Introduction

Welcome! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

How I previously planned for my future?

When it comes to education, there are several plans that everyone has to make: what pre-university programme to study after secondary school, what degree course to study, which university to study, how to get a scholarship, and so on. These plans are important as they will determine our future. Currently, I am studying Medicine in university. Have you ever wondered, how did I make these plans in the past?

When I was still a child, the first ambition I had was to be an architect, because my father is an architect, so I wanted to follow him. However, I knew little about how the job of an architect is like, and I had no idea whether I am actually interested in architecture or not. Later, as I grew up, I observed that my father's job of an architect is quite busy and stressful. I also disliked and was very poor in arts. Besides, there were a few times where I followed my father to construction sites, and I did not feel comfortable being in such places. All these made me question my ambition to be an architect. Later, I realised that I had interest in Medicine. This, in addition to the fact that I like to help others, caused me to change my ambition and I wanted to become a doctor instead. Then in September 2009 when I was in Form 2, an incident happened which made me realised that some doctors are really money-minded and they cause a lot of sufferings to the patients. (That incident involved my family, so to protect my family's confidentiality, I am not going to explain in detail about that incident here.) I felt that I could make a difference by becoming a doctor, so this strengthened my ambition to be a doctor. Since then, I had decided that I want to study Medicine. My parents preferred that I study Engineering, but they did not oppose my decision, while my grandparents fully supported my decision. Therefore, long before completing secondary school, I had planned the degree course that I want to study.

Since when I was young, my family had planned to let me study in Australia when my enter university, mainly because my parents previously graduated from a university in Australia. I initially agreed to their plans, but later as I grew up, I felt that I preferred to study in Malaysia instead of overseas, mainly because I was used to the environment in Malaysia and I knew it would be difficult for me to adapt to the environment in other countries. However, I did not tell my family about that because they might feel unhappy. Then when I was in secondary school, my grandparents heard that there are many who study in Malaysian universities, and they felt that it might be better for me to study locally since the cost would be much lower than studying overseas. I definitely agreed with them, and I told them that all the while I had wanted to study locally. My parents also agreed about that. Since then, I had planned to study Medicine in a local university. At that time, I only knew about local public universities such as USM and UM, but not any of the local private universities.

But what about my plans on the pre-university programme? Since primary school, I wanted to study STPM after completing Form 5. The reason was that by studying STPM, I could continue studying in the same secondary school and continue staying in Kulim for another 2 years. At that time, I did not know about any pre-university programmes other than STPM, and I often questioned why many students chose not to study STPM. However, somewhere during year 2010 when I was in Form 3, my grandparents came to know about a pre-university programme which is the MOE Matriculation. According to what they heard, students who study Matriculation are guaranteed entry into local public universities as long as they pass its examination, although they may have to get better results than that in order to study the course they preferred, while students who study STPM are not guaranteed entry into local public universities despite getting excellent results. Matriculation is also much easier to study compared to STPM. Therefore, they felt that studying Matriculation is much better compared to STPM. I agreed with my grandparents about this. Since then, I planned to study Matriculation after completing Form 5, and I no longer wanted to study STPM. Unlike STPM, only students who are offered Matriculation can study it, and the offers are given based on the SPM results. At that time, I thought that I could get the offer for Matriculation as long as I get straight A in SPM, and I believed that it would not be too difficult for me to get that result. When my parents knew that I wanted to study Matriculation, they also agreed with my plan.

After entering Form 4 in year 2011, I had a new aim. In addition to getting the offer for Matriculation, I also aimed to get the JPA scholarship. At that time, the JPA scholarship was awarded based on the SPM results. Initially, my target was to get only straight A but not straight A+ in SPM, because I thought that straight A would be sufficient in order to be offered Matriculation and the JPA scholarship. Later in June 2011, I saw on the newspaper that for that year, only students who obtained straight A+ in SPM would be guaranteed the JPA scholarship. Therefore, I set myself a new target of getting straight A+ in SPM, so that I could get the JPA scholarship. Shortly after that, I heard of rumours that starting from the following year, the JPA scholarship would no longer be awarded to SPM leavers, instead it would only be awarded to leavers of STPM and other pre-university programmes. I thought that the rumour was not true so I just ignored it.

