Educate yourself about scholarships

Posted on: April 8th, 2013 by bankstpm

WHEN it comes to scholarships in Malaysia, they generally fall into one of two categories: corporate or government, or college based. Corporate or government scholarships are often a student’s best bet to study overseas, as many of them cover not only tuition fees, but living, computer and travel expenses as well. At the same time, they encourage their scholars to pursue their degree overseas and for SPM school-leavers, it will cover pre-university programmes. 

When applying for corporate or government scholarships, one should be aware that this educational windfall is subject to several requirements; the most common stipulations are that students must choose to pursue their studies in one of a few preferred fields listed by the organisation at a university that has been approved of, and that upon graduation, these scholars are bonded to the organisation.
On the other hand, college-based scholarships come from within a student’s institution of choice and represent a partial or complete waiver of tuition fees. The scholarship is
of course specific to the institution, so potential candidates should have a some degree of certainty about where they would like to study before applying for or accepting a college-based scholarship. Often with college-based scholarships, there are no bonding requirements, allowing students the freedom to choose their place of work.
Read the fine print
A scholarship means education opportunities – and it also means financial relief. Often, there is the assumption that a scholarship, especially those that send candidates
overseas, will cover every cost. While this is so with some scholarships, there are those that award partial payment of fees, only pay for tuition costs or do not provide living
and accommodation expenses.
When applying for scholarships, it is best to be aware of what costs the scholarship is bound to cover, and what are the costs that you will need to fork out yourself.
Interview sessions
What’s the secret to a successful scholarship interview? It could be any number of things, and Angela Pok, the Director of Student Experience at Taylor’s University, reveals that the ability to communicate clearly and eloquently is highly rated. “Our scholarship interviews focus on evaluating a candidate’s communication and leadership skills through their sharing of experiences with interviewers,” she says. In Taylor’s case, their courses are taught in English, and so they look for the added advantage of being able to converse profi ciently in the language.
The steps to obtaining a scholarship are sometimes as simple as attending an interview, or as complex as several levels of interviews combined with other elements and training workshops. Interviewers are generally looking at character, confi dence level and language profi ciency during the individual interview, while other elements that may include essay writing are implemented to judge skills that will be of use during a candidate’s study period.
“In the case of Taylor’s World Class Scholarship (TWCS), applicants are required to write an essay to put their critical thinking skills to test, as well as prepare a presentation to introduce themselves,” reveals Pok. Applicants of TWCS should also ensure that aside from excellent academic records and active participation in extra-curricular activities, they possess a positive character, good communication skills and leadership qualities.
Testing the latter is one of the main purposes of the workshops, camps or group interviews. This is where students are appraised for their ability to work in a team, observed on their ability to lead and judged on their critical thinking skills through group discussions and case studies.
What to keep in mind
Pok advises students to be cognisant of the credibility of institutions and organisations they are applying to for scholarships to get the best possible all-round education. If you are unsure, Pok suggests checking out university ratings. “For example, students should look out for universities and colleges that are rated by the Ministry of Higher Education in SETARA and D-SETARA. It will help give an indication of the quality of education being off ered in the university.”
Students should also be aware of the service bond attached to some scholarships. These bonds can range from two years to ten years, depending on the organisation and the amount spent on the scholarship. Before applying or accepting a scholarship with a bond, students should be comfortable with the idea of working for the awarding organisation for a certain number of years upon graduation. Opting out of a bond usually requires the graduate to pay back the scholarship funding, either in its entirety or a percentage.
For many people, winning a scholarship is a turning point in their lives. Because a scholarship can play such a vital role in your future, it is important to gather as much information as possible and make the right decisions. After all, your future depends on it.

Read more: Educate yourself about scholarships – Extras – New Straits Times


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