The Iron Fist
Chief Editor of ReMag
Join Date: Apr 2008
Obligatory Pep Talk and General Advice with regards to Scholarship Rejections
Thank y'all listeners for tuning in to Recom.fm. It's time for another segment of Glassy's Pep Talks™! Today, Big Sister Glassy will discuss the dreadful issue of scholarships, all the stress that comes with applying for one, and how to overcome or avoid suicidal feelings upon *touches wood* rejection.
Introduction: The cold, hard facts
The very first thing I need to stress is that for every one scholarship position there is out there, there are likely 10 applicants vying for a place. Simple logic would explain that the nine other applicants would be rejected. And that kid could be you. Could be the bright bespectacled nerd who had his turn of interview right after you. Could be the mousy girl who suffered a nervous breakdown at the corner of the waiting room. Could be anyone, really.
Not Good Enough™, Better Than You™
The point is, scholarship applications are an incredibly brutal process. Definitely lots more people are going to get rejected than get accepted. Even students with a dozen A1's, 60 co-curricular certificates and stunning interview charm and charisma have been known to be slapped with a rejection letter after two agonizing weeks of waiting. We can only speculate what goes on in the selection committee's minds!
Getting a scholarship, as I have said before countless times, is always a bit of a lottery. At this stage where all the top students are battling their guts out for a small amount of scholarships, if you get rejected, it probably doesn't mean you submitted a crappy application or were underqualified. It just means that there were people who were just Better Than You™. It happens everywhere, so please don't beat yourself up about it. You're still the brilliant overachieving straight A's student which you were and getting rejected from a few scholarships will not change that. Your rejections are also not an accurate gauge of your worth as a student and applicant either, so please don't think you're worthless or anything of that nature.
The Backup: Cushioning the Rejection
Given the unfavourable applicant : scholarship ratio, one should never put in an application thinking that he's going to be successful or almost guaranteed to get one. It is also unwise to making your future plans dependent on getting a scholarship, which is what most applicants tend to do. They tend to say "okay, when I get my scholarship I'm going to go to P College for my Q pre-university course, and then fly off to country R to do my degree in S." And when their rejection letter arrives they are suddenly at a loss because they have no idea what to do.
Please take some time to map out a backup plan in the event that you *touches wood* don't get the scholarship you covet for. If you do get rejected, the shock won't hit you as badly as you will already know your next course of action. You can then take your time to get over the rejection without the added stress of figuring out what to do next. You'll basically have gotten one burden out of the way. =)
Broaden your mind
I will now make what is likely to be the most controversial statement ever uttered in Recom history: There is more to life than scholarships! *Expects the quote to make headlines in the papers the next day*
If I may steal a tiny bit of airtime to make a small lament, Malaysians are brainwashed into thinking that scholarships are the be-all-and-end-all. Well, they're not! Back in secondary school, one of my Form Five teachers preached on and on about JPA scholarships and basically implied that everyone HAD to get a scholarship or their future would essentially be screwed and they would have absolutely no chance of studying overseas. In retrospect it probably worked to a good extent, as everyone in my class made a frantic grapple for scholarships right after that.
When I got an offer from a rather prestigious university to study a pretty competitive course and told some relatives about it, the first thing they'd ask, without fail, was: "Did you get a scholarship?" I said no, I was rejected by JPA and every other organization I applied to and they replied with a monotonous, polite "Oh." and looked away. One even pursed his lips disapprovingly. To them, it didn't matter if I gained admission into a decent school like Oxford or a crappy one like Oxford Brookes, as my university was irrelevant; if I didn't have a scholarship I was branded a loser.
The reason why I am saying all this is to show you guys exactly how ridiculous this mad rush for scholarships can be, to the point of missing the bigger picture. A scholarship will be good [and convenient] to have, but it's not the end of your life if you don't get it. Complaining about rejection is essentially akin to buying a lottery ticket and then crying when your numbers don't match the weekly lotto draw. I'm saying relax, chill, broaden your mind to the countless other paths you can take. If you really want to study overseas, there are so many other avenues you could try.
Every cloud has a silver lining
Believe it or not, not getting a scholarship could well be a good thing! Well, for me, it was.
Back during my batch's year, JPA only offered Law for Australia. While I personally preferred going to the UK, I applied for it anyway due to financial woes.
Rejected without interview because I was a science stream student applying for an "Arts" course, and I didn't have a single extra Arts subject in my SPM lineup [I like how this rule was overturned the year after that ._.;;]. Great. After that rejection I had to endure a week of flak for "being lazy" and not taking up any extra subjects when I had the chance to.
But I moved on. Family shelled out money for A levels in a private college. Got a conditional offer from a UK university I wanted, and as luck would conveniently have it, just as I was about to head off to university, JPA chose that particular time to roll out that Ivy League scholarship program. I thus found myself being sponsored to go to a country which I wanted, and this would not have happened had I been accepted into JPA's PILN as I would have been restricted to apply to Aussie unis. It was truly a miracle.
What I'm try to say is, sometimes things happen for a reason. A misfortune today may well be a blessing in disguise for tomorrow. When a door closes in your face, it means that somewhere out there, another has opened. So you can either wail and bang the closed door with your fists until they bleed, or you can start looking for that other open door. Don't give up, and keep telling yourself that there's a better opportunity waiting for you elsewhere.
One day when you're all successful and rich, you'll look back and laugh at yourself for kicking up such a fuss because JPA didn't want you in their PILN program. And you'll say to yourself: "I wouldn't have gotten here if it wasn't for everything that happened!"
For those of you who are unfortunate enough to suffer from ADD and are thus unable to follow the entire program, here's a nifty little summary for you:
1. Competition for scholarships is tight and chances are, people are going to get rejected since there are not enough scholarships to go around.
2. If you get rejected, it doesn't mean that you're worthless. It either just means that there were other candidates who were preferred, or that you simply lost the lottery when they had to select from several equal-standing candidates.
3. Please make backup plans in the event that your applications are not successful so you will at least have a rough idea of what you want/are going to do if the worst happens.
4. There's a lot more to life than getting scholarships. Getting fixated with JPA, Petronas, Khazanah and Shell scholarships is unhealthy but this syndrome can easily be remedied by going out and socializing with friends, or a healthy dose of ice-cream, preferably Baskin & Robbin's chocolate chip cookie dough flavour for best effects.
5. If you don't get a scholarship, don't fret because there are tons of other paths waiting for you to try. Your rejection today might be a blessing in disguise. It is far too early to tell now.
All right folks, that's all for today's installment! Tune in tomorrow, same time, same station for another episode of Glassy's Pep Talk™! Cheerio!
[[Serious note: I am aware that there is another topic addressing scholarship rejections in this board, but it appears that the discussion is more focused on specific routes and courses of action to take should one really fail in his application. In any event, I did have quite a bit to say, and felt that this post should best be placed in a fresh new topic, but the mods should have the final say should they wish to merge topics. Cheers! *bows out*]]
"I've discovered something that's even better than sitting on a chair and spinning on it -- sitting on a chair BACKWARDS and spinning on it!" *spins around in glee*
Compliment yourself today!
Last edited by Glassylicious; 10-04-2009 at 12:44 AM.