In April 2012 when I was in Form 5, the Ministry of Education announced that starting from year 2012 onwards, the KPM Bursary would be offered to all students who obtained at least 9A+ in SPM, and it will sponsor for pre-university programmes such as STPM, Matriculation and A level. They also announced that students sponsored by the KPM Bursary could be offered the JPA scholarship for their degree course after completing the pre-university programme, provided that they meet the requirements. However, the newspaper article regarding that announcement was unclear in some parts so I could not fully understand it. My lack of understanding about the KPM Bursary caused me to not take it seriously. Later, I heard that 2 of the seniors in my school were not offered Matriculation on that year, even though both of them obtained straight A+ in SPM and were offered the KPM Bursary. This gave me the impression that one had to get straight A+ in SPM to even stand a chance of being offered Matriculation. I told myself that I must get straight A+ in SPM, and I prayed that I would get the offer for Matriculation. At that time, I felt that getting the offer for Matriculation was more important than getting the KPM Bursary.

Later in year 2012, my parents told me that other than Matriculation, A level is also a good pre-university programme, and I could study A level at Taylor’s College or Sunway College in Subang Jaya. They also said that I could enrol for A level using my SPM trial examination results and start A level in January 2013 before my actual SPM results is released. However, I was not interested in A level because I thought that it is only for students who want to study overseas, while I wanted to study in Malaysia. I then planned that I would study A level only if I fail to get the offer for Matriculation, but even then I would start A level only after my actual SPM results is released, because I did not want to move from Kulim to Subang Jaya so soon in January 2013 and I wanted to relax for a few months after finishing SPM. At that time, I preferred Sunway College over Taylor’s College, because I felt that the name ‘Sunway’ sounds much better than ‘Taylor’s’ which sounds like ‘tailors’. Later, I heard that many colleges have intakes in January, April and July every year, so this showed that there is the option to start studying after the actual SPM results is released.

On 10 August 2012, I applied for Matriculation through online, and I selected Kolej MARA Kulim, Kolej Matrikulasi Pulau Pinang and Kolej Matrikulasi Selangor as my preferred colleges. I hoped that I would be offered to study Matriculation at Kolej MARA Kulim, so that I could continue to stay in Kulim. However, during my SPM examination in November 2012, I did not answer well for many of the papers. This was probably because I was too stressed due to studying too hard. As a result, I was only confident of getting 7A+ 3A, and I gave up hope on getting straight A+. My chance of getting the offer for Matriculation would be low without straight A+ in SPM, so I realised that I had to make alternative plans. I hoped that I could get 9A+ 1A in SPM so that I could still qualify for the KPM Bursary, but I was not even confident about that. I lied to my family that I was confident of getting straight A+ in SPM, because I did not want them to feel worried. However, I did not tell them anything about the KPM Bursary, because I was worried that if they knew the KPM Bursary existed, they would assume that I would definitely get it since I had told them I could get straight A+ while it only requires 9A+, and consequently they might not make any alternative plans for me.

On 29 November 2012 which was 2 days after my SPM examination ended, my parents telephoned me and advised me to enrol for A level at Taylor's College for the January 2013 intake, giving the reason that there was no guarantee that I would get the offer for Matriculation. They also said that I could still switch to Matriculation later if I got the offer. Since I knew I had a low chance of getting the offer for Matriculation, I agreed to study A level first. However, I told my parents that I wanted to start A level in April 2013 instead of January 2013 and that I preferred to study at Sunway College instead of Taylor's College. My parents agreed to let me decide myself whether to study at Sunway College or Taylor's College. However, they insisted that I must start studying in January 2013 because most students would start at that time and they said that the April intake is most probably available for diploma programmes only but not A level. I refused to listen to them and I argued with them. As a result, my parents got angry and they ended the phone call abruptly. I felt very stressed about that. When my grandparents knew about the incident, they said that they would always respect my own decision and that they would try to tell my parents to do the same. On the following day, my parents telephoned me again and it seemed that they were not angry any more. They told me that both Taylor's College and Sunway College would be having an open day soon and asked me to attend it. They also said that after attending the open day, I would understand that I had to start in January 2013. I agreed to attend the open day.

On 7 December 2012, my parents took me to have a look at the locations of both Taylor's College and Sunway College. After looking at their locations, I felt that I did not like the location of Sunway College, and instead, Taylor's College's location is much better. Therefore, I changed my mind and preferred Taylor's College over Sunway College. I decided to attend the open day for Taylor's College only but not Sunway College. On 8 December 2012, I attended the Taylor's College’s open day with my parents. During the open day, the course counsellor introduced us the pre-university programmes offered by Taylor's College which are A level, SAM, CPU and IB. I decided to choose A level over the others because it is fully examination based which suits my study style. The counsellor also showed us the universities which former Taylor’s College students were studying in. For Medicine course, many of them studied at IMU which is a local private university. That was the first time where I heard about IMU. I registered for Taylor's College’s A Level programme on the spot. The course counsellor said that I could choose to start the programme either in January or April, but he strongly advised me to start in January because students who start in April would have to do self-study to cover up for what they had missed during the first 3 months. Therefore, I had no choice but to start A level in January 2013. After attending the open day for Taylor’s College, I searched on Google about IMU. I found out that IMU is quite a good university, and it accepts both A level and Matriculation. Since then, I hoped that I would be able to study Medicine at IMU.

