Sunday, January 15, 2012

More A*STAR India Scholarship Info - And More Updates!!!!!!

This blogspot is an off the record sequel to my Previous Post, all on the A*STAR India Youth Scholarship, an amazing opportunity for young Indians to experience the Big City Life of Singapore. If you want Interview tips, please start reading from the third paragraph. If you just want updates, read paras 1,2 and scroll down after point 7.

Its been 2 weeks, 5 days and 10 hours since the kind immigration officer at Changi Airport stamped my passport. Now, having gotten hold of my Student Pass, and a FIN number, I officially have an existence on this small island, about four times smaller than Goa, India.

The last blogpost, if I recall correctly, was finished in 50 minutes and 39 seconds (Oh, no?). Now, according to a pro blogger, it takes a novice atleast 3 hours to write one. The last blogpost was like a frantic telegram, telling those back home that I'm not being eaten up here. I'm FINE. And telegrams are short scribblings, much like what happened on that last post.

Back to work. The scholarship interview is very demanding, because MOE does not foresee any quota. They see you for 15-20 minutes, promptly ask you to leave the room and base their decision on - Your Portfolio, your Written Exam scores (Do well esp. in English) and your conduct at the interview. The following is my experience at the interview. It may vary in different ways, in different situations and depends on both the Interviewer and Interviewee. 

1. I knock the door after hearing a bell, and get in. Greeted by two smiling faces, with a third one behind the laptop, not quite bothered on what's going on. (She was actually verifying the info I gave, based on my portfolio). The lady in the centre presided over the interview. (Later, I was told that she was the principal of the National Junior College, S'pore). The other guy just chipped in here and there.

2. First question - Where are you from? How far is the place? How did you get here?

3. They then ask questions based on your portfolio. I was asked about my Grades, and told that in Singapore, I may get low grades, not because I wont study or anything, but because the system demands a lot. I gave a frank answer. That's what you give, a truthful, frank and quick answer. Also, after they ask a question, take some time to think, but not too much, before answering.

4. Next, they asked me whether I had any leadership roles in School. Yes, I was a CCA Vice Captain and the Class Monitor. They also asked me what my friends think about me. Again, I gave them what came from my heart. No tricks, no cunning.

5. They then ask about Hobbies, Interests and the all important question - Why, when you have such established grades, do you want to jump ships and come to Singapore, wasting 6 crucial months? I was perplexed, but came out with something, which I quite don't recollect.

6. Then, I got some indication that they considered me. They asked me - Whatif, you go there and get low grades? Whatif, you have to stay with filthy roommates? What would you do? That was a breeze.

7. In the end, remember to ask any relevant question, that shows that you are really interested. Say a polite Thank You, and exit the room, confidently.

Bottomline: Hear what they say. Reflect. Don't say much. Say what you think. Don't think foolish. Stay confident. 

After you exit the interview room, try ask your co-'rivals' (paradox) how their interview was. Don't lose or gain any confidence after you talk to them, your confidence level has to be the same, what is was when you exited the room. Try and stay calm, everytime.

If you have questions, and if you are a prospect for the scholarship, don't hesitate to ask me questions. I'm always there, on facebook or on ymail (

Back to life. It's been a wonderfully different experience. Much gained since what it was last week. Past Faced (Oh, Fast Paced, see, so fast that I do typo :P) Life, Sprinting to catch the SBS Buses, taking the Express lane down elevators at MRT stations, trying hard to not Jaywalk and rushing here and there to complete time commitments. Tells you about Big City Life, in another way. Another perspective, given by one of my fav bands - Mattafix, in their much relevant song - Big City Life. 

Leaving aside fast paced life, and tiring days, everyday is different here. Be it at school with whatever little % of people I know, or at the hostel with me familiar Indians or when I am on my own, any which place. Now, telling it all on this space is not possible, but again, just leave me a facebook message, or a mail or add me on skype (ID - atharvjoshi).

School's going very well, awestruck by the system here. The system expects you to work hard, work hard consistently, have fun along the way, and concentrate on short and long term goals. Help is available anytime, and so are resources. Although its a long schoolday, it keeps me occupied for half of the day. Also familiar with the Roads, MRT and Bus facilities here now, and its pretty easy. You just have to use your frontal cortex.

Among other things, my next blogpost will be on what I expect to be a helluva weekend - Exploring (part) of another country, having fun, trying out different things, and expecting to exhaust myself throughout the day, only to find comfort in my sleeping bag. The Sec 3 Resilience Camp at Temasek Sec is often cited as one of the best memories Temasekians have. The camp is only for Sec3s, held at Pahang, Malaysia. Visit their Facebook page! There are three groups - Wilderness, Horizon and Summit. Me, in Summit, will try Abseiling, Cave Exploring, Rock Climbing and the like. I expect to come back with an overblown haversack, a tired/beaten/possibly injured me and a lot of experience. Experience that is invaluable and ingainable (is this word in Oxford?) to anyone sitting infront of their 1366x768 res 14" Laptop screen.

Till then, I retire thinking about what/who I miss back in Goa, all the wonderful things I used to do, the fun I am having at present, the fun I will have in the coming future, and new ways of making certain people jealous by writing more and more blogposts with more and more updates!

Later till then!



  1. Hi all,

    A*STAR India Youth Scholarships this year to outstanding students for 4 years of studies in Singapore. A dynamic and global city, Singapore offers high education standards and rich opportunities for research and higher learning. Thanks a lot....

  2. hallo Atharv, my daughter is filling in the forms for india youth scholarship, she is in 9th std, can u pls tell me if other achievements in sports etc should also b highlighted while filling in the forms

  3. Yes, if you see the form, it has spaces where you are required to fill in your co-curricular achievements. They take sports' achievements very importantly too - they did for me. :)

  4. Thanks a lot bro.... Can u tell me how much money i have to pay from my pocket
    other than Scholarship. How much will be hostel accommodation and mess
    charges (an average amount) for a year. I belong to a upper middle cast
    family so i required these information.I am looking for your reply...

  5. Hello aspirants

    I'm Mukul Mehta and am also waiting for the Update..

    Has anybody received the mail inviting them to take the interview.

    Lets start a New Facebook Page:

    For all aspirants to give updates on the scholarship..

    Thank you

    and lets keep ourselves updated.

    Mukul Mehta

  6. Atharv can you be more concise, I was missing harassing u during lunch/dinner so I read your blog and I am bored of you for another year.