For over a decade, the BrightSparks Scholarship & Education Survey has provided an in-depth examination into student mindsets, priorities and sources of information and guidance. This year, too, the results of the survey provide a wellspring of insights as how GCE-A Level and International Baccalaureate students, as well as polytechnic students and graduates think and feel about the educational and employment landscape. With the survey findings as a basis, scholarship providers can better formulate marketing, communication and outreach efforts that connect deeply with their target audience.
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Intention to Pursue Further Studies
Unsurprisingly, the majority of pre-university and polytechnic students are looking to further their studies, with the majority of the respondents opting to stay in Singapore.
Intention to Apply for Scholarships
Scholarships are still coveted among respondents, with 75% of them either looking to apply for scholarships or already on a scholarship.
Methods to Finance Further Education Locally
It can be seen that respondents would prefer to have their further education in Singapore sponsored by a scholarship provider, failing which, they would rely on their parents to pay for their degree.
Reasons For Not Applying For a Scholarship
Out those who have no intentions to apply for a scholarship, the majority cited academic-related reasons. Notably, 56% of them are unaware of scholarships.
Scholarship Provider Rankings
Respondents were asked to select scholarship providers they had applied to or were intending to apply to. Based on those results, NUS remained the top preferred scholarship provider since 2019. However, MOE moved up to 2nd place and NTU dropped to 3rd.
Based on these rankings, respondents showed a preference for university-sponsored scholarships with NUS, NTU, SMU and Yale-NUS all appearing in the top 10. This may be due to the perception that university scholarships are bond-free.
Desire for a Shorter Bond Duration
2021’s cohort may have misunderstood the requirements of a full overseas scholarship, as the majority of them found a 3 to 4-year bond acceptable, when most overseas scholarships require a 5 to 6-year bond. It could also reflect their genuine preference for scholarships to have a shorter bond duration.
It can be inferred that that respondents prefer to work in organisations where they can enrich themselves, but not at the expense of personal time. Personal growth is more important than benefits and perks.
Preferred Sector to Work in (Top 10)
Just like in 2020, healthcare is ranked the top sector to work in.
Expected Starting Salary
Salary expectations in 2021 were lowered compared to 2020, with the majority looking at a range between $2,501 to $3,500. In 2020, the majority of respondents were expecting salaries from $3,001 to $4,000.