By Juliet Soh
Scholarships issued by local universities, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), are voted as most popular among recent 'A' Level and International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma graduates, according to an annual survey by BrightSparks, Singapore's largest scholarship and higher education media.
From March to April this year, a total of 2,738 respondents took the 2012 BrightSparks Scholarship & Career Survey, which targets potential scholarship recipients. 1,533 of them are 'A' Level and IB diploma graduates, 650 are final year polytechnic students, and the remaining 555 are undergraduates in their first and second year of study at NUS, NTU and Singapore Management University (SMU).
NUS retained last year’s top spot and is once again the most popular scholarship provider among 'A' Level and IB diploma graduates. NTU climbed up one position and is in second place this year. The Public Service Commission (PSC), which was ranked second in 2011, slides four positions to be ranked sixth this year. Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines and the Economic Development Board made up the rest of the top five positions at third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
"University scholarships have been progressively gaining popularity over the years. We've been observing this trend for quite a while now, and it’s not surprising that the top two spots are taken by NUS and NTU this year," said Mr Lim Der Shing, CEO of JobsCentral Group that owns BrightSparks.
NUS came in at the 14th position when the BrightSparks' scholarship provider rankings started in 2007. In 2008, it saw a thirteen position jump to the second spot before clinching the top honour in 2011, topping the PSC, a traditional favourite. NUS maintained the top position this year with 47.8% of vote-share.
NTU has been occupying the top five positions for the last five years and showed steady improvement in the rankings except for a two-position dip in 2010. This is the first time NTU attained second position in the rankings after improving their vote-share by 4.5%. to 31.8%
"University scholarships allow more freedom in courses of study and are also predominately bond-free. Both of which, are attractive to our bright young students looking to have the best of both worlds - the prestige and financial benefits of a scholarship, as well as the ability to decide what to study and which career path to embark on. We expect this trend to continue in the future," says Mr. Lim.
Other results from the survey:
55.4% of 'A' Level and IB graduates expect more than $3,000 monthly pay for first job
55.4% of 'A' Level and IB graduates indicated that their expected salary per month for their first job is more than $3,000. One in ten expects more than $4,000 per month after they graduate. In the last three years, majority of the respondents expected a range of $2,500-$3,000 per month.
More 'A' Level and IB graduates only want to study locally
49.8% of the surveyed 'A' Level and IB graduates said that they would only want to study locally. This constitutes an increase of 4.4% percentage over last year’s 45.5%. Another 45.6% indicated that they will consider both local and overseas universities, and 4.5% said that they only want to study overseas.
Business Administration remains the most popular course of study
Business Administration remains the most popular course of study this year, with 40% of 'A' Level and IB diploma respondents selecting it as their course of choice, followed by Accounting (28.8%), Engineering (28.6%), Economics (26.9%) and Social Sciences (26.7%).
Banking & Financial Services is hottest industry to work in
Banking & Financial Services is the most popular industry to work in for 42.1% of recent 'A' Level and IB diploma graduates and 42.7% of first and second year university graduates. On the other hand, the most popular industry for final year polytechnic students is the Airline & Travel industry, with 32% indicating interest to work there when they graduate.
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