As the A-Level results are released, many of you will be applying for scholarships in hopes of furthering your education and pursuing your career. Doubtless, some of you will be wondering exactly what makes a scholar a scholar.
What sort of person are organisations looking to sponsor and welcome to their work, and how can I become someone like that?
We would love to help you there. To find out what “scholarship material” means, BrightSparks looked through previous scholarship interviews to ascertain what traits and characteristics scholars possessed that made them desirable to sponsoring organisations.
A Personal Experience
Many scholars cited a personal calling towards the work of the organisation that inspired them to apply. Some remember being inspired by university professors, tutors, or volunteer leaders.
For example, DSP Wong knew she wanted to be in the public service since her childhood days because of her father, a police officer himself.
“Given how interesting and varied one’s career can be and the sense of satisfaction my father derived from solving cases and upholding law and order, I wanted to embark on the same career,” she recalled. “Furthermore, I have always wanted to give back to society, and joining the Public Service was a natural route.”
Embracing Learning Opportunities
There used to be a misconception that a scholarship confines someone to a single pathway in a single ministry. However, when asked what was exciting about their education and career, many scholars cited the job rotations and different assignments.
Hence, it’s no surprise that scholars are advised to have “an insatiable appetite for knowledge”, and “curiosity”, “passion”, and “amibition”.
Low Yi Hui, CAG Scholar, loved travelling. So, it was only natural she would want to contribute to an airport’s growth and transformation.
Her advice was: “Being adaptable, and always be prepared to learn and relearn. The environment around us will continue to evolve so we need to keep adapting and learning new ways to learn better to keep up with the changing conditions. This allows us to be ready when presented with opportunities.”
Passion and Conviction
Scholars also emphasised a passion for the organisation’s work, of being part of a greater whole and contributing to society in some tangible way.
“Working in the defence sector meant that there wouldn’t be a push for publication, which affords me more time and effort to focus purely on my research. Additionally, there was always the flexibility of pursuing a PhD in the future with the DSO Postgraduate Scholarship if I so desired,” said DSTA scholar Angus Foo Dun Shiong.
Ultimately, in order to enjoy and stay committed to any organisation, you should feel passionate about joining and playing a part to contribute to their greater purpose.