I started studying at Taylor's College on 14 January 2013. I was able to adapt to life at Taylor's College easily, but in the beginning I did not like it, because the environment in Taylor's College is quite different from that in secondary school and I missed secondary school life very much. I felt that it would be much better if I study Matriculation because the environment in Matriculation colleges is likely much more similar to secondary school. Therefore, I kept telling my parents that I would definitely switch to Matriculation if I got the offer later, even though I knew that my chance of getting the offer was very low. However, as time went on, I began to enjoy life at Taylor's College, mainly because of the excellent facilities there and the freedom that I could enjoy due to the lenient rules there. Soon, I had enjoyed life at Taylor's College so much that I no longer wanted to study Matriculation. However, I did not tell my parents about that, as I felt that this would be an 'admission of defeat', because earlier I was so sure that I wanted to study Matriculation but I now realised that my parents were right in asking me to study at Taylor's College.

On 21 March 2013, my SPM results was released and I obtained 9A+ 1A, so I met the requirements for the KPM Bursary. The subject which I did not get A+ was English. At that time, I finally told my family about the existence of the KPM Bursary and that it would sponsor for A Level, but I also noted that its requirement might change on that year since the Ministry of Education had not yet announced about the KPM Bursary for that year. I knew that it was highly unlikely that I would be offered Matriculation because I did not get straight A+ in SPM, but I did not feel sad about that since I no longer wanted to study Matriculation. Then, it was confirmed on 24 March 2013 that I would be offered the KPM Bursary.

On 29 March 2013, Taylor's College gave a briefing for all students who were offered the KPM Bursary. During the briefing, we were told that after completing A Level under the KPM Bursary, we could be offered the JPA scholarship for our degree course if we are successful in getting an unconditional offer from one of the universities in the JPA's list. For Medicine course, the JPA's list at that time included all local public universities and the top 10 foreign universities according to the Times Higher Education ranking, where 6 of them were US universities and the other 4 were UK universities. Local private universities such as IMU were not in the JPA's list so they would not be sponsored. This was a problem, because A Level was not accepted for entry into Medicine course at local public universities, and the Medicine course at those 6 US universities were only available for postgraduate entry. To make matters worse, those 4 UK universities included Cambridge University and Oxford University, but it is only possible to apply to either one of them, not both. Therefore, in order to be sponsored by the JPA scholarship to study Medicine, the only way is to apply to either Cambridge University or Oxford University, as well as the 2 other UK universities in the JPA's list, and get offered a place by 1 of the 3 universities. Since those universities are very highly ranked, it would be very competitive to get an offer. Even then, there was no 100% guarantee that we would be offered the JPA scholarship. Therefore, it was extremely difficult to get the JPA scholarship for Medicine course, and I gave up hope on getting it. When I told my parents about that, they advised me not to give up so easily, but they also reassured me that they could afford the study fees for the Medicine course at IMU. So, I planned to study Medicine at IMU after completing A Level and let my parents fund my studies.

Taylor's College had 2 weeks of holidays from 30 March 2013 to 14 April 2013 and I went back to Kulim during that time. In Kulim, I often had conversations with my grandparents regarding my future. My grandparents said that they hoped that I could get the offer to study Medicine at a top UK university such as Cambridge, and be sponsored by the JPA scholarship. I replied that this would be quite difficult, and that I preferred to study locally which was what I planned all the while. They then said that it would be silly for me to reject the opportunity to study overseas. I then argued that they had previously agreed that it would be better for me to study locally, so now they should not change their view on that. At last, my grandparents agreed to leave the final decision about this to myself, while I also promised them that I would still try applying to the UK universities in the JPA’s list.

