Thursday, March 18, 2004

*Scholarships in Singapore*

Sorry about the boring title...couldn't think of anything snazzy today...too much paperwork rots your brain...=)

Anyway, I've been following with some interest in the forum regarding the importance of academic grades in scholarship applications. As a student who is nearly willing to crawl over broken glass (okay, at least fill up my essay using only morse code with a self powered generator) to get an overseas scholarship, here's my two cents worth.

A government scholarship is a big thing. If nothing else, tax payers' money is going to majorly subsidise your education. A three/four year education in the UK will cost S$250,000 and the USA nearly twice that. As such, it is only fair that only the highest of criterias and most stringent of selection takes place. Fact: For the cohort of 2001, there were 1,300 4As student. For that of 2002, 1,500. For 2003, 1559 (ST numbers). As such, it would not be a stretch of imagination that at least a number of them would be able to pull off both brilliant grades and an active CCA and voluntary work.

Ms Lydia's first assumption is that somehow they are mutually exclusive. Perhaps, but not always so. Miss Mok from HC, now an A-Star scholar, combined straight As and distinctions with hundreds, yes hundreds of hours of community service. Wen Shan, took 3 S-papers with a very very healthy schedule in Wushu (in addition to her black belt in Tae Kwan-Do). I have a classmate who had 4As and 2 S-paper distinctions with As in her languages and was only offered a local scholarship. No offence, but with her grades, does she honestly expect tax money to pay for her way through?

Her second assumption is that since she triumped over adversity to get where she is, it should count for a lot. It does but well sorry me dear, so did a lot of people I know. And they still hit the grades. While I salute her resolve and fighting spirit to get where she is now, well, so do I others.

Third assumption, somehow success is determined by getting a govt scholarship. Maybe it is recognition from the highest body of the law, but yeah, I would be seriously upset if I didn't get a scholarhship but I'll be even more determined to make my way in life. Heck, my best odds looks like it's from the pte sector....

Regardless, I wish her all the best in finding a scholarship and success in life.



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