You know you want a scholarship! Or do you?
Yes, a scholarship is a great opportunity – it pays for an (expensive) university education, often with stipends and bonuses, and provides a level of job safety as you will definitely have a position upon graduation.
These are all great advantages to having a scholarship, but there are also things to consider before you choose to undertake one. It’s important to take some time to do some serious thinking and research, so that you don’t regret your choices later.
BrightSparks is here for all your scholarship needs, and that includes the very first step – whether you should start on the path to a scholarship or not.
1. Scholarships present Unique Challenges
Aspiring scholars should be fully prepared for the unique challenges that come with a scholarship – and be ready to face them. Taking up a scholarship shouldn’t be about the prestige attached to the name or the huge monetary savings, education-wise.
Even though these factors are why scholarships appear so attractive, your decision on whether or not to embark on a scholarship journey should be based on how much of a good fit you feel you are for your future job and sponsoring organisation. It helps immensely if you possess a genuine passion or interest – you’ll need it to sustain you when the time comes to serve your bond.
Scholarship-related decisions are not easy to make, especially for curious and hesitant 18-year-olds. Think carefully, and decide with a full picture in mind.
2. A Degree vs. An Education
Most (if not all)
scholarship boards will require you to maintain an excellent academic record
during your time at university, and failing to achieve the requisite Grade
Point Average (GPA) might result in the scholarship provider terminating your
This can inadvertently cause you to make compromises. For example, you may feel ‘forced’ to sacrifice your interest in a more challenging subject for another that will get you a higher grade. Are you going to sign up for a fascinating subject with a professor who is notorious for awarding grades no higher than a ‘B’, or take up a module you have no interest in but which promises an easy ‘A’?
These dilemmas can influence the quality of the education you receive, because you may naturally be more inclined to pick modules based on how easy they are to score in, or how relevant they are to your future work. But in doing so, many a scholar has missed out on interesting and eye-opening experiences that may have led to different adventures.
3. Staying On, Dragging your Feet
Scholars who have served their four- to six-year bonds will usually find themselves in their late 20s or early 30s. At that point, they might already be married and perhaps even have started their own families.
If you find yourself in that position, you may also have more financial considerations than before – there’s housing and car loans to pay, dependents to support, the list goes on.
All this has made people stay with their bonded organisations because it’s the only thing they have experienced in their professional lives. They choose the security and safety of work they’ve been trained for, over new opportunities that might yield greater fulfillment and happiness. Do you see yourself facing this scenario, ten or so years down the road? If so, a scholarship might not be the path for you.
4. Ask Yourself the Right Questions
Identify your aspirations, strengths and shortcomings when making any scholarship decision. What do you want to stand for when all has been said and done?
Examine your career goals, and imagine what your ideal job would be like. Do you want your work to be about embracing a sense of adventure, building a more cohesive society, balancing financial portfolios or furthering scientific goals?
Take a personality test, ask friends and family, and do your research before applying to any scholarship. A scholarship is a big decision, so consider it carefully.
If you choose to take up a scholarship, you also ought to be fully aware that even though it opens many doors for you, it might also expose you to various unforeseen consequences. Aside from the obvious time investment of the bond, there are expectations for scholars regarding grades and performance.
A scholarship is a long commitment that
will take you down roads that you may never have anticipated. As a scholar,
take responsibility for your decisions and understand that you – and only you –
are fully responsible for your decisions and your life.