Well, while I was of no help, we should all be happy to know that Calvin managed to secure for himself a scholarship from Astro to pursue his further studies at Berkeley. Congratulations!
A month or so back, when he called me to inform me that he has successfully secured the scholarship, which was practically his last standing option, I told him that he should write about his experiences and share it with others and that I would be happy to publish them here. Well, he did one better, he wrote on his experiences in 2 parts, Part I and Part II, and started his very own blog. :)
Go visit and learn about his inspiration, the challenges he faced and how he made the Astro scholarship his very own. I am certain that Calvin himself will serve as an inspiration to other Malaysian students as well.
Relevant to my earlier blog post, it is just absolutely incredulous how JPA reacted to his having already secured a place at the prestigious engineering university.
In my JPA interview, I mentioned that I got into Berkeley and they gave me that curt “don’t tell us where you want to go, we’ll decide where to send you” answer.Gosh, what type of nincompoops do we have administering the scholarship department at JPA? We probably have people who can't spell A to Z (mis)administering and (mis)allocating the country's funds to the country's top talents.
I'll repeat my earlier questions to JPA:
Which is more important and which makes more sense for Malaysia?Anyway, it was great to see Calvin, through his own persistence and resourcefulness found his way to achieving his dreams. And I believe that Calvin will agree with me that he wouldn't consider himself a super-genius. You need to be smart, but not necessarily a genius to get into the top schools around the world. All it takes is a bit of courage, a bit of effort and persistence, and you'd be surprised where that can bring you.
- Award overseas undergraduate scholarships to post-SPM students who have yet to undergo pre-university programmes or examinations, and have not secured any placements in top universities overseas? This has often resulted in students being sponsored to study in 2nd or 3rd tier universities in Britain and the United States, as well as being sent to other 3rd world countries. OR
- Award overseas undergraduate scholarships only to students who have successfully completed pre-university programmes or examinations and have received conditional or unconditional acceptance into the top-rated and most selective universities in the world, such as University of California, Berkeley or Cambridge University, UK?
Someone wrote a bit earlier on my post reminding readers about those interested in Oxbridge admissions that "If one really wants to apply for Oxford or Cambridge [or other similar top institutions], (s)he would have found out all the necessary bits and pieces long ago." I disagree. I believe that there are many qualified Malaysians who are capable of entering these top universities but have not entered largely because many did not even bother applying. It is necessary to encourage a greater number of applications and show that one doesn't have to be an Albert Einstein to qualify and secure for themselves a real world class education.