“Remember to apply for scholarships!”- those words were constantly ringing in my ears. After I’ve graduated high school, I googled all kinds of scholarships there are and printed those forms before I even obtained my results. You have to be really prepared because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Give yourself the chance to choose which scholarship instead of being stuck with only one choice or none. I know my family won’t be able to afford a medical degree in a private university without a scholarship so I put in 200% effort in applying for scholarships, in addition to studying really hard.
I think a lot of students are unaware of The Star Education Fund Scholarship. This scholarship aims to help students who really can’t afford the degree without a scholarship. Basically, on their website they state the courses eligible at specific institutes. Good news is, there are a lot of choices to pick from. The form asks for personal details, academic & co-curricular achievements, family income, and a personal statement. You really have to express your enthusiasm on why do you want to study the course that you’ve picked. After submitting the form and attaching all the necessary documentations, all you have to do is be patient.
I applied for the RCSI-UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC) program under The Star. This program comes with a two-and-a-half year experience studying in either the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) or University College Dublin (UCD). I submitted my application in March 2019 and I received a phone call from the manager of The Star Education Fund about 2 weeks after the deadline. She asked me about my family’s background and financial status to make sure I’m still interested in the scholarship as it’s a scholarship excluding living expenses. A week later I received another phone call from the manager telling me that I’ve passed first round of interviews and that I’ll receive details on what to do next soon. Following that, I received an email asking me to submit 2 essays:
(i) Discuss the impact on yourself, your family and the community of gaining a Star Education Fund scholarship? and;
(ii) Is society becoming over-medicalised?
They gave me two-week deadline to submit the essays. Since my mother is a medical sales representative, I was lucky enough to get guidance and the ‘inside scoop’ of current medical happenings from her friends in the field, and this was very helpful in the second topic. I submitted the essays 2 days before the deadline because doing it at the eleventh hour is never a good idea. 4 days later, I received an email for a face-to-face interview.
From my experience at the interview, I’d say prepare for the interview but don’t stress yourself out too much, just be yourself and convince the interviewers on why you’re the right candidate for the scholarship. I brought all the original documents requested as listed in the email. I’m not going to lie I was VERY nervous but luckily I wasn’t blank nervous, I honestly felt like I babbled to the three interviewers throughout. Luckily, the interview was very much like every other medical school interview. There’s no right or wrong in this situation, they just want to know how would you react. The interview lasted roughly 30 minutes. Towards the end of it, they asked me what happens if I didn’t get this scholarship and I told them about my plans and alternative routes. I think it’s wise and responsible to tell them what you have in mind.
Fortunately, 1 week later I got the good news via phone call! The manager also reminded me to submit my family’s proof of income and such to ensure that my family will be able to support me throughout my studies in Ireland for the first 2.5 years. Two weeks later, they asked me to go to the office and sign the agreement. They explained to me the terms and conditions of the agreement where a scholar has to be of exemplary character and maintain a certain CGPA. I know scholarship applications can be a little tedious but it’s worth it. Best of luck!
Joey Wee is currently a The Star Education Fund Scholarship Recipient. She completed her SPM in SMK Canossa Convent Melaka, STPM in Malacca High School (MHS) and is currently pursuing her Medicine degree in University College Dublin. If you intend to contact the author, feel free to contact the CollegeLAH Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.