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Scholarships in the Now: The Pros and Cons

Fri, 02/11/2022 Zhou Mei An
Scholarships in the Now: The Pros and Cons

Scholarship offerings have changed in recent years, especially in light of recent events. Keep updated on what that offer means in 2022 with our updated list of pros and cons.

The benefits include:

Financial security 

Snag a scholarship, and you need not worry about paying for your university. That has always been a big draw and will continue to be. You will also benefit from stipends, allowances and be in the running for further financial rewards depending on the sponsoring organisation.

Job security

This and guaranteed career development are the biggest advantages of a scholarship now. JobTech, a start-up that provides AI job matching and labour market analysis, has reported that as some industries faced a large decline in job openings, there are fewer new-graduate jobs overall, making job seeking difficult. Industries dented by the pandemic, such as tourism, are also the worst affected. 

Hence, a scholarship, which guarantees you a job from 4 to 6 years upon graduation, is a great way to secure job security and begin building up experience in your chosen industry.

Guaranteed career development 

Another gloomy prospect facing fresh graduates is having to take up an unrelated job to pay the bills, hence losing out their “starter years” in their industry of choice. As Mr Adrian Choo, founder of career consulting company Career Agility International said in the Straits Times, taking up temporary jobs such as private-hire car drivers is unadvisable as graduates can “get trapped in it and lose out on (having a) bigger career strategy”.

A scholarship is definitely a good start to a bigger career strategy. Your work will be industry-relevant, provide learning opportunities, and most organisations ensure their scholars go on rotations and participate in industry events and conferences for even more exposure. 

Professional network-building opportunities

Such industry exposure leads to the last advantage of scholarships – the chance to build up a professional network. Such a task is daunting for a fresh graduate who has to start from scratch, and support from your sponsoring organisation will be vital in getting you “in” with the right people and organisations.

Sponsors often have a dedicated career path for their scholars that fast-forwards them to management or leadership positions, which are very scarce in the current employment outlook. Take advantage of these with a scholarship and start your career right!

However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to today’s problems, and so scholarships have their drawbacks. Before you apply, you may wish to consider:

Lack of overseas options

The chance to live overseas all expenses paid has long been a big draw of scholarships. However, with travel curtailed and some countries shutting borders, many undergraduates have been on home-based learning since starting their degree. So even if you do score the coveted offer, it does not necessarily mean you will get to study wherever you want. 

Shifting priorities

Sponsoring organisations are changing with the times along with everyone else. So if you have had a certain scholarship in mind since your primary school days (like many of our MINDEF scholars), make a note to check the BrightSparks website to see if they are looking for anything different now.

Do keep up with the news as well. Straits Times reported that scholarship providers are now prioritising digital skills and a leadership mindset when it comes to picking their next scholars. 

Stiff competition

If you think it will be easy to score a scholarship, think again! Many A-levels recipients and polytechnic graduates have, just like you, noted the advantages of this offer and opted in. 

Make sure you are prepared to put in some serious time and effort into your scholarship preparation. Only then do you stand a chance to reap the benefits! 

With this pros and cons list, you should have a clearer idea of whether you want to go for a scholarship or not. But if you are still on the fence, we would say… just try it! After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and scholarships are no different. 

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