Scholarships, like current news articles and the activities of Hollywood actors, are the subject of much discussion and speculation.
As the ‘A’ Levels result release date draws near, students take an avid interest in scholarships and how to get them. But as with all subjects that are widely discussed, there can be a lot of misinformation floating about.
In this article, we tackle four popular misconceptions about scholarships, and set the record straight about that desirable award.
1. If you aren’t a perfect student, you don’t stand a chance.
It’s true that organisations take grades and achievements into account when choosing scholars, but those aren’t the only things that they look at. More than how many “A”s you have, organisations are looking for someone who has a passion for their mission and ideas for their future.
“Your values have to be aligned with the organisation, and it’s important to understand the role the organisation plays within the larger context,” said Aloysius Thum Yong Ze, ICA Scholar. His response describes the attitude of most organisations in picking a scholar, choosing someone who understands and contributes to their work.
Don’t believe us? Just sift through the BrightSparks magazine. Not one scholar mentions grades, but they do talk about getting to know the sponsoring organisation, feeling a calling towards a certain purpose, and having passion for the work they do.
2. The scholarship path is rigid and inflexible.
There is a perception that the post-scholarship bond will confine you to a certain job, whether you like it or not. But that simply isn’t the case.
Many organisations give their scholars opportunities to rotate amongst their different divisions, to expose them to many different careers. For some sponsors, this is even mandatory, as they believe that a diversity of experience fosters decision-making abilities and empathy for others. A scholar may be doing policy work for a few months, before moving to business development or even customer service on the “shop floor”.
Kenneth Pang, MPA Scholar, detailed how the scholarship enabled him to experience different job roles through internships and job rotations to prepare for an enriching career in the maritime industry. In fact, it was this diversity of experience that drew him to apply for the scholarship.
3. Competition for scholarships is too stiff, I will definitely fail even if I apply.
You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. Daring to try is the first step to securing a scholarship, or any other life-changing success. Many people look around at their well-qualified peers and lose their nerve, immediately concluding that they will never succeed.
Just give it a shot! What do you have to lose? Only a little time. What do you have to gain? An invaluable, life-changing experience.
4. I can only apply for scholarships directly after I graduate, once I start studying it’s over.
For students who cannot commit to a scholarship during the initial intake for whatever reason, the door is hardly closed. There are plenty of Mid-Term Scholarships on offer, and they come with their unique advantages as well. The HPB Mid-Term Scholarship, IRAS Mid-Term Scholarship and LTA Local/Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship (Mid-term) are just some of the offerings available.
In fact, waiting to apply for a mid-term scholarship could help you make a more informed and better scholarship decision at the end of the day.
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