In 2003, Mitch Albom made waves with his novel, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”. Today, as you browse BrightSparks and wonder which organisations to apply for, we’d like to introduce you to “The Five People you Should Ask About Scholarships”.
These are five people who either know a lot about you, a lot about scholarships, or a lot about education in various proportions. Ask for their advice, listen to their opinions, and be prepared to look at yourself and your scholarship selection with a clearer mind afterwards.
And thankfully, you don’t even need to go to Heaven to meet them! They are all at most only an appointment away.
So who are these people? They are:
1. Your parents
Well, of course you should talk to your parents first about most things, especially something as important as a scholarship. Arrange a frank discussion with them about where they would like you to go, what the finances are like, and where you see yourself in five years.
Also, if you’re interested in a particular industry or scholarship, your parents might be an unexpected source of information about it. They can hook you up with friends who may have gone through the same in their time, or industry veterans who know what working in that field is like. Use that connection!
2. Your peers and seniors
This is another no-brainer. And frankly, even if we told you not to talk to peers and seniors, you probably would not heed us anyway. Discussing with those in the same position will show you new perspectives and different ways of looking at scholarships, while conversations with your seniors can offer guidance and advice.
Again, if there’s a specific scholarship you want to aim for, try to talk to a senior who was awarded it. There’s nothing like learning from the horse’s mouth!
3. Your school guidance counsellor
Career guidance counselling is becoming more and more prevalent in JCs and polys, and with good reason. Educational coaches are trained to provide advice that’s tailored to your educational journey.
One major advantage is that educational coaches draw on a wide breadth of relevant experience when giving advice. They often have extensive networks in the field, and can give very specific pointers about how to make your application stand out, what grants and scholarships to apply for, and, most importantly, what it will all mean for you.
4. Lecturers and presenters at events
If there’s a Virtual Career Fair or Study Fair going on, sign up! These are some of the best places to ask questions, make contacts, and meet sponsoring organisations up close.
Also, many of the lecturers and presenters at these events have been briefed specifically to talk to potential applicants like you. This means they know what information you need to know, or what you might have missed – sometimes even before you’ve asked your questions!
5. Organisational representatives
If there are organisations you are interested in joining, reaching out to them is a great first step. You can make some time to connect with their reps at online events, or even just email the organisation directly and ask to be put in contact with someone.
Most organisations are constantly on the lookout for young talent to sponsor, so your initiative and drive will make a good impression! And even if they cannot provide you a single point of contact, most organisations will be happy to direct you to their events, sharing sessions and webinars for you to learn more.
Having met (and talked extensively to) these five people, do you feel more secure in your scholarship choice? We hope so!