April 21, 2011

Star Education Fund

I am writing this from my new residence for my collage years at UEP Subang Jaya (better known as USJ) in an apartment that is just a short drive away from The Summit USJ Hotel and shopping mall complex. I arrived here on Tuesday by bus for my interview with The Star for their scholarship program which is linked with my soon-to-be college, The Otomotif College (TOC). 

The bus journey (alone, without friend or family) was nothing special, but seeing it was my first long distance ride on my own, it's perhaps you can say, pretty cool... I reached Tesco Puchong where my dad picked me up before going for dinner. Then we headed back to the apartment, did some light cleaning, set up our basic needs i.e mattress, and toiletries, showered, and then going off to bed.

The next day (aka yesterday), we set off at 8am and headed towards TOC, just to estimate our traveling time. After about 40 minutes (an above-average time in KL speak) we reached TOC, but decided to have breakfast and linger around since my interview was scheduled at 10.30am. 

Upon reaching TOC, and waiting right until 11.15am, it was my turn. Only 5 were shortlisted for scholarships at this college, here's how mine went:

The panel consisted of 4 interviewers, one being Susanna Kuan, Manager of The Star Education Fund and 3 staff members of TOC. The questions asked/prompting points (may not be in order) were:

Can you tell me more about your family and yourself?

(When I mentioned I like badminton) You must be a big fan of Datuk Lee Chong Wei...

Your father co-owns a workshop, correct? Is it big? How many staff members are there? Is it associated with TOC in any way?

What is your family's main source of income?

You are from Sitiawan, your father stays in Klang. Are you going to stay in Klang for the duration of your studies? What about your mother? Isnt she going to be alone in Sitiawan?

How did you come to be so interested in automobiles?

With your results in SPM, why did you choose to study Diploma in Automotive Technology?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

When you complete your studies here, what are your plans?

Are your parents supportive of the course you chose to study?

If you are not awarded this scholarship, will you continue to study at TOC?

How did you get to know about TOC? Why did you choose to study here? What other colleges have you visited that offers this course as well?

When did you get to know about The Star Education Fund?

There were two questions that worried me:

What is your favourite car?

When I gave my answer, one of the TOC staff shook her head. Uh oh.....

Did you know that this scholarship is for the July intake of students?
I was stunned silent. The first thought that went through my head was that I was automatically out of the running because I had already registered for the April intake and paid the first semester fees as well. I was even more surprised with the question because it was not published anywhere about this particular T&C, so how was I supposed to know? But after explaining my situation, they suggested:

"If, you are awarded the scholarship, but you go for the April intake and your scholarship take effect in July, repaying you whatever fees you have paid up to that point. Is that a problem for you?"

That was the end of the interview. Later that day, at around 4pm, I received a phone cal from The Star:

"Regarding your scholarship interview at TOC today, I would like to wish you congratulations on passing the interview. Would you like to accept the offer for this scholarship?"

I was flustered. After saying yes to the offer, I was then informed that the scholarship will not have a bonding contract, and I am to collect my offer letter from The Star's main office, which just happens to be a short drive away from TOC. I have yet to claim the letter though, perhaps maybe on the way back home or returning to USJ from home in a few days time. You reap what you sow, as they say. It's all the better when the scholarship covers the entire tuition fees, which for TOC, is in excess of RM40000. Any working parent(s) will be more than delighted such an immense burden has been finally lifted off their shoulders; and that delight was none too obvious on my dad's face. =')'''

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