When first impressions matter

SUBMITTING a portfolio and personal statement is a good idea to make a scholarship application stand out, especially for students who want to obtain a place in design schools.

Raffles College of Higher Education college director David Yee says a well-prepared portfolio will boost a student’s chances at getting noticed during the shortlisting process.

“We look for students with creative drive. A portfolio will demonstrate interest and passion for the field you have chosen to study.”

When writing a personal statement, he says, students should outline their goals and how they plan to contribute to the institution they are applying to, among others.

Yee was one of the partners-in-education who were present during the shortlisting of candidates for the Star Education Fund.

Students who have been shortlisted will be required to attend an interview, as part of the scholarship application process.

Since its establishment in 1994, close to 3,000 students have benefited from the Star Education Fund. Assoc Prof Dr Kan Mun Seng of the School of Biomedical Sciences from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, says it is crucial that students make the effort to ensure that their applications are complete.

“An incomplete application will convey an impression that the student is sloppy. This is a basic, yet important process,” he says.

He says a personal statement is one way for the admission panel to gauge a student’s interest in pursuing the programme.

“You can tell from the essay if the student is serious and clear about his or her goals. It will also give an indication of the student’s command of the English language,” he says.

Often, students submit documents to demonstrate their involvement in co-curricular activities.

“Participation aside, I also look at the types of responsibilities and leadership roles they take on and what they learnt when taking part in the activities,” he says.

Dr Kan says the applications are screened in a thorough manner so that all stand a fair chance in obtaining a scholarship to fund their studies.

KDU University College admissions and bursary department senior manager Kwan Kow Cheun says he is quite impressed by the quality of applications this year.

He says students have to prepare for the interview and know how to carry themselves at the session because first impressions are important.

“They should be able to convince the panel about what they think they can achieve after finishing their qualifications,” he says. — By TAN EE LOO

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