At that time, my grandparents also advised me to continue studying A Level at Taylor's College even if I am offered Matriculation, and they gave several reasons for that. Since I no longer wanted to study Matriculation, I agreed with my grandparents that I should continue studying at Taylor's College. However, I strongly disagreed with the main reason they gave for that. My grandparents said that since majority of my classmates in Taylor's College obtained A+ for English in SPM while I did not, I should continue studying at Taylor's College and learn from my classmates in order to improve my English. I did not like it whenever my grandparents asked me to learn from others, because I preferred to teach others and let others learn from me instead, and I felt that I could also improve myself by teaching others. I remembered that during Form 5, I had a crush on a girl (not any more now) who was weak in academics, so I often taught her and I felt happy about that. However, my grandparents said that I should learn from others instead of teaching others, because by teaching others I could only improve within my own abilities, but by learning from others I could improve beyond my own abilities. I was very unhappy after hearing what my grandparents said because that signposted that it was wrong for me to teach my crush previously. Consequently, I dismissed my grandparents' advice about that completely, even though I actually wanted to continue studying A Level at Taylor's College. As a result, my grandparents thought that I really wanted to study Matriculation if I get the offer.

On 5 April 2013, my grandfather met one of his former student who previously studied Matriculation and was studying Medicine at a local public university at that time, and spoke to him for some time. My grandfather told me and my grandmother that according to that student, studying Matriculation is not easy as it seems because life is difficult, since it is compulsory for all students to stay in the hostel which has poor facilities, even if their house is near the college, and students are only allowed to go out once every 2 weeks. I agreed with that and I felt happy because my grandfather could finally give a good reason to advise me to continue studying at Taylor's College. I wanted to tell my grandparents straight away that I no longer wanted to study Matriculation, but before I could tell them, my grandfather added that despite the difficult life, studying Matriculation has its advantages according to that student. The main advantage is that Matriculation students could get into local public universities easily because they are given priority over students studying STPM or other pre-university programmes. In particular, during that student's batch, all students in his Matriculation college who applied for Medicine course at local public universities, were successful in being offered a place, as long as they obtained straight A in the Matriculation examination. That student also told my grandfather that many students who were offered Matriculation only got straight A but not straight A+ in SPM, so I still had a considerable chance of getting the offer for Matriculation.

My grandparents then said that although Matriculation life may be difficult, it would be just 12 months, and this is outweighed by the fact that I would be almost guaranteed entry into Medicine course at local public universities. They also said that studying A Level at Taylor's College under the KPM Bursary is not that good after all since it would be difficult to get the JPA scholarship for Medicine course. They felt that if I could study Matriculation and then get into local public universities, then it would not matter even if I do not get the JPA scholarship since the study fees for local public universities are quite low. Besides, they felt that since I did not want to study overseas, it would be better for me to study Matriculation instead of A Level. My grandparents also thought that I preferred to study Matriculation. All these reasons caused them to change their mind and they began advising me to switch to Matriculation if I got the offer, instead of continue studying at Taylor's College. Later, they told my parents about this. My parents seemed to agree with my grandparents, and they also said that Matriculation students could enter both local public universities and private universities but A Level students could not enter local public universities, implying that Matriculation is a better choice.

I began to feel a little worried that my family might force me to switch to Matriculation if I got the offer. Even after knowing the advantages of studying Matriculation, I definitely did not want to switch to Matriculation, because by doing so I would be separated with my friends in Taylor's College and I could no longer enjoy the freedom and excellent facilities in Taylor's College. Therefore, I quickly accepted the KPM Bursary on 18 April 2013, and I chose A Level as my programme of choice and Taylor's College as my college of choice. After accepting the KPM Bursary, it is not possible to change the programme and college of choice unless if I give up the bursary. So, in case I am offered Matriculation and my family forces me to switch, I could use this as an excuse not to switch. However, my grandparents said that I should switch to Matriculation even if that meant I would be losing the KPM Bursary, because studying Matriculation is free anyway.

On 24 April 2013 which was one day before the results of the application for Matriculation was released, my grandmother asked me whether I would be switching to Matriculation if I am offered Matriculation. I replied that I would be switching only if I am offered to study at Kolej MARA Kulim. I replied like that just to avoid her from feeling unhappy, but in reality, I did not want to switch even if I got Kolej MARA Kulim. However, my grandmother wanted me to switch if I got the offer regardless of which Matriculation college I was offered. I then reminded her that most likely I would not get the offer because I did not obtain straight A+ in SPM. She then warned me not to lie to her about the results, otherwise she would be very angry. After that conversation with my grandmother, I felt very stressed. If what my grandfather's former student said was true, it was possible that I would be offered Matriculation, and if that happened, I would be forced to switch to Matriculation. I really did not want to switch, so I kept praying that I would not get the offer. This was such an irony, because in the past I wanted to study Matriculation so much, but now it is the exact opposite. On 25 April 2013, the results of the application for Matriculation was released and I did not get the offer for Matriculation. I felt happy and relieved about that because I could continue studying at Taylor's College, but in front of my family I pretended to feel disappointed about that. My grandmother believed me about that. My family then told me not to feel sad and said that studying A level at Taylor's College is also quite good.

