Scholarship advice from past recipients

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Uncategorised

Are you thinking about applying for a scholarship but trying to figure out where to start? We spoke to several past scholarship recipients to get their advice for young people who are thinking about applying for a scholarship but are not sure where to start. These past scholarship winners give some insight into how to apply and how the scholarships have helped them further their studies to reach their dream careers.

Baden Grey – awarded the 2020 Rural Bank Scholarship

What scholarship were you awarded?
I received the Rural Bank Scholarship for first-time undergraduates pursuing studies in agriculture. (2020)

What did you study?
Bachelor of Business in Agriculture (Marcus Oldham)

What was the process of applying for the scholarship?
There were from memory, some short answer questions regarding personal circumstances as well as industry-related questions. Following this, I was shortlisted for an interview where I was asked questions such as how my studies will affect my career pursuit.

How did the scholarship help you / enable your studies?
It helped subsidise tuition and boarding expenses, allowing me to concentrate solely on my studies during my time at college, with classes running from 9 am – 4 pm Monday to Friday.

What are you doing for work now? Does it interlink with your studies?
I am currently working on a mixed cropping and sheep farm north of Birchip, where I am also finishing my placement before returning to Marcus Oldham next year to complete my degree.

Advice to young people thinking about applying for a scholarship.
There are many different organisations that offer scholarships for rural students seeking further education, and while it may take some time in applying, the benefits are worth it. Not just the financial benefits, but the confidence it gives you in achieving academic success.

Anna Robinson – awarded the 2020 Rural Bank Scholarship

What scholarship were you awarded?
Rural Bank Agribusiness Scholarship

What was the process of applying for the scholarship?
The initial process included filling out an application form which included details on the degree that was being commenced, life experiences, aspirations, goals and thoughts on the future of agriculture.

Following that, an interview was conducted over the phone with a panel of members from the scholarship committee.

What did you study?
Bachelor of Agricultural Science at CSU Wagga Wagga, commenced 2020, finishing 2023

How did the scholarship help you / enable your studies?
The scholarship enabled me to cover university-related expenses i.e. laptop, and textbooks, as well as assist in the costs of relocation from Kununurra WA to Wagga Wagga NSW. Furthermore, it has assisted me with some security in accommodation enabling me to focus on my studies.

What are doing for work now? Does it interlink with your studies?
I currently work on a local property with sheep and cropping enterprises casually while I complete my final year. Following this, I intend to begin a career in agronomy. My jobs, interests and studies and hugely interlinked and complement each other and the learning process.

Advice to young people thinking about applying for a scholarship.
Just do it, tell your story, even if you are not sure where the story may end up yet. Be honest with the organisation and take advantage of any opportunities that are given, you can never have too many experiences or skills. Have passion, whether that be for a particular area of interest or just about the process of finding the area of interest. I came to NSW with an entirely different goal from what I have now, the people I have met along the way have played a huge role in shaping my education and my life aspirations.

Elise Prior – awarded The Kapunda High School Centenary Foundation’s Jim Bettison Scholarship and the Kapunda High School Centenary Foundation’s Country Education Grant

What scholarship were you awarded?
The Kapunda High School Centenary Foundation’s Jim Bettison Scholarship (2016 – 2019) and the Kapunda High School Centenary Foundation’s Country Education Grant (2020).

What did you study?
I studied a Bachelor of Psychological Science (2016 – 2019) and an Honours Degree of Bachelor of Psychological Science (2020 – 2021), both at the University of Adelaide.

What was the process of applying for the scholarship?
When I applied in 2015, the process was to complete an application portfolio, including personal references, and attend a panel interview. I remember preparing myself for a formal structured interview, but the interview turned out to be more casual than I was expecting, with the panel interested in getting to know me as a person! When I applied for further funding in 2019, the process was completely online and only required completion of an application form.

How did the scholarship help you / enable your studies?
The scholarships relieved some of the financial pressure associated with my studies. I have a chronic illness, and the long commute to university from my family home in country South Australia would have been unmanageable, so I moved to the city, in close proximity to the university campus. This was integral to ensuring that my study demands were manageable and that I could be involved in campus life, despite my chronic illness. The scholarships also eased the burden of the travel costs for my mum to provide living assistance (i.e., perform household tasks that were too painful and energy-depleting for me to complete), enabling me to channel my limited energy into my studies. In short, the scholarships were invaluable in assisting me to complete my degrees. With the conclusion of my tertiary study, I remain forever grateful for the financial support, emotional encouragement, and belief in my capabilities provided by the Kapunda High School Centenary Foundation and the Country Education Foundation of Australia.

What are you doing for work now? Does it interlink with your studies?
I am a Data Analyst at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), within the Graduate Development Program. The role entails delivering statistics and analysis to inform public policy and research. The ABS has a flexible and inclusive work culture, which allows me to manage both my chronic illness and work commitments, and the Graduate Development Program provides 12 months of exclusive professional and personal development opportunities. I draw upon the knowledge I acquired from my psychology degrees every day, particularly my skills in data, research, coding, critical thinking, and problem-solving. After six years of tertiary study, it has been exciting to enter the public sector and assist governments, businesses, and communities in making evidence-based decisions for the betterment of Australian society!

Advice to young people thinking about applying for a scholarship.
I would strongly encourage anyone thinking about applying for a scholarship to go ahead and apply – after all, the old adage of “you’ve got to be in it to win it” is true! My advice is to ensure your scholarship application is detailed, authentic, and showcases your passion for your field of study. Even if your application is unsuccessful, the process provides the opportunity for self-reflection and preparation for other future applications, such as those for jobs or further study.