A level student, congratulations! The dreaded A levels are finally over! While it is tempting to live in blissful oblivion for the next 3 months until your results are released, you might want to consider what is to come.

Are you going to university? If so, where and how? It is in answering the ‘how’ question that you might want to consider getting a scholarship, because tertiary education is not cheap, especially for those who come from humbler backgrounds.

Types of scholarships

In Singapore, we have a myriad of scholarships, to cater to a variety of interests and needs. Scholarship providers range from the government to industry leaders to universities, and the courses that you can study are varied. Scholarships can be bonded or bond free. Even when you become a scholar is your choice – right after A levels, or after you have studied for some time in university (these are the mid-term scholarships). You can find out more about the scholarships up for grab at www.brightsparks.com.

Reasons for getting a scholarship

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The most obvious reason for getting a scholarship is of course for the funding. University tuition fees are not cheap, costing $8000 per year for even the cheapest course in Singapore. That is not including textbooks costs (if you want to pass your exams), hostel fees (if you want to enjoy hall life), overseas cost of living (if you want to go on exchange), summer school fees (if you want to graduate earlier) and a plethora of other expenses.

By getting a scholarship, all these will be paid for you. In addition, you might even get an allowance of $1,000 per month if your scholarship provider is generous. Say goodbye to the days of sucking up to your parents just to get a pittance; you will find financial freedom in a scholarship. Sounds good, huh? In a nutshell, if you want to experience the whole range of experiences that your university (and life) have to offer, without being bridled by financial constraints, then get a scholarship.  

Another reason for getting a scholarship is to secure a good future. Scholarships are given out to individuals whom the government/ big companies want to groom. The management team will know you exist and will keep an eye out for you. This will translate into more opportunities and faster promotions. Basically, you will have a bright future, so long as you do not screw up like this guy.

Getting a bonded scholarship also saves you from having to find a job in the future. In exchange for your freedom, you get job security. Right now, many of my friends have already begun the long, tedious and demoralising process of job hunting. They attend resume writing workshops to learn the art of selling themselves. They go to networking sessions hoping that the next person they meet will be the key to getting into a good company. They mail out applications after applications (a friend’s record is 41 in a semester), yearning for the elusive internship at a good company. All the while, they have to worry about their grades (only first class honours will do!). Watching them, I am glad I took up my scholarship offer (and that my scholarship board only requires a second upper class).

If you are nearly convinced that you should get a scholarship, then know just one last thing. When people know you are a scholarship holder, many automatically assume you are smart and capable. Of course, you should not go around introducing yourself as a scholarship holder. Show offs are never welcome. But it’s nice when people automatically assume the best of you.