1. How many stages were there in your scholarship assessment?
Basically you would just have to submit your application. I did mine by post because I had no scanner! I didn’t even know whether it arrived or not, but given that I’m a scholar now, I guess it did!
You would have to write an essay, and then go for an interview, then for an activity filled day. Note: there are no IQ questions or those funny diagram stuff.
2. Can you elaborate on what happened in each stage?
a) If it was an interview, what were the questions asked?
I’ve been to a couple of interviews and I’ve got to say that I enjoyed this the most. They don’t ask about their own company – they are not so vain. They don’t brag about themselves, and they don’t put you down. But you would have to know the basic things, for example: why you chose that course and some of your personal views. Don’t worry: they don’t ask about international affairs, or politics. This also means that the arrows are all pointed at you. You are under the spotlight and you better know yourself because if you don’t, you will cry. YOU WILL CRY. You have been warned.
b) If it was an assessment camp, what were the activities conducted?
There is no assessment camp, but there will be a day filled with activities testing your group-work and god knows what else they are looking at. This will be the last stage if you’ve managed to survive the assessment and the interview. It would not be wrong to say that you’ve just got to be yourself. Somehow it felt as if the whole thing was structured so you will continually shed some light on yourself and your personality. There is no hiding here.
c) If it was a group discussion, what was the topic and format?
They have a fetish about public speaking. The topics are randomly chosen out of a goldfish bowl. The problem with top scorers nowadays, is that most of them cannot talk. It’s not their fault but this is how we were brought up. So, if you have stage fright… don’t worry, there is no stage, just a lot of people staring at you.
d) If it was a test, what were the types of questions?
No tests, just essay writing. No tips, just write your heart out. Don’t fake it, they will know. There’s a lie detector test later when they read your essay out loud and confirm the details that you’ve written. Just joking.
e) If you need to submit an essay, what was it about and what did you include in your essay?
Again, the essays are random topics. Just develop yourself with maturity and maintain that. Personally, I’ve used simple English with zero quotes or proverbs or whatever things you might have prepared for SPM. You would most probably have to write twice. The first one within a week from the application deadline, and the other would be spontaneous. Oh yeah, bring a pen along with you for the interview if you make it there. Trust me, you will need it.
3. Could you elaborate the environment, atmosphere and feelings in each stage?
They love you. Honestly, they really love you. They adore you. They don’t skimp on taking care of you. The food is great. They do not serve you take-away food. Rather, they bring you to restaurants. Even when they cater the food, it is delicious hotel-grade servings. Best of all, everyone there will be nervous. You would find some sucking up to the persons in charge, some socially active butterflies, and some like me, going after the food.
4. What do you think you did right to get the scholarship? What do you think helped your application the most?
a) What are some of the past experiences/ ECA/ work attachment/ academic achievements that the reviewers were most interested about?
I think I had the worst qualifications. There were athletes, geniuses, hot girls and handsome guys. So what helped my application the most was that I was just being myself and nothing more. Speak clearly with your own values. Don’t be afraid to show them who you are. You might just be the one they are looking for. Don’t worry about feeling inferior. Just remember that everyone there is just as scared as you.
5. What advice would you give to future Great Eastern Scholarship applicants?
Don’t miss the deadline and bring a pen along. Most importantly, enjoy the food and hospitality! There might be some people who intimidate you, so stay away from them. Don’t worry about fitting in there. Be comfortable and be yourself. The toilets are clean if you need to puke.
6. How did you prepare for the scholarship application? Any useful resources?
Rise up and be the best. The world is yours. Or at least pretend so.
Tiew Kai Xiang is a Great Eastern Supremacy Scholarship holder currently pursuing his study in Advance Tertiary College. He’s single and available.