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Applying for Scholarships – 5 Tips to Pick your Scholarship

The “A” Levels results release today! We hope all students got the results they worked for – and qualify for the scholarships they wish for.

We believe that you have compiled your portfolio and uploaded all the relevant documents into our BrightSparks portal. Remember, you only need to register and upload once, and you will be able to apply to as many scholarships as interest you. 

If you need any help uploading your application, do give our BrightSparks Application Guide a read.

But now you may be stuck. Where to apply?

We have previously recommended that a graduate extensively research the available sponsoring organisations and perhaps take an internship or two to determine ‘fit’ and get to know the work culture. Such preparation leads to an informed scholarship decision, and the applicant can apply with confidence.

However, with scholarship season having begun in earnest, there might simply not be enough time. So before you apply for everything in a panic (and find yourself inundated with interviews and essays), here are some small tips for shortlisting your scholarships:


Tip 1: Some research is better than none. Google away!

Even a cursory scan of an organisation’s corporate website will provide valuable information about their work and mission. Read up on past projects, current research objectives, and work culture to see which scholarships and organisations interest you.

For a good understanding of scholarships available, the BrightSparks magazine is a good place to start. You can look through the Scholarships and Courses Guide for a comprehensive table on scholarships available, or read the scholar interviews to get a better idea of organisational cultures and work dynamics. There are also tips and guides for aspiring scholars on how to network and ace the scholarship interview.

Give it a look through, and start shortlisting what looks interesting!


Tip 2: Search yourself. Can you see yourself in this organisation for the long haul?

As you go through the BrightSparks portal, many scholarships may catch your eye.

But can you see yourself staying with the sponsoring organisation throughout the bond period, or will you get tired after the first blush of interest wears off?

Most scholarships feature a bond of four to six years. It’s a big commitment where the first few years of your career will be dedicated to a particular organisation. Also, many scholarship providers have certain career paths planned for their scholars that might be more rigorous and dynamic. Are you prepared for job rotations, long assignments, and industry-specific challenges?

Be sure that you can continue working with passion in an organisation before you apply for the scholarships it offers.


Tip 3: Search yourself more. Do you just want a free education?

Some students, when asked which scholarship they are applying for, simply reply with, “any organisation that will pay for my degree” or “any organisation that will send me overseas”.

This doesn’t work. Sponsoring organisations are looking for individuals who are passionate about the work they do, and willing to go the distance with them. It goes without saying that if a scholar’s passion only lasted until the completion of the bond (or the degree), the person would be a bad fit.

Also, sponsoring organisations often have requirements in terms of grades, as well as special programmes for their scholars. These may limit your education, and you will feel resentful at being “forced” to participate because you accepted a scholarship.

Avoid these future difficulties by being sure of yourself and your educational path in the now.


Tip 4: Check your options. Does the organisation offer the course you want to take?

It’s happened all too often – a candidate researches extensively, is hyped to join a dynamic organisation, and submits an amazing portfolio. Only to learn during the interview that the organisation only sponsors a degree in something completely different.

Avoid wasting your time like this by checking if the scholarship provider sponsors the field of study you wish to enter. It’s a good idea to check if they have specific requirements regarding eligibility and grades as well.

The BrightSparks Scholarships and Courses 2020 Guide features hundreds of scholarships in an easy-to-read format with all the vital information (courses available, bond period, etc.) at your fingertips. Make sure to give it a look-through before you apply!

Tip 5: Apply as soon as possible! 

The window for scholarship applications is short. Many organisations close their applications at the end of March, some even earlier.

So, there’s no time to be lost! As soon as you know what you want to apply for, login to BrightSparks and start uploading.


BrightSparks wishes all graduates all the best with their scholarships! Apply on BrightSparks today!


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