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Exploring your Options – What you Should Be Researching

Many students make the mistake of only looking into scholarships only when the GCE ‘A’ Levels results are released (and the latest issue of BrightSparks magazine lands on their laps). This is a big no-no, as it leaves you with little to no time for research.


The window of scholarship applications is usually only one to two weeks long, far too little time for the sort of in-depth research scholarship applications need.


But the question is: what to research? There’s a temptation to simply look through a sponsoring organisation’s corporate website and call it a day. That would be a huge misstep, as thorough and in-depth research can only benefit your scholarship applications in many ways. Doing that gives you a clearer picture of the scholarships available (and hence which to target), outlines future career options, and helps ensure your choice is right for you.


For starters, you should definitely look into the following:


The Sponsoring Organisation


It goes without saying that you should learn all you can about the sponsoring organisations you wish to apply to. What is their purpose? How many departments do they have, and which ones are you interested in? What sort of career path can you expect as a scholar with this organisation? What is the day-to-day work like?


While you might not be able to get complete answers to your questions, research will help clarify things. Surf the internet and read up about projects your organisation is involved in, connect with people in the industry or organisation, speak to scholars or your seniors. Doing these things will help you get a clearer picture of the organisation and your prospective career in it.


The Educational Options


For the sponsoring organisation, their objective in funding your scholarship is so that you will become an asset to them in the future. For that reason, they may impose limitations on the courses of study you can take, or have requirements in terms of grades and accomplishments. For obvious reasons, it’s good to find out about these, and plan your applications accordingly to avoid disappointment.


On the flip side, your scholarship may also entitle you to unique programmes and special benefits. Some scholars get priority for dormitory access, internship opportunities, or the opportunity to attend talks or networking events. Syed Ismail Muhammad Idris, SgIS Full-Term Scholar, enthusiastically described his participation in the SgIS Scholar’s Network, which kept scholars connected and ran charitable programmes.


The Developmental Opportunities


These include internships, workshops and fairs that widen your exposure and give you a chance to get up close with your organisation and its work. They also help you picture what they are expecting from a scholar with their organisation. Many of our scholars tell us that it was an internship with the prospective organisation that got them interested, or that they were attracted to unique educational opportunities on offer.


For example, Lim Ying Xuan, MaritimeONE Scholar, told us that becoming a MaritimeONE scholar gave her an internship with Jurong Port, which gave her career a head start.  


Having given you an idea of what to research, it’s time to begin! Look through your options, learn about the organisations, and choose your future wisely.


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