Scholarships are often the best way to pay for higher education around the world. It is often given to talented students who wish to continue their studies but doesn’t have the finances to support it.
Since these scholarships can do a lot for one’s financial situation, they are very hard to get and there are caveats that you need to fulfil.
Down below is a brief guide on how you can get a scholarship for your local undergraduate studies:
Types of Scholarships in Singapore
Scholarships are divided into different types which indicate how it can be availed or given to a student.
They are the following:
Merit-based scholarships – they are given to students who achieved excellent scores and records in academics, art and athletics.
Need-based scholarships – they are given to students who have good grades but need financial help or have disabilities.
Student-specific scholarships – these are given to students from a particular culture or group that deserve it.
College-Specific scholarships – these are given to students who come from a specific school or educational facility
Career-specific scholarships – These are given to talented students who want to pursue a specific career.
In Singapore, scholarships are available through various groups: from the government like MOE to educational institutions like NUS. Some of these groups only offer certain types of scholarships which match their advocacy or industry.
If you are going to take local undergraduate studies, there are two categories for them – mid-term and full-term.
Mid-term scholarships fit students who are enrolled in an undergraduate course and have achieved the right amount of semesters to qualify for it. Full-term scholarships are for students who have yet to start their classes.
Their requirements also vary depending on what you are getting. For mid-term scholarship, the sponsoring organization will look at the student’s pre-university records and their current semesters. Meanwhile, full-term scholarships take into consideration the student’s pre-university records.
Be Unique in Your Application
When you are writing down your application and know which one you need, you need to make sure that your application stands out. You can do something totally different that will catch the eye of the organization offering the scholarship.
For example, you can take part in an internship in a respected group and get a great recommendation from them. Alternatively, be a volunteer in a clause that you are passionate about will help in your application as well.
The key is to humanize your resume and make it stand out from the rest. Ever travelled to 50 countries? Adventurous – put it in. Volunteer at elderly homes during weekends? Compassion – table it in. Running a blog shop on your website? Entrepreneur spirit – write it down.
Find Scholarships That Are Obscure
Don’t just focus your attention to scholarships which are well-known. Try doing deeper research to see what other organizations and groups are offering scholarships which you don’t know about.
These scholarships tend to have a smaller competition, which may increase your chances of getting it. Most of the time, these ‘obscure’ scholarships are given by private groups like what we are offering here.
You can also check out scholarships which have very strict requirements that fit you. It could be career-specific or college-specific scholarships.
Cast a Wider Net
Scholarships tend to have a lot of competition and it is important that you do not just focus your attention on a few of them.
When you apply, cast a wider net to more scholarships so you can increase your chances in getting one. If you focus only on popular scholarships, you will definitely find a lot of competition for it.
It is also not wrong to send a lot of scholarship applications. If you get accepted to most of them, you can have your pick of the prime selection and determine which one fits your needs the most. But please do remember to tailor each application specifically to the requirements the companies are looking for.
You also need to check the relevance of your achievements or experience for the scholarship you are intending to get.
For example, if you wish to apply for a science scholarship, you need to have experience in working for science-related institutions and groups.
If you are applying for a teaching scholarship from a school, you need to show your dedication by joining in various school activities or even take up tutoring to show your interest in teaching.
The best way is to plan your education direction early so that you can engage in extra-curriculum activities or even take on part-time jobs that are related to your degree and your future industry that you want to enter.
To support your scholarship application further, you need to make sure that you have a recommendation letter ready.
This recommendation letter can be written down by someone who knows your work well. They can be your school teacher or tutor, your internship supervisor or the officer-in-charge for your organization.
When you request them to write their recommendation, you can remind them about the things you have done for the school or work. You should also look at the recommendation letter format which some scholarships may require.
Prep for Interview
Before a company offers a potential candidate scholarship, there is usually the dreaded interview process. Many of us do not like speaking to strangers, which makes it more crucial that you practice before your interview date. If you get multiple interview requests, try your best to attend them since this will give you an idea of what you can expect.
Before heading to your interview, make sure that you have everything ready. You need to dress accordingly by wearing something professional or formal. It will give that idea to the interviewers that you are confident and serious about your application.
You can also think about your answers in advance to common interview questions, as well as stories that will accentuate your qualities. Stories are ideal if you want to explain your past achievements or experiences. Remember, you need to impress the group to grant you that scholarship. In other words, sell yourself.
You should also take the time to ask questions about the scholarship before the end of the interview. This will give you an idea of how you can sort out your next applications and let you know what the scholarship will require from you.
Once you finish the interview, it can get a little scary to wait for the results. Don’t panic and stress out about it because you have given your all for the interview. It is now up to the organization/school/private sector to give their decision.
If you get a scholarship, congratulations. This is the start of a long journey to completing your studies.
If you don’t get a scholarship, don’t lose hope. There’s a lot more out there that you can apply for. You can also revise your applications accordingly to make it better. Alternatively, you can use part of your CPF to pay off your school fees. With some hard work, you will be able to get that coveted scholarship, so hang in there!
Here are some other articles that can help you to score that scholarship: