Upon reading this title question, you probably think the answer is “As many as possible!” In which case, you’re wrong.
If you apply for every scholarship out there that offers the course you want to study, you’ll soon find yourself in an organisational nightmare as you try to sort out interview schedules, activity days, and other obligations while fielding calls from representative after representative.
Sponsoring organisations, too, have shared with us horror stories about candidates who did not even know the name of the scholarship they were applying for, or who were only interested in talking about the value of the award. Such unprepared applicants were quickly shown the door.
To prevent yourself from becoming another casualty, you should answer the question above differently. The correct response, in our opinion, is “as many as fit my needs and interests, and those of the sponsoring organisation”.
The BrightSparks Scholarship Comparison Table will also be a handy tool for you as you weigh your options. Use this to compare up to 20 scholarships at one go, perfect for when you need a broad, clear perspective.
Research is key to the First Cut
Remember, it is not about the number of applications, but each and every sponsoring organisaton as an individual offer. Do extensive research on organisations offering scholarships and why – and shortlist the ones with a mission that resonates with you.
If you are passionate about helping people in the community, you may have the makings of a People’s Association Scholar. Or if you are attracted to a global perspective in a fast-growing sector, Maritime Port Authority of Singapore may be the organisation for you.
So get to reading not just the BrightSparks website and magazine, but corporate websites, annual reports, even news clippings that mention an organisation’s achievements and milestones. Trust us, you’ll be able to feel the spark of connection that indicates that organisation is somewhere you want to be.
Narrow down the Choices by Consulting Others
Next, try to go a bit deeper and further in your search. What do we mean? Reach out to friends, family and school resources to get recommendations on what you should go for. As these people see you from the outside, you may gain unexpected insight as to where your interests lie.
Book a session with an education counsellor and go over your shortlist, get into contact with seniors who may have taken up the same scholarship, and don’t forget to visit fairs and events! Extensive networking will not only help you define your decisions on where to apply, you’ll gain useful contacts and knowledge as well.
The Last Step: Look into Yourself
Finally, you have to consult in-depth with the one person you cannot neglect: yourself. What do you want to do with your life? That’s the big question you need to answer before you start applying yourself to anything. Identify your aspirations, strengths and shortcomings when making any scholarship decision.
If you are less than certain about your ultimate career goal, you may wish for a more flexible scholarship which supports exchange programmes, hobbies and CCA involvement. Or if you have a place you definitely want to reach, you may opt for a scholarship with a clear career track.
Ultimately, choose the scholarships which are closest to yourself and your interest. When you decide what purpose your education is to serve you, you will be able to see which kind of scholar you are – and what scholarship suits you best.
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