Wednesday, 22 May 2013
EXCELLING IN UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP APTITUDE TESTS: MY EXPERIENCE (Part 1) - By Joshua Oyeniyi
Wow! It has been a while I featured in this segment, I have been down with many responsibilities of late. However, I am back with something good for the readership of this column. It is very intriguing to discover the high number organizations and corporations who now offer scholarship opportunities to undergraduate students in higher institutions of learning across Nigeria. For many a student, it has been a major lifeline for him to maintain a fair equilibrium between needs and surplus. No soonerhad I gained admission into the University than I discovered that it can be pretty easy to apply for several scholarships and not get one. Reason being that many undergraduates mistake mere application for the real deal and forget that securing an undergraduate scholarship requires adequate preparation. Much more, the list of credentials requested by these organizations might be burdensomefor students and they eventually end up fumbling with the style and documentation of presentation. Worse still, when asked to write an accompanying letter to back up an application, many undergraduates end up writing out of context and hence, lose out in the race.
Over the years, brands have strengthened efforts in their corporate social responsibility towards supporting undergraduates in higher institutions of learning by granting annual scholarships which can be maintained throughout the undergraduate programme upon meeting laid-down requirements. But while all the applicants, perhaps, meet up with requirements, some seem to eventually be clinching two, three or more scholarships from different companies while others do not even get invited to write the aptitude test. What could be the secret these few have? You might ask. That is why I have taken time out to write this so you could help yourself, that first year student or the sophomore undergraduate to clinch the next scholarship opportunity that comes his way.
Here we go. First, take quality time to read the adverts of such scholarship opportunities. A real story was told of an aptitude test conducted by an organization. Sixty questions were given and only five minutes allotted. It was practically impossible to finish. Many who did not take enough time to read the instructions rushed into the questions. At the end of the test, only one person passed. The instruction was: Write your full name, answer questions One and Sixty and submit. You see why you must read and understand instructions. The company giving out scholarships might have restricted the courses to some faculties and departments and would adhere strictly to that guideline. Applying as a student outside those selected courses automatically disqualifies the applicant.
Also, the scholarship-giving organization or company could have specified the number of distinction grades required to apply for the award. Distinctions, in this sense, are grades in the A’s and B’s categories of ordinary level examinations (SSCE/GCE O’levels). Most times, it could be a stipulated number of five distinctions. Applying with four distinctions is a waste of time. In addition, when asked to submit Curriculum Vitae, it is important to note that there is a slight difference from the type that is submitted for job application. In the case of application for a scholarship grant, you do not need to include job experiences as these are not necessary. Give your full bio-data including phone number and email address. Also, give your home address (if specifically requested) as a letter mail might be dispatched to your home, inviting you for the aptitude test. I got one of such letter posts inviting me to an aptitude test and if had not carefully supplied that information; I would have lost that golden opportunity since it was the only means through whichI got the invitation.
Along with your application letter, you would be asked to submit documents like a stipulated number of passport photographs, photocopy of your 0’level result, school statement of result, jamb result slip, birth certificate and certificate of origin from your local government area in your home state. It is pertinent for me to state here that you might lose your slot in the aptitude testlist if you go ahead to submit a certificate of origin from a liaison office and not from your local government in your home state. The later bears the original signature of your local government chairman and his seal, hence, is more valid when claiming to be an indigene of that state. Every one of these information is to be supplied painstakingly before final submission is made in order to increase your chances of winning a slot in the call-up list for the aptitude test. For students in their second year of study, the scholarship-granting body could request for your first year cumulative grade point average, with attestation by your head of department or registrar. Ensuring your transcripts are correct and duly signed gives you yet an improved chance of getting a call-up for the scholarship test.
I will be focusing on preparing for the aptitude test in the next edition of ‘My Campus My Life’. You will need to know what you are required to have learnt and how smartly you need to work in order to beat the examiners to it. Mind you, aptitude tests of this type are quite different from what you have been used to in conventional examinations.