So you’ve reviewed your options, spoken to organisation reps at various events, and narrowed down the list. You know where you want to apply for a scholarship. You know how you want to contribute to that industry, and where you want to go in that sector.
The next step: writing the application that will get you an interview.
Faced with the blank BrightSparks application page, your mind feels similarly empty. What should you write about? Which of your numerous CCA achievements should you mention? Would a testimonial from your form teacher be preferred over one from a volunteer group leader?
Don’t get mired in the mess. We’ll help you straighten it out, with our five steps to writing a stand-out BrightSparks application that’s sure to get you noticed. So let us take your hand, and guide you as step-by-step.
1. Sort your documents
The first step directly relates to the dilemma mentioned above. Often, candidates have too many certificates, awards and testimonials and hence no idea what to upload.
Sort out this mess by getting your documents in order. Organise them according to the nature of each accolade, then scan and save them into appropriate folders. Sort the physical papers the same way, so you know what to bring for each interview.
Not only does this organise your physical and digital files, it organises your mind as well. It will also make it much easier for you to find what you want when you actually start applying.
2. Tailor your application to the organisation
While we at BrightSparks pride ourselves on offering a one-stop application portal that auto-fills your particulars for every application, that doesn’t mean you should be submitting the same application to every organisation!
Before you apply to a particular organisation, go through their corporate website and BrightSparks page to see what they’re looking for in a scholar. Then, you can tailor your application to those requirements.
For example, SNCF prizes an applicant's leadership qualities and interest in co-operative work and if they have pioneered or supported any Social Entrepreneurial initiatives. So an applicant aiming for their scholarship would do well to highlight a small business they supported, or any intriguing startup ideas he or she may have!
3. Be concise and organisation-focused
Under the Scholarship Resume section, don’t leave the “Brief Description” or “Remarks” boxes empty! They are a rare chance to showcase a bit of your personality, values and aspirations.
Write out short, concise descriptions of your contributions in to your CCA group or what a particular award means to you. You may wish to use bullet points or write a short paragraph depending on your style.
Pro tip: Remember the organisation is also looking to see how you can contribute to them! So it’s best practice to make sure your points relate to an organisation’s mission or cause. For example, an award in a robotics competition may place you in good stead to explore further automation development with LTA.
4. Apply on BrightSparks
Now that you’ve got it all drafted out, it’s time to enter all that information into BrightSparks! Set aside a good half hour or forty-five minutes and proceed slowly and carefully.
It’s a good idea to use the “Save as Draft” function regularly to make sure you don’t lose any of your painstakingly entered data. And remember, if your account is idle for more than 20 minutes, the system will log you out. Your information will not be saved unless you've completed all the mandatory fields.
5. Do a final check before submission
After you’ve finished the form-filling, take a break. Step away from the computer/tablet/handphone, play a game or go for a walk.
When you come back, you’ll be ready for the final step. Thoroughly check your application before submitting it. Look out for grammar/spelling errors, confusing document names, and mis-typed titles and/or designations. You might want to get a friend or family member to give the application a last read-through, as well.
If you have finished all five steps, congratulations! Click send and don’t look back – look forward to your interview!