Very often, students lack an experience or an understanding of scholarships. All they know is that it funds their studies, and that is it. As such, this makes it even harder when students want to get started to apply for a scholarship themselves, be it for Junior College (JC), polytechnic, or University.
Personally, I have had many experiences with scholarships (both good and bad) given the numerous opportunities I had as a student, from selecting which scholarships to apply for to the interview process.
As such, this article will be covering on the various aspects of a scholarship that students can look out for, and hopefully take these into consideration when applying for a scholarship in the future. The various aspects that I will be covering will be as follows:
• Types of Scholarship
• Tuition Coverage
• Scholarship Duration
• Bond Length
• Other Benefits
1. Types of Scholarship
There are 3 types of Scholarships available at the University level:
– University-level Scholarship (i.e. NUS Merit Scholarship)
– Mid-term or Faculty-level Scholarship
– External Organisation Scholarship (i.e. Enterprise Singapore Global Executive Scholarship)
Before applying for a scholarship, it is very important to check the eligibility criteria set by the organisation. This ensures that you properly select and apply for the right scholarships, without wasting any of your time.
Different scholarships have very different eligibility criteria. Some may have a minimum benchmark for your results, and some may not. There are also some scholarships that are only open to a certain group of people. For example, scholarships for international students.
As such, right before you even begin applying for any scholarship, take a quick 5 minutes to look at what kind of applicants the organisation wants as their scholars. This will definitely help you optimise the type of scholarships that you apply for.
3. Tuition Coverage
Many students apply for a scholarship mainly because of the coverage of tuition fees. This is also the main highlight of any scholarship and contributes to the majority of the scholarship value.
As such, it is important that you ask yourself these questions. What does this scholarship cover? Does it match what I am looking for?
In today’s society, there is a myriad of scholarships available for students ranging from partial scholarships, to full scholarships. Partial scholarships may not cover the entirety of your study duration (we will get to this in the next segment) or may not cover the entirety of your tuition fees. Some partial scholarships may also only offer a one-time pay out in the form of a subsidy towards your schooling expenses.
However, these tend to have lower entry requirements and are often less recognised compared to full scholarships. Full scholarships on the other hand cover most, if not all of your tuition fees and usually brings on a few added benefits which will be covered under “Other Benefits”.
Many undergraduates give Part-time Tuition to earn their living expense.
4. Scholarship Duration
Every scholarship has a stipulated duration, and this can range from a fixed period of 1 year, to the entire period of your study in that particular institution.
Scholarships offered by NUS:
– NUS Merit Scholarship
– NUS Global Merit Scholarship
– NUS Sports Scholarship
– ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship
– Wee Cho Yaw Future Leaders Award
Faculty-level Scholarship (e.g. NUS Business):
– NUS Business Dean’s & Mochtar Riady Scholarships
NUS Mid-term/Faculty-level Scholarship
Faculty-level Invitation-only Scholarships (e.g. NUS Business):
– Leong Siew Meng Memorial Scholarship
– Mr & Mrs Wu Jieh Yee Memorial Scholarship
For scholarships that last a year, they often require you to re-apply again after your existing scholarship has expired. For scholarships that last through your study period at the institution, they often set a minimum benchmark that you would have to maintain, ensuring that you keep a reasonable standard to maintain the image of the scholarship.
5. Bond Length
Scholarship Bond Length is a double-edged sword. It can be good, it can be bad, and this is often debated or discussed upon.
Some scholarships offered by public organisations, statutory boards or the government require you to serve a minimum duration in that organisation after your graduation. This means having to work for them until your bond expires.
This period can range from a short stint of 1 year to a long service of 5 years.
However, scholarships offered by educational institutions themselves often do not carry a bond. Once you have completed your studies, you are free to make your own decisions.
Having a bond can be good as it guarantees you a job after your graduation. You do not need to go through the hassle of looking for a job and competing with many other fresh graduates in the working society.
In fact, the company that offered you the scholarship is very likely to groom you to be an asset to the company after having spent so much on your studies. You are very likely to rise quickly through the ranks and even get many opportunities to represent the company on various levels (5 Important Life Skills for Work)
However, this may not be very ideal to some students. Having to serve for a fixed period of time limits your options after graduation. You are not able to look for another job in another industry if you had a change in your mind over the course of study. Worse still, you are not able to escape from the company if you dislike the working environment until you finish serving your bond.
As such, it is ultimately up to what you want or how you plan your future to be when selecting your scholarship.
EDIT: It is especially important to consider the current job landscape. Most feel that having no bond and the free will to apply anywhere is better, but that is not the case most of the time. Look at the Graduate Employment Survey for your course, and look at the Employment Rate and Employment Opportunities after graduation.
**If you find that your course is one that has low employment, or most switching careers/professions right out of University, it is a strong sign that you should accept the Bonded Scholarship – as bad as that might sound, your degree is not very employable (competitive).
Application for External Scholarships: BrightSparks
6. Other Benefits
More often than not, scholarships do not just cover tuition fees. They offer much more to students both tangible and intangible.
Some scholarships offer their scholars study allowances, subsidising their expenses as a student. They can also offer you other monetary benefits in the form of book allowances, computer allowances, and even overseas travel grants for your university exchanges.
However, scholarships are also not all about the money. They each carry their own reputation and image which can be very important to a student.
As you accept a scholarship, you are immediately branded as a scholar by that organisation and you benefit from the image the organisation is perceived to be in society. This testimonial can help shape your future and your career as long as you satisfy the scholarship requirements.
I have personally applied for numerous scholarships and have been offered quite a few as well. Applying for all these scholarships, I often took a lot into consideration, from what I wanted as my future, what the scholarship had to offer me, as well as what my current circumstances at that point were.
Ultimately, to determine what scholarship suits you best, you as students yourself should begin to plan for your future. Identify what you want and what you do not want. From there, find scholarship that match your personal requirements and see through the entire application process.
You can consider giving Home Tuition in University, to off-set the expenses.
(This article was written by our tutor Dave)