However, I later found out that my greatest enemy in secondary school, Thinnesh Kumar, got the offer for Matriculation, even though my SPM results was much better than him. I was unhappy about that because I felt that Thinnesh Kumar did not deserve it. So, I thought that I must also get the offer for Matriculation so that I would not lose to him in this matter. I submitted an appeal for Matriculation through online. If my appeal was successful, I would not tell my family about that, and I definitely would not switch to Matriculation, because I just wanted an offer. Later, my grandfather came to know that 2 of my secondary school friends whose SPM results were not as good as mine were offered Matriculation, so he advised me to appeal for Matriculation. I told him that I had made an online appeal, but he preferred that I go to the Ministry of Education to make an appeal. My grandfather also told my father about that. At that time, my father had a friend who is a teacher. He asked his friend for advice about my case, and his friend said that students who were offered the KPM Bursary would no longer be offered Matriculation, so that it is fair to those who did not get the bursary. His friend also told him that if I go to the Ministry of Education to appeal for Matriculation, the appeal might be successful, but then I would lose the KPM Bursary. Therefore, I had to choose between Matriculation and KPM Bursary.

My choice was definitely the KPM Bursary, but due to the fear of 'admission of defeat' as I mentioned earlier, I did not immediately tell my father my choice, instead I told him to give me some time to decide. My father then said that soon it would be the 2013 General Election on 5 May 2013 which is a public holiday and he would only make the appeal after that, so I still had time until then to decide. However, my father also noted that he had already planned to go ahead with the appeal, so if I choose the KPM Bursary over Matriculation, he would have to change his plans. On 6 May 2013, I finally told my father that I chose the KPM Bursary, because I was worried that if I still do not tell him, I might really lose the bursary. However, after my father knew my decision, he still wanted to go to the Ministry of Education to appeal for Matriculation. He retracted his statement earlier and reassured me that according to his friend, even if I continue with the appeal and the appeal turns out to be successful, I would not lose the KPM Bursary unless if I then accept the offer for Matriculation. With my father's reassurance about that, I agreed to continue appealing for Matriculation.

On 8 May 2013, my father asked me to write a letter for the Matriculation appeal. He actually wanted to go to the Ministry of Education to appeal on the next day, but he did not tell me about that. Because of that, in addition to the fact that I actually did not want to study Matriculation anymore, I did not put in my effort to write a good letter, and I also did not prepare any other important documents such as photocopies of my SPM results slip and my identity card for the appeal. Consequently on 9 May 2013, when my father went to the Ministry of Education for the appeal, he had to go from one department to another to get those documents because he did not have them, and the whole process took him about 8 hours. He was unhappy about that and he blamed me for not providing him with those documents beforehand. Only at that time I knew that my father had gone to the Ministry of Education.

Soon after that incident, another problem arose. When I accepted the KPM Bursary earlier, I chose to continue with the January intake of Taylor's College instead of switching to the July intake, and the Ministry of Education had clearly stated that this is allowed. The main reason I wanted to remain in the January intake was because I did not want to separate with my college classmates. Also, I could enter university half year earlier compared to students in the July intake. However, many of the students who received the KPM Bursary had not started studying A Level in January, so their only option was to start in July. Besides, some of the Bursary students who already started A Level in January, including 2 of my college classmates, chose to switch to the July intake. As a result, majority of the Bursary students would be in the July intake and I was among the minority who were in the January intake. Consequently, my mother preferred that I switch to the July intake. She was worried that the Ministry of Education might simply withdraw my KPM Bursary if I did not switch to the July intake. She was also concerned that even if they do not withdraw my bursary, I might be disadvantaged in certain ways for being in the minority group of Bursary students in the January intake. Besides, Bursary students in the July intake would get 6 additional months of allowance compared to those in the January intake, so my mother wanted me to take advantage of that.

I explained to my mother that it was definitely not true that I would lose my KPM Bursary or be disadvantaged, and that entering university earlier is more important than the additional allowance. However, my mother did not fully believe what I said and she still wanted me to switch to the July intake. I argued that previously she was the one who insisted that that I start A Level in January. However, she said that if she had known that the KPM Bursary existed, she would definitely let me start in July and she would not have to waste money paying the fees for the first 6 months of my A Level programme. She blamed me for not letting her know about the existence of the KