Sunday, 30 March 2014

MARA Scholarship - The savior for many

     So, the MARA Education Loan—one of the most anticipated ‘scholarships’ that any Bumi would seek after passing their SPM with flying colours. One that, in truth, isn’t very hard to snag but then again, luck has to be on your side.
       First, you should check the MARA website to know when the application is open after SPM results and they should have a Facebook page that is the go-to page for everything about the scholarship. Applying itself isn’t so hard. It’s pretty much the usual fill in all your details and specifying which major and where you want to go. You’ll have two options that are available. Make sure you pay attention to what you choose for those two options and in what order because your first choice will be the one they prioritise for you. They release all the choices in pdf form and you have to basically just choose the code for the option that you want and input it into your application. Remember to save all your stuff after you’re done . Don’t worry too much about the major choices because you can change it all the way until the final closing date for the application.
         Okay, before that, let’s just briefly go through the differences between the MARA convertible loan and JPA-MARA scholarship. Like the names, MARA is practically a loan in which you eventually have to pay back when you work and how much you pay back depends on what class you graduate from your degree with. JPA-MARA Scholarship is a bonded scholarship. MARA is more black and white with their major options so you know where you will go, how many years you’ll do and what type of major you’re in. JPA-MARA is a little more vague on that part as they don’t specify it in their list of major options. For example, I as a MARA scholar knew that I was going to end up in ADFP in INTEC as an engineering major who is heading to the USA because that was my first choice and that’s what I got. A JPA-MARA Scholar who chose the US/UK option for engineering could either end up in INTEC as an A-Level student heading to US or UK or end up in KTT to do A Levels as well or be one of 40 lucky ones to fly to Vanderbilt University in July. If you want certainty, go for MARA.
        So after filling the application, you basically have to wait until they announce the time to check whether you get shortlisted for the temuduga or not. It’s simple: just log in and check. If you did get it, just follow the instructions and look at what is needed and where it’s held. Mine was held in MRSM Kepala Batas since I’m from the northern region.
         On the day itself, just dress formally. No need for a blazer or anything because unlike the JPA-MARA scholars who do need to go through an interview, all we had to do was a psychometric test. The test is basically an IQ test that you wouldn’t and shouldn’t pointlessly study for. There will also be an essay with a set word limit. PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORD LIMIT. As much as you want to show your writing skills and write two full pages for the prompt, DON’T. Some people prolly did not get the scholarship because of such mistakes. If you’re lucky, get your hands on the essay topic and plan earlier because the whole test+essay will only be an hour. Pace yourself.
           Once you’ve done the test, you’re practically done. Just wait for the day MARA updates their website for the last decision and tolerate the constant signs of incompetence and you’ll be a-okay. Btw, the modules for the temuduga change from year to year so just be prepared for anything.

So that’s all from me. I would like to suggest coming to INTEC and doing ADFP if you like a challenge. Here is where you truly understand what it’s like to feel burning hatred for those who moan about getting a 3.5+ and not a 4.0 in other colleges because here, it takes an average of 90 to be able to scrape 3.5. However, it definitely isn’t impossible if you put your mind to it. Good luck!

Atiqah Hamzah
University of Texas, U.S.A
Intec Education College
MARA Scholar - 2013