Top Students Prefer Scholarships By Local Universities

(Singapore, 10 June 2010): Scholarships offered by local universities are most sought after by top ‘A’ Level and IB Diploma students, according to an annual survey by JobsFactory, Singapore’s top scholarship, higher education and career portal.
By: JobsCentral
Nov. 29, 2010 - PRLog -- A total of 2,917 responded to the survey, out of which 1,621 are ‘A’ Level and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma graduates, 388 are final year polytechnic students, and the remaining 908 are undergraduates in their first and second year of study at local universities. Top ‘A’ Level and IB Diploma students are defined as ‘A’ Level graduates who scored three or more As for H2 subjects and IB Diploma graduates who scored 39 points and above in their recent examinations.

Most popular scholarship – NUS Undergraduate Scholarship
The National University of Singapore (NUS) Undergraduate Scholarship is the most popular scholarship among top ‘A’ Level and IB Diploma students who participated in the 2010 BrightSparks Scholarship & Career Survey. The online survey was conducted from 5th March to 5th April, and is Singapore’s most comprehensive study on students with scholarship potential in its fourth year running.

Other than the NUS Undergraduate Scholarship, two other NUS scholarships are among the top five scholarships of choice for top students. They are the NUS Undergraduate Merit Scholarship in 2nd place and the NUS Faculty Scholarship in 4th place. The Nanyang Scholarship offered by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is in 5th place and the only scholarship within the top five that is not offered by a local university is the FIREfly1 scholarship in 3rd place.

“Scholarships offered by local universities are popular for two possible reasons. First, these scholarships usually do not come with a bond, allowing scholars to have the freedom to decide their own career paths and employers upon graduation. Second, university scholarships are tenable for most courses of study and students appreciate this flexibility,” said the Director of JobsFactory, Lim Der Shing.

Most popular scholarship provider – Public Service Commission
The survey also ranked scholarship providers, derived from the number of unique selections that respondents made for scholarships offered by each organisation (see accompanying extract report for methodology details). The Public Service Commission (PSC) is once again the most popular scholarship provider among top students, receiving votes from 51.7% of those interested in scholarships, as compared to 50.1% for second-placed NUS. However, NUS has closed the gap this year, trailing PSC by only 16 votes as compared to 53 votes in 2009.

FIREfly is in 3rd place while the two other local universities are also ranked within the top ten scholarship providers. NTU is in 5th place while Singapore Management University (SMU) is in 10th place. Singapore Airlines (SIA), one of Singapore’s most well-known and successful brands, has moved up one spot to 4th place, and is the only scholarship provider from the private sector in the top ten.

“PSC is Singapore’s largest scholarship provider and their scholarships have always been highly regarded by top students who aspire to work in the civil service,” said Der Shing. “Likewise, NUS is Singapore’s most established university and it offers a wide range of courses, including those that are popular with top students such as Medicine, Law and Dentistry.”

Higher starting salary expectations
Top students have higher expectations for starting salaries this year, which could be due to the economy picking up. When asked to indicate what their expected gross starting salary per month is, 32.4% of top students selected a salary range of $2,501 - $3,000, a drop from 35.1% last year. Correspondingly, the percentage of top students expecting $3,001 - $3,500 has increased sharply from last year’s 19.5% to 32.2%.

Other key findings:

Commitment perceived as the most important quality to scholarship providers
For the first time in this survey, respondents were asked to indicate which qualities they felt would be the most important to scholarship providers when selecting potential candidates.  Most top students selected “commitment”, followed by “leadership skills” and “academic excellence”. This suggests that top students are aware that scholarship providers are concerned about their scholars’ long-term commitment to the organisation when evaluating scholarship applicants.

NUS is preferred tertiary education
Top students who indicated an interest in local tertiary education were asked which institutions of higher education they intended to apply to. NUS is the preferred local institution, with 92.7% of top students voting for it. 62.5% voted for NTU while 46.9% selected SMU.

Top students prefer the UK
82.3% of top students considering an overseas tertiary education indicated an interest to apply to universities in the UK. This is significantly higher than the second most popular study destination, the US, with 51.7% of the votes. Australia/New Zealand is the third most popular foreign study destination.

Top students prefer BrightSparks
Top students who also indicated an interest in scholarships were asked to select up to three of their favourite sources of information on scholarships. Close to 9 in 10 (88.2%) of top students selected BrightSparks, which comprises a network of web portals, magazines, and workshops for students. Other popular sources of scholarship information include their school (59.4%) and the websites of individual scholarship providers (58.0%).

To find out how you can get a copy of the extract report or purchase a copy of the full report, please contact Colin Lim at or Lim Si Wei at

1Previously, scholarships from six statutory boards (EDB, STB, IE Singapore, SPRING Singapore, EMA and JTC Corporation) were given under an umbrella award called the FIREfly scholarship. Since May 2010, the individual organisations have decided to administer their own scholarships and cease the FIREfly alliance. This Survey was conducted before the change was effected.

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About JobsFactory

Set up in 1999, JobsFactory provides effective career channels for professionals and students with our BrightSparks and BrightMinds products. Together with sister company JobsCentral, our comprehensive mix of channels enables us to reach over 2 million students and professionals yearly in Singapore. These channels include online career portals, print magazines and large-scale career fairs and workshops.

Some of products and services include:
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