Tuesday 15 January 2019

How I won the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Overseas Scholarship to the UK

ptdf scholarship

Written bySalahudeen Tope

I am Salahudeen Tope a graduate of Civil Engineering from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria and a Master's graduate of environmental engineering and business management from Imperial College London through the PTDF Scholarship.
What is the PTDF Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS) and how did you hear about it?  
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), is a Federal Government agency with the mandate of developing indigenous human capacity and petroleum technology to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry. To achieve this mandate, it sponsors suitably qualified candidates selected through a competitive recruitment process overseas to pursue their MSc/Ph.D. programmes selected Institutions in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, United States, China etc. Successful candidates are awarded full scholarships which include the provision of flight tickets, payment of health insurance, payment of tuition and bench fees (where applicable) as well as the provision of allowances to meet the costs of accommodation and living expenses.
With regards to how I heard about the PTDF scholarship, I came across a thread about the PTDF scholarship about 3 weeks to the closing date of the scholarship application on Nairaland. At first, I was highly skeptical about the PTDF scholarship since I thought it would be too competitive and I stood no chance of winning it. I was also in doubt about the credibility of the selection process knowing how nepotism is rife in Nigeria especially in government agencies. But after in-depth research from online sources especially reading through the experiences of previous PTDF scholars on Nairaland, I decided to give it a try.

You spoke about doing in-depth research before applying for the PTDF scholarship, can you tell us how you went about it?

Naturally, I pride myself as a highly analytical person, so I always like to have as much information about anything I’m getting into as I can and the PTDF scholarship was no exception. Also, I didn’t graduate with a first class nor had a very impressive resume, consequently, I knew the only way for me to have an edge is to be as informed as possible. With these factors in consideration, I searched the internet for several hours every day for any information I can find on PTDF and its scholarship award. I read Nairaland threads of the previous two rounds of the PTDF scholarship each with over 80 pages of posts. Nairaland was a really important source of information during the process. I also met a few past scholars on the platform who helped me significantly during the application.
Can you tell us about your academic and professional background, and do you think they helped strengthen your application?
Like I said earlier, I graduated from the University of Ilorin with a fairly high second class upper and I had a few leadership experiences during my undergraduate days. For instance, I was the general secretary of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Unilorin chapter. I was also active in my departmental association committees although I never contested as an executive.
With regards to job experience, at the point of application, I was working with the Niger State Agricultural and Mechanisation Development Authority (NAMDA) as a Civil Engineer. I believe all these might have had an impact in preparing to be very competitive and prevented me from losing a golden opportunity because I thought I wasn’t good enough.
Kindly tell us how the journey to winning the PTDF scholarship was like and the experience of winning it

After doing what I considered was good enough research about the PTDF scholarship, I proceeded to pay the application of a thousand Naira. The application was the easy part since shortlisted applicants had to write an exam to determine the winners --this has since been replaced with an interview. I must say I did put in my all to study for the exams, however, I’ll say what helped me keep the morale really high was a friend I met on Nairaland that was also writing the exam for the same course as me and we studied together. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having a colleague with the same plan as you and thankfully, we both won the award after the exam.  I must say it has really been a very wonderful experience.

You mentioned something about changes in the format of the recruitment process of the PTDF scholarship, can you tell us what the changes are and tips to improve one’s chances in the current format of the PTDF scholarship?

Yes, that is true. The number of partner universities has been reduced a little. Also, there is no computer-based test for MSc applicants and the application is now completely free of any charges. The PTDF scholarship test has been converted to a panel interview which determines who ultimately wins the award. Although, there will be a little subjectiveness involved in the selection especially in the interview phase, I’ll share a few tips that will ensure an applicant sets themselves apart from the crowd.
If you are still in the university and plan on applying to the scholarship, try as much as possible to improve your CGPA so you can get into a higher class of degree preferably first class. However, if that ship has sailed and you can no longer do anything about your CGPA, the subsequent tips are for you.
Submit the best O’level result you can as it counts towards your overall points. Also, ensure you get at least a research publication if you can and at least 5 professional, academic or volunteer awards before applying. Write the best statement of purpose (SOP) you can by following the required format. Completely and concisely answer the questions with relevant past experience and/or future plans.
Finally, always remember that the scholarship is aimed towards developing the Nigerian oil and gas industry, so ensure you mention how your planned research field will be relevant to the industry in your SOP and be ready to answer a question on that as well in the interview.
Any tips on acing the PTDF Scholarship interview?
I would ask you to treat it like every serious job interview since it’ll make or mar your chances especially with how highly competitive the PTDF scholarship is. Take any requested materials along with you and try to form a good rapport with the interviewers. Smile, be confident, be friendly and of course know as much as possible on what you are going to study. Finally, don’t forget to Google how to ace an interview for more tips and please let Nairaland be your friend throughout the application process.

Do you have any final words for future scholarship applicants?

If you are finding it difficult to win a scholarship, just know you aren’t doing anything wrong it just isn’t time yet in so far you put your efforts into every application. Personally, the year I won this award, I was rejected by a total of 15 other scholarships until I won the PTDF which turned out to be the best of them. Just have faith and keep pushing, see you at the top.

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  1. I impressed by the quality of information on this website. I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. Very useful info. I am sure I will visit this place again soon. Hope to see more posts soon! technology development

  2. I want to say thanks for beautiful blog sharing with us. Your blog really great resource to update my knowledge. Plus d'infos ici

  3. Am buying that book "ultimate scholarship 2019" it worth it so also is this blog full of useful information on how to winning scholarships.

  4. Please, is it possible to get past

  5. So I have to gain admission into the partner university first before applying for the ptdf scholarship?

    1. No. You should do both simultaneously. You should apply to the PTDF scholarship and apply for admission into the partner universities at the same time.

  6. How is that possible Sir... You mean we should apply for admission to our first choice university by ourselves?

  7. Can you please connect me to Salahudeen Tope. I want to know more about how much PTDF pays for living costs in London and the amount required by UK visa office issuance of visa. About accommodation arrangements whether PTDF pays direct to uni or to students.

    1. You can find him here https://www.linkedin.com/in/tope-muslihudeen-salahudeen/

  8. Hi Mr Solomon , please I read your blog concerning the ptdf scholarship and I was quite impressed, please I have a question , I studied Education Economics & Statistics, but I am a web developer I have a certificate on that also (html,css, JavaScript,php) am currently learning flutter also, can I apply for Msc Information Technology or Computer Science would it be possible since my BSC isn't a science related course.Thanks

  9. I want to know if the NYSC certificate is mandatory at the time of application. I will be passing out by August this year. can I apply and bring the NYSC when I pass out

  10. here from nairaland, wonderful write up

  11. Pls after the programme will one have the opportunity to look for a job in UK or you must return to Nigeria

  12. In case you don’t get admission for your first choice but get for your second choice , will PTDF still cover the scholarship?

  13. Thank you for the information...what is your CGPA when applying ..and someone says uk is only for first class what is the true about that


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My name is Solomon Ubani, I'm a computer scientist. I have few years of programming experience. I am happy to learn from you.