I am a Yayasan UEM scholar, currently studying A levels in Kolej Yayasan UEM and will be sponsored for my Undergraduate studies as well. This scholarship covers tuition fees, a laptop, accommodation and adequate living allowances. There are three stages in in Yayasan UEM Scholarship assessment.
Online application – 2000 applicants
This is just the usual application form that you need to fill in for any other scholarship application. Of course, your academic results and past experiences do make an impression at this stage. You will also need to submit two essays ( a short paragraph) here. The first one is about your interests and career plan in the subject you will be pursuing. Try to show your passion and enthusiasm in your subject and be certain about what are you going to do in your future. Since I was applying for civil engineering, I talked about my concern in sustainable development and aspire to study overseas to bring advanced technology back to Malaysia. The second one is the reason you think you deserve this scholarship. You might have to present yourself as a mature and confident all-rounder yet humble and willing to serve.
First stage – 200 candidates
UEM is a very caring company because they normally contact you through phone calls in addition to emails. After being informed about the first stage interview, I quickly did some background research about the company and some popular questions ask in interviews, this is where Mr Google and all these student aids websites come in handy.
We were first asked to write an essay within 20 minutes. The titles vary for each candidate; mine was “How to maintain the discipline in school”. Some others’ were about sports, education etc.
The following session is a personal interview. It is basically a get-to-know session where you talk about yourself. It is important to carry yourself well in this session as the first impression matters the most. Do not forget the basic courtesy such as knocking the door, greetings and smiles. My early preparation helped me with most of the session as the questions asked were the general and typical ones. The panel were very friendly and the conversation was very comfortable to me.
Here is a list of questions I was asked:
- Tell me about your family background and accomplishments.
- What inspire you in pursuing your course? (similar to the one in online application)
- What you did in the few months after SPM?
-I attended the three month national service and talked about the experience from it. I also took a part time job as a waitress in a local restaurant.
- What are your biggest strength and weakness?
- What are your hobbies and other interests?
- What are the current issues that you concern about?
You are also encouraged to ask questions at the end of the session if you have any doubts on the scholarship.
Second Stage – 50 candidates
All the candidates were divided into groups in the second stage for activities the whole day. The first game was “Name the Sports”, which we were required to act out the sports given so that others may guess. It was just an ice-breaking activity but you will still need to try stand out among other candidates. Note: the whole assessment is video-recorded for evaluation.
The second part of the assessment is group discussion. We were required to present a commercial plan for a product including marketing strategy, packaging and TV advertisement in a few hours time. You will need to show your leadership skill among the group members at the same time be cooperative with one another. Partake in the discussion and give constructive ideas at the same time value others’ opinion. Make sure everyone is involved in the presentation and utilise your own slot to present your strengths. Everyone else in the room was very bright as they were all shortlisted after several rounds of evaluation too, but do not lose your confident and just try your best. You will not even have a chance if you do not try.
Third stage – 50 candidates
During my time, all who advanced to the second stage will be progressed straight to the third stage. It was another personal interview at this time, but with the Yayasan UEM CEO and one of the directors of UEM. This session was video-recorded as well. It was similar to the first stage as this would be the first time for the CEO meeting us. However, I faced a little difficulty when I was asked about the collapse of factory in Bangladesh a couple years back. I was not aware of that news at that time and could not answer their questions. I told them honestly, apologized and promised that I would try to keep up with the news and be more aware of what’s happening around. I actually thought that I performed badly in that interview and was very surprised when I was informed that I was offered the scholarship. Later on I found out that all the other successful scholars all thought their interviews were bad too. We made a conclusion that the panel are actually looking at how we react when we face problems that we are uncertain of. Perhaps they understand that everyone has flaws and weaknesses and the most important part is to be able to identify it and improve.
I could not be more grateful being one of the seven Yayasan UEM scholars in my batch. This is the only scholarship I applied to other than JPA Engineering Programme and it was a very competitive one as well so it was really a blessing to me. All my scholarmates have different qualities; some are very mature and outspoken, some have very deep insight to the surrounding. For me, I believe my excellent SPM result was a big bonus in the selection. However, I believe Yayasan UEM is looking for varies qualities so do not worry if you are different from others. That will be all from me. Good luck and all the best!
Fiona Tan is a blessed girl who will is currently studying A levels under Yayasan UEM Oversea Scholarship Programme. Not knowing where she might be ended up in, she believes God has the best plan for her.