Many school leavers have misconceptions about scholarships, selection panels and recipients. So read on to clear your doubts!
Increased education opportunities over the past two decades in Malaysia have led to an increase in scholarships for pre-university, undergraduate and postgraduate students. This has resulted in a few misconceptions, notably these two contrasting views: ‘scholarships are easy to come by’ and ‘scholarships are only for brilliant students!’
The following are important factors to take into account if you are contemplating applying for a scholarship or if you’ve closed the door on applications because you think you don’t make the grade.
Scholarships don’t come easy!
Yes, scholarships are aplenty but they are only given out to deserving candidates.
The first step towards being successful in a scholarship application is submitting a well-written application.
A shoddy written application will reduce your chances in an age when so many straight-As students are produced and are therefore, forced to compete against each other.
So remember, securing 10 or 11As in your SPM examinations is not a guarantee to a scholarship.
The application process
This usually involves two stages. The first, submission of a written application, the second, being shortlisted and attending an interview. At the latter, the candidate will meet with a selection panel comprising about two to five individuals who are either heads of organisations, key officers of organisations or academics such as vice chancellors or other high-ranking university staff members.
Some scholarship-awarding bodies conduct second interviews to make their final selection.
The hunt for scholarships
Notices of scholarships are provided through the newspapers, organisation websites and sometimes, television and radio. Also check with school counsellors as some organisations, especially overseas universities or foundations, provide schools with information about scholarships and closing dates for applications.
It will also be useful to conduct a scholarship search for Malaysia and foreign countries through an Internet search engine, as such searches could give you a list of scholarship bodies. During such a search, you are also bound to be referred to helpful links or websites such as doctorjob.com.my which features a useful Scholarship Watch section.
While academic results are important criteria for a scholarship candidate, each selection panel will give academic achievements varying degrees of importance. Therefore, it’s certainly not the case that only candidates with excellent academic results receive scholarships.
The all rounder
Once again, selection panels don’t just look at academic results. The candidates who will stand out are all rounders with well-balanced achievements in both academic and extracurricular pursuits.
Scholarships are not awarded merely to candidates who come from poor backgrounds.
After securing a scholarship, you will need to live up to the expectations of the awarding body for the entire duration of your studies. Therefore, you cannot afford to slacken in your academic or extracurricular achievements. Some scholarship bodies reserve the right to withdraw a scholarship if a recipient’s performance is not up to par.
Now that your doubts are cleared and if you are serious about trying for a scholarship, give it a go!
Scholarships, loans, grants. What do they all mean? doctorjob clues you in.
A scholarship is an award given to people for educational purposes. Scholarships can cover tuition fees, accommodation, meals and even return air flights. Scholarship recipients do not have to repay the scholarship amount upon completion of their studies, however, they may have to required to work with the corporation or body that granted the scholarship for their studies.
- Full-scholarships cover everything and might even include money for books and reference materials.
- Partial scholarships usually cover tuition fees only. You have to come up with the rest of the money yourself.
- Some scholarships are awarded on a yearly basis depending on your results.
A loan is a sum of money given to people for certain purposes. Study loans are specifically for students intending to further their studies to tertiary level either locally or abroad. Loan recipients need to repay the full amount with interest within the duration of time as specified in the terms and conditions of the loan.
Some loans (especially those offered by the government) can be turned into partial or full-scholarships depending on your results eg if you get a first class honours degree, the loan can be converted into a full-scholarship.
A grant is a sum of money usually given to scientists, researchers and postgraduate students to fund their research. Grants are given out by governmental and private organizations to encourage research and development. Grant recipients do not have to repay the grant amount.