UNAIR NEWS – Suwaibatul Annisa or known as Ica, UNAIR Veterinary Medicine student class of 2017 managed to be the only Indonesian student who managed to get a scholarship from the MSD Animal Health / WVA Veterinary Student Scholarship Program 2020. From this program, Ica received education financial assistance of $5000.
“The fund will be used to upgrade my career in veterinary medicine and to enhance my academic experience by doing internships or attending conferences,” said Ica.
One of the most memorable moments from Ica’s experience getting the scholarship was the preparation stage. In addition to preparing transcripts and certificates, Ica also needed to request letters of recommendation from lecturers, deans and write a personal statement. When writing her personal statement, Ica reflected on what she has done and will do.
According to Ica, there are several things that need to be considered in applying for scholarships, such as not being afraid to try, doing things way ahead the deadline, reading and understanding the program requirements, preparing a letter of recommendation properly, and writing a personal statement.
Letter of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are usually written by lecturers, deans, or professors at the faculties where students study. Ica recommends that students ask for the letter from lecturers or professors who have worked with students in projects. “Choose lecturers who really know and have worked with us,” said Ica.
Furthermore, students also need to ask the relevant lecturer to write a recommendation letter using verbs instead of adjectives. For example, the recommendation letter should not say ‘Ica is a diligent and hard-working student’ but ‘Ica has managed to organize practical classes while joining my department’.
“The language of the recommendation letter must also be clear, unique, simple, but impactful,” she continued.
In making personal statement, students need to mention their activities that have been carried out. There are several things that need to be written in a personal statement, such as telling about individual strengths, studies, financial situation, and potential in the future. For that, students need to know their passion.
Students are also asked to write down the three contributions they have made, their career goals, and the role of their field of study or career in the country. So, students need to know themselves, their potential, and the field of work they will be in.
One way to find your passion and career goals is to experiment by trying everything so you know which activities you enjoy or not, which one can or cannot be cultivated.
“Do it now while still we’re young. Try everything in order to know which one you enjoy or not, which one can be cultivated or not, “explained Ica.
In preparing the requirements to apply for a scholarship. Ica also experienced obstacles such as when asking for a letter of recommendation from the vice dean for student affairs.
According to her, international and national level scholarships have different formats of recommendation letters. The scholarship program Ica applied requires recommendation letters to be written in the form of an essay, but the format for faculty student affairs is only include the name and student ID number (NIM).
“Because a recommendation letter requires a letter head, it takes time to discuss with student affairs so that they could change the format into an essay form,” explained Ica.
Another challenge is in terms of language. International scholarship programs require some documents to be in English. For that, students need to have good English skills. So, students need to hone their English skills as early as possible.
“Preparation of documents and scholarship application requirements should not be done close to the deadline because we can miss the opportunity,” she concluded. (*)
Author: Galuh Mega Kurnia
Editor : Binti Q. Masruroh