So I understand that this is the time of year that high-school and pre-U leavers are looking for scholarship to further their studies. I was once in your shoes and if I have any advice for you, I'd say just go for it!
If you are searching for scholarship listings, do check out afterschool website. They are always updated with the current scholarships available. Here's the link!
I have had my fair share of applying for scholarship after STPM, A little heads up, it's a LOT of work. Every scholarship has its own process and steps to follow through but just be patient because it'll all be worth it :)
Okay so Alhamdulillah, I was successfully awarded with a scholarship from Great Eastern to further my studies in Economics in UM. Here, I would like to share a little bit about the process that I went through just to give an overview for those who are also planning to apply for it. However, I will not share in detail the questions that were asked because I feel that you should experience it yourself as well as to respect GE's confidentiality.
First step is the application for the scholarship. Just go to the website and follow the instructions given. So in the application form, you will be required to provide your personal information, academic qualification, extra curricular activities, personal achievements, family particulars and a brief explanation on why you deserve the scholarship. This should be basic.
#2 Phone Interview
This came as a surprise to me. They called me in the middle of the day (thank God I wasn't asleep) and interviewed me. It was a simple interview, share about yourself, your background, hobbies. I think the purpose of this interview was to see whether you can speak well or not. So yeah, be prepared with your phone at all times.
#3 Essay Assessment Topic
If you get selected, you'll be asked to write an essay on a given topic. I'm not gonna share the exact question here but the theme of the essay during my time was generational gap in the workplace. The length of the essay is not more than 300 words.
#4 Panel Interview Session
The next stage is a group interview with the Human Capital department. If I remember correctly, there were 2 interviewers and 3 candidates at a time. I was interviewed with another 2 candidates. It can be a bit intimidating especially if those other candidates have done huge stuff during their studies that your experiences look pale in comparison. But do not worry, just be confident in yourself. Now before you were called in for the interview, they will place all the candidates in a waiting room. So my advice is to mingle and get to know the other candidates as it will be helpful once you get paired up to be interviewed later.
The questions asked were mostly about your background and your leadership experiences. An interesting question was about the values that you've learnt from your parents while you were growing up. I think this question would give them a little insight on how's your relationship with your parents and what kind of environment have you been brought up in. This to me is a brilliant question.
You'll be asked the same questions and are expected to take turns answering it with the fellow candidates. A little tip, focus and listen to what the other 2 candidates were sharing, don't be too caught up thinking about what you're about to answer because the last question was a killer.
"Tell us why should we give the scholarship to your friend here."
You will die if you didn't pay attention to what they were saying. Hahaha. And and, this is where the mingling in the waiting room comes in handy! You at least have an insight of their character even before the interview and hopefully enough information to sell them :D Also, if you give a great impression on the other candidates, they might be able to sell you good too!
#5 Computer Assessment
Online computer test. You will be required to be present at the GE HQ for this. This online computer test mainly tests on your logical and mathematical abilities. You are allowed to bring a calculator with you. The questions are not crazy add maths level or anything. Just a basic one.
#6 Final Assessment
This is it. The very last stage. This stage takes up a whole day (8-5pm). From the total candidates present, only about half were chosen to receive the scholarship. So you've gotta stand out in the crowd! The session began in the morning with some ice-breaking games so that you'll get to know the other candidates better. Then, the assessment begins with an individual presentation of yourself. We were asked to draw like a mind-map answering to the questions that they gave. During my time, there were 4 questions if I'm not mistaken, one of it was "Who is your idol" and another was "The craziest thing you've ever done". Couldn't recall the other 2. Sorry hihi it was 3 years ago okayyy.
Second session was impromptu question. We pick a number and we will be asked a question on the spot individually in front. We will be given a short time (3 minutes or so) to answer the question. You've gotta think on your feet here. The question that I got was "Opinion on wearing uniforms in school." which was perfect and totally relatable to me since I was in Form 6 and we had a huge debate about this haha. There were also a one word statement eg "Colour" and you have to sort of talk about it, random questions about animal, "How would you make a snail move faster?", a comparison question like something vs something and you've gotta pick your stand and many more. There won't be a repetitive question so everyone gets a different question. Kinda need your luck on this one.
Third session was a presentation on insurance products. You'll be divided into groups, given time to discuss, provided with a laptop or mahjong paper to display your presentation and worry not because you were told beforehand to study on insurance products and you are also allowed to bring in notes into the assessment. Here I think they wanted to see how well you work in a team, whether you can work under pressure, your presentation skills and how well you can interpret the question.
#7 Award presentation ceremony!
If you've reached this stage, congratulations! You are officially a GE scholarship recipient :D So this scholarship of course comes with a bond, for me its 3 years bond with GE. So right after I finish my studies, I will be working with them for a minimum of 3 years. The thing about being a GE scholar is that they don't just support you financially, they also care about your development. They organize development camps annually for all the scholars and I've had so much fun in every one of it! They always keep in touch with us and asked for our updates on our activities in uni. I am truly blessed to be apart of the GE family.
So, I hope that have been useful. Best of luck! ;)