Securing study funds

The previous years recipients manned the Star Education Fund booth and answered a steady stream of queries from students and their parents on the scholarships.

WHILE good grades are important, students need not be straight-A scorers to secure a scholarship.

Star Education Fund manager Susanna Kuan said participation in extra curricular activities would be taken into consideration as well.

“Scoring straight As is not the sole criteria of securing the scholarship.

“How you carry yourself during the interviews, family background as well as co-curricular and sports participation matters too,” she said.

“The Star Education Fund has many recipients who are not straight A students,” she said, adding it is important for students to choose a course they are interested in when applying for a scholarship.

If you really want a scholarship, said Kuan, a good personal statement on why you deserve it is needed for you to stand out from the crowd.

There is no backing out once the agreement under the Star Education Fund has been signed, she added.

Kuan spoke during the “Funding Higher Education” talk at the Star Education Fair 2018 last weekend where students got some valuable pointers on securing scholarships.

She explained the Star Education Fund’s application process and the criteria for education and selection in a session that was full house.

Kuan said the Star Education Fund is offering 295 scholarships worth nearly RM16.1mil from 31 institutions this year.

The fund, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has disbursed RM117.9mil to 3,758 scholarship recipients since its inception in 1994.

To be eligible, students must be Malaysians no older than 25-years-old as of Jan 1 for undergraduate courses. There is no age limit for postgraduate students.

Monash University Malaysia and the University of Reading Malaysia are the fund’s new partners for 2018, while Penang Medical College returns as a partner.

These scholarships cover a wide range of fields and disciplines, from entry-level courses to postgraduate education, professional studies to vocational training. The scholarships are all bond-free.

Kuan explained that every scholarship application is vetted by representatives from The Star and its partner institutions.

The closing date for the scholarships is two weeks after the release of the SPM and STPM results. Applicants will be shortlisted in early April and informed via e-mail. Interviews will be held from April to June.

Methodist College Kuala Lumpur marketing manager Reuben Chan Chien Chern, gave a talk titled “Are You Prepared to Apply for Scholarships After High School?”

Chan, who has been shortlisting candidates for the Star Education Fund for the past eight years, shared tips on how to avoid common mistakes in securing a scholarship and explained the various scholarship options available to students.

He said there are three main types of scholarships in Malaysia – government, corporate and university scholarships.

“You need to understand the scholarship’s terms and conditions.

“Read up and research on why the scholarships are given out. If you do not prepare, you are at a disadvantage,” he said.

He shared the application deadlines for university intakes and urged students to start their application process a year in advance.

The most common mistakes applicants make range from writing a generic application cover note to assuming they will secure the scholarship based on straight As. Their participation in other activities is just as important, said Chan, who gave tips on how to write a good cover note and resume.

Applicants must also have leadership, teamwork, communication skills, he said.

“Show the interviewer you are well read and are able to give your own opinions.

“If you don’t invest in yourself, how can we invest in you?” he said.

The 31 partners-in-education are Brickfields Asia College, Equator College, Erican College, HELP University, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur, KDU University College, KDU Penang University College, Kolej Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysian Institute of Art, Management & Science University, MSU College Penang, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur, Monash University Malaysia, Multimedia University, Oriental Nilam College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Penang Medical College, Quest International University Perak, Saito University College, SEGi University & Colleges, Sentral College Penang, Sunway University, Sunway College, Sunway College Ipoh, Sunway College Johor Bahru, Taylor’s University, UCSI University Trust, University of Nottingham Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.

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