TIPS TO CLINCHING A SCHOLARSHIP
Checklist for scholarship
– Are you financially willing and able to afford tertiary education?
– Do you see yourself as someone who cannot stay put in a specific organization or industry for 4 to 6 years?
– Is your main motivation for applying for a scholarship prestige?
– Is a scholarship just a means for financing your undergraduate studies?
– Will you be tempted by offers to stray from your scholarship at the end of your undergraduate studies?
– Are you applying for a scholarship because all your peers are doing it? Or your parents are pressuring you into it?
If your answer to any of those questions is a yes, then it will probably be wise to rethink applying for a scholarship. Yet, if you feel like you require more help because you are seriously contemplating taking up a scholarship out of your own volition, read on.
TIP 1: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Doing research is an incredibly important but often overlooked step. Understand that applying for a scholarship is equivalent to applying for a job. It is a career that you’d undertake for 4 or 6 years post-graduation, depending on whether you take up an offer for a local university or a foreign one.
What’s next on your mind is probably: how do I go about doing my research?
For a start, you may consider asking yourself these questions:
1. What do you look for in a scholarship? (this list is not exhaustive)
– Career opportunities
– Organisational values that align with your own
– Global exposure
– Supported course of study
– Public/private sector
2. What course are you intending to read at university?
3. Will you be looking to further your studies at post-graduate level?
4. Are you looking for a bond-free scholarship or one that comes with a bond attached?
Understanding your own expectations will help you find a match with an organization that meets those ideals, but beyond that, research will also show in your interactions with the relevant scholarship officers.
Often times, students head for scholarship fairs or talks with no clear idea of what each organization does and end up not being able to seize the opportunity to ask for ‘personalised information’, that is, relevant information unique to the scholarship officer on the organization culture and their new direction for the specific year. By going the extra mile in research, you are expressing your sincerity to take on a career with the organization you have in mind.
Make use of resources that are readily available. For instance, you might head down to Brightsparks at http://student.brightsparks.com.sg/index.php for a comprehensive list of available public scholarships and their requirements. For bond-free scholarships, conduct an extensive search online for suitable ones.
TIP 2: DESIGNING AN ACADEMIC NICHE
Junior college (JC) is a period of our lives that is both hectic and exciting, where the academic workload doubles in magnitude and difficulty. Yet it will be vital for you to identify an area or two that you have the aptitude and passion for.
Even if you do not have a specific university course in mind at this point of time, it will be helpful to scope your options a little by focusing on one or two niches.
This focus is not limited to scoring As on the subject (though that would definitely be helpful) but also in taking part in relevant competitions that use the same area of knowledge. For instance, if you are interested in Economics, do not limit your expression of interest to Higher 3 Economics, but instead participate in business, market analysis and financial competitions as well.
These are concrete methods to show passion and interest in your subject of choice, which is more convincing than mere lip service in saying, “I’m really passionate about Economics” with nothing to show for it.
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