Many people often ask me, “How did you apply for your scholarship?” “When did you start applying?” “How did you prepare for the scholarship interview?”. These are a few out of the many questions that students always ask when trying to apply for a scholarship to university as the cost of studying in private universities are quite burdensome for most parents.
For me, the key to getting a good scholarship is to apply as many scholarships as I can and as early as possible. With that only can I choose the best offer and be ahead of other students. I started applying for scholarships in Form 5 after my midterms examination. I used my midterms results to apply for few universities that I was looking at during that time. I know of some of my friends who did not apply during that time because they thought they could get better offers with their final SPM results. That is not really true because scholarships can be upgraded if your final results are far better than what you got before. To me, the earlier you apply, the better offers you can get as the saying goes, ‘the early bird gets the worm’.
Preparing my CV for scholarship application was a challenge. At first I did not know what I needed to include to have a better first impression. So all I did was include all my achievements in academic and extra curricular activities in a list. It is also very important to include any social work participation and leadership experience in the CV as this will make you stand out among the rest of the applicants. After preparing my CV, I sent them to the various universities that I was thinking of enrolling.
Fast forward a few weeks, I received a few offers from different universities for an interview. At that point of time, I have not decided which offer was the best so I just went for all the interviews I had gotten. Prepping for the interview was a challenge too. I was very worried that I could not answer the questions given to me but I still went for the interview hoping for the best. After attending a few interviews, I started to understand what most interviewers wanted out of me. All they wanted to see was how I speak and how I bring out myself as a person. Speaking fluent English is a plus point.
A few weeks later, I got a few scholarship offers from the various universities that I had interviewed. My parents left the choice of university that I wanted to enroll in to me. I read through the scholarship offer letters thoroughly.
After much thinking, I chose UCSI’s Principal Award Scholarship Offer because it was the best among the rest. There was no bond I had to fulfill and their offer was for my entire university life instead of just pre-university. Of course there were many other reasons why I chose UCSI but that was one of the main reason. I accepted the offer even before I sat for my SPM which was quite a relief for me because I knew I was guaranteed a full scholarship even before the dreaded exam. After my SPM, I was invited for the scholarship presentation ceremony at UCSI College.
It was really a privilege for me to be able to be one of UCSI’s fully supported scholars and I am truly grateful for that. Being a scholar in UCSI, I am also given the chance to do social work and learn many different skills. I was given the chance to teach the Malay Language to orphanage children under the UCSI Scholarship Enrollment Program. There were also many other activities that I was able to join to cultivate social and leadership skills in preparation for my future development.
My scholarship application and experience has been fun no doubt. My advice to high school students who wish to get a good scholarship offer in the future is to apply as early as you can and do not be afraid of the steps you have to go through later on. It is a good experience that we as students need to go through in life to learn important development skills.
Some students might be afraid to apply scholarship because of the fear of being unable to maintain it or the fear of the work that comes with it. However, after being a scholar for almost 2 years, I would think that the experience that comes with the scholarship is very valuable and not as demanding as people might say. It has been a great journey in my university life and I believe it will be till I finish my course here in UCSI. I have never regretted this choice of mine and I am forever grateful to UCSI for giving me this opportunity.