Like many endeavours in life, the lessons learnt and applied could be as important as the wins secured.
Using some of the key lessons from the immediate past 2020 iSI Application Cycle, we have decided to share these points to help applicants prepare better for the next round of application.
- First Class is not enough
You may have received the maximum points for your academic records but low points in other aspects could potentially tilt the balance against your chance, especially in a highly competitive opportunity such as this.
For instance, the ability to write a very sound and thoughtful Statement of Purpose (SOP)/Personal Statement is very central to a university admission process. Your essays depict your clarity of purpose, self-drive, thought process, use of English Language, originality of ideas etc. Being able to excellently articulate each of these points is key to success not just for iSI’s scholarship, but ultimately for your graduate school admission/funding prospects. Your SOP should and must truly reflect the quality of your degree class.
- Reference Letter: How well do your referees know you?
A great reference articulates and attests to a candidate’s aptitude, character, voluntary involvements, academic ability, drive/potentials and any other unique information. This is a key part of the admission process. It is a way to validate several attributes a candidate may have projected about their achievements & potentials.
Based on the assessors’ feedbacks, the reference letters submitted by many applicants were very terse and lacked substance.
A quality reference may only be obtained if you have
- built a great student/lecturer relationship.
- requested the reference weeks before the deadline.
Be strategic about who you get a reference from.
- Instruction is for a purpose
Learn to be meticulous with the given instructions. This is especially important when it comes to applying for an opportunity. It is not an attempt to discourage you from showing your creativity. Yes, you are capable of independent intellectual thinking and driven enough to be able to think outside the box but the focus here is different. For example, you are asked to submit a copy of your first degree transcripts for a reason. You do not jettison that simply because you have a higher degree.
Some things are not important until they become important. You have tens of other candidates with an almost equal level of qualifications by every standard. However, positions and opportunities are always limited. Therefore, the practical course of action is to look at what someone might not have paid good attention to relative to others; an otherwise less important factor now becomes a deciding one.
Read instructions diligently and implement every letter of them. Extras could be productive only after the most requisite ones had been effectively taken care of.
Good luck to you as you prepare for the 2021 iSI Scholarship Application which opens in Q1 2021.
You should attend the Application Information Session which holds on January 2, 2021. Click this link to register for the Webinar.
iSI Initiative (iSI)