
Will qualifications obtained in the UK be recognized in my own country?
Scholars will need to check with their own country's education authorities, and their country's universities to find out if they recognise and give credit for UK qualifications. Many do, but it is essential that each scholar investigates this in their own country.
Will this scholarship help me to get into a British university?
Yes, but remember that the scholarship will initially be for one year only, although many schools have been happy to extend the scholarship for a second year This second year allows scholars to complete the exams which are required for UK University entry. Not all schools in the HMC Scheme are able to do this, however, so scholars must not assume that a second year in a UK will be available. The level of fees charged by universities has tended to be an insuperable obstacle for most HMC Projects scholars, particularly those from outside the EEA. Currently fees are significantly higher for students from outside the EEA compared to those charged to students from with the EEA. This may well change in the future. Universities in the UK now are allowed to charge up to £9,250 for tuition fees, to be funded by students entering into loans agreements whereby fees are refunded out of subsequent income; this does not include living costs. Visa requirements are also different for students at universities in the UK compared to those required to study in schools in the UK. Some careful research is necessary for each country!
What is the total cost I might be expected to pay towards the scholarship?
In almost all countries, applicants will be charged by their national or local coordinators for the administrative costs of handling their application and also for the English language test if required. These charges are not refundable. Parents of students successful in winning full scholarships will be also expected to pay a fee to HMC Projects to cover the administrative costs of the scholarship programme. This fee is currently £1750 for students who come from or have citizenship of a country in the EEA and £1250 for those who do not. While schools pay all tuition and boarding fees, there will be 'extra' charges to parents arising from school trips and the purchase of textbooks and uniform, and (in some cases) examination fees. Although the HMC Projects bursary (see below), paid to full scholars, will cover some of these costs, parents will normally need to provide financial support for their children, much as they would provide 'pocket money' at home. Parents will be required to meet the cost of air fares and other travel expenses to and from the UK at the beginning and end of the school year and for school holidays and (if applicable) half-term holidays.
Will I get any financial support from HMC Projects if I am awarded a scholarship?
All full scholars receive an HMC Projects bursary of £300 at the start of their year to help them with various expenses like travel and clothing. This sum is banked with the school in the name of the HMC Projects scholar and can be used to defray such 'extra' costs as textbooks and school uniform. It is unlikely that this bursary will cover all expenses and each scholar will be expected to find additional funds to be able to afford certain chargeable activities organized by their school. In addition, HMC Projects subsidises half-term stays in youth hostels, with supervision provided by members of the HMC Projects team, and the Student Coordinator will also provide financial assistance on occasion, for instance with travel expenses incurred during the year by students at relatively distant schools.
How often can I return home during the year of the scholarship?
All pupils must vacate their schools during the school holidays. Most scholars fly home to return to their families during these periods. Some may choose to stay with friends or relatives in the UK. In such cases the school would need approval from a scholar's parents to be satisfied that the arrangement is safe and satisfactory. In addition to school holidays, most schools have short half-term breaks and also additional weekend breaks. Pupils will be expected to vacate the school during these periods. For the half-term breaks in October and February, the HMC Projects Student Coordinator usually organizes subsidised trips to places of interest e.g. the Lake District. These trips, available only to full scholars, are not free of charge.