Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bond-free scholarships; NUS student rejects MIT scholarship

Mr Wang talked about Sg Inc. giving scholarships to the Vietnamese. Nothing new really, and 15 annually is considered negligible given the size of their country's population. So if you are Singaporean and want to find out more about bond-free university scholarships open to pink-IC holders, then check these two threads out.

When I was an undergraduate in NUS, I applied for the scholarship and was rejected despite having reasonably good A-level results (considerably better than 4A's). To pay for my expenses during my undergrad days, I had to slog and work part-time. Then during my honours year, I found out that a coursemate of mine, a foreigner, got the NUS scholarship but he eventually got a lower class of honours than I did.

This is why I would never donate money or give anything back to my (alma mater), NUS. Honestly, if I had to make a choice, I would rather flush money down the toilet than give it to NUS. - a disgruntled alumnus

I personally think that the local universities subject citizens (and PRs) to a much higher (academic) standard when deciding on the award of financial aid. All your 4As, S paper distinctions, MT, interviewing and what-nots, and you may (very likely) still end up with nothing. Then you see your (weaker) foreign friends being awarded scholarships with minimal effort. Here in the US, ironically many of us easily get bond-free financial awards/scholarships. No prizes then for guessing why there is a strong school spirit amongst alumni decades long after they had graduated.


The online forums are abuzz over the news of a NUS mechanical engineering graduate turning down a SMA Masters scholarship.

Top NUS student rejects MIT scholarship to pursue passion in teaching
By Eunice Ong, Channel NewsAsia 10th July 06

She graduated with first-class honours in mechanical engineering and was offered scholarships to pursue a Master's degree.

But Charlene Lin turned down the offers, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA), to pursue her passion in teaching.

The NUS student was the first Singaporean woman to top the mechanical engineering course in eight years.

Charlene is among 8,207 students graduating from the National University of Singapore (NUS) this year.

NUS Associate Professor Cheng Li said: "Being our top student, Charlene received the offers of scholarship from SMA and MIT to pursue a Master's degree in engineering. She turned down the offer because she wants to do teaching."

Charlene said: "I think a person sometimes has more than one area of interest in life. It is not unusual. It's ok, but at the end of the day, I think a decision has to be made. And compromises have to be made in life. So once a decision is made, just throw your heart over and follow your heart and give off your best."

Charlene has been offered a one-year teaching contract by the Ministry of Education.

She will be teaching physics and mathematics in a secondary school before going for further training in teaching.

Well, if you want to be a secondary school teacher, a Masters in Engineering probably won't be of much help, MIT or not.


Peishan said...

dude - it takes more than perfect scores to get a scholarship. i shld know.

just think though, if the govt./unis/scholarship boards started awarding scholarships right and left w/ no regards to the applicant's character, leadership and teamwork skills etc, how effective/valuable would that scholarship be?

takchek said...

Eh, I am sure you know that the present (Sg) scholarship system is flawed.

Character? Leadership? Teamwork skills? Please don't make me laugh. :P

At least for many of the overseas universities, a scholarship is exactly what it is called. Do well in your studies (attain a min cut off GPA etc)/community service, you get awarded the scholarship.

Peishan said...

very funny meh? i mean, who is more impressive? the person who has no extracurriculars to speak of but who attains his perfect scores through swotting it out studying 24/7, or the person who gets near perfect scores, but who has a life? :D

takchek said...

How do you define 'life'? Say if I like my books and read deeply into Advanced Organic Chemistry (at the graduate level) and I want a scholarship to to study Chemistry in the university. I spend all my free time reading up on Chemistry or volunteered to be an unpaid intern in some NUS chemistry prof's lab. So will A*star (or DSTA etc) decide not to give me the scholarship because I have no other CCA to speak of and all I know is some advanced Chemistry knowledge and lab skills?

Read this:

Besides, I have seen scholars having 'no-life' after getting that Sg 'scholarship'. (Need to work hard to maintain some 3.8 GPA.) etc etc.

Peishan said...

true, i have seen some scholars who have no 'life' after getting that scholarship. but my answer to that would be that the scholarship boards chose badly. ;)

your example does not qualify. in a*'s case, you wld look good because you have 'research experience'... im talking about someone who doesn't look good on paper, and might have a rotten/dis-engaging personality. you don't know of anyone like that meh?

takchek said...

?? If you don't even look good on paper, how to be considered for the scholarship in the first place??

My definition of 'scholarship' is strictly on basis of academic merit. Which is why the Sg system of tying academic performance with lucrative full-tuition 'job contracts' is flawed.

Peishan said...

even US scholarships nowadays don't just look at academic merit. how can they, then competition is so fierce? tons and tons of people are getting 4.0s, who to pick? ;)

takchek said...

Tons getting 4.0s? Heh. Please...

At Harvard perhaps. But then hor, Harvard gives out full financial aid to anyone and everyone who is offered admission and cannot afford to pay the tuition and fees.

While the grading system varies from college to college, in my undergrad institution, honors (and thus by default scholarships) are strictly based on a bell curve. Means numbers are fixed. Where got tons???