And our annual post-SPM drama continues. A dejected parent wrote a letter to Malaysia-Today to complain about how his/her son was denied a JPA scholarship even with excellent results. I do not want to be a bastard and I know that every parent honestly believes that their child is the greatest. However, after reading the child’s achievement and knowing many JPA scholars in my life, I have to say that I find the child wanting.
Disclaimer: I do not know the actual person and all I know is gleaned from the letter.
The parent should understand that every person who applies for JPA scholarship already has excellent academic results – that is a given. This is primarily due to the fact that there are many thousands of students with top results in our country while there are only about two thousand JPA scholarships distributed across all disciplines and countries. So, something like dentistry would probably not account for very many scholarships.
Therefore, in order for scholarship applications to stand out there has to be something extra about the applicant, other than their excellent academic results. The letter claims that the child won a “VIJAYA SHANKAR PARAMSOTHY” Trophy, which seems to be an internal school award (as opposed to the Fulbright scholarship of the same name). While I do not want to underplay the child’s achievements, I am not certain if this would be something that immediately jumps out at the person reviewing the application.
I do not want to sound condescending but I have had this same conversation with other top scholars before. If you are fighting for a scarce resource, you really need to have something extra to help push you to the top of the pile.
That said, the JPA scholarship is not the be all end all of the child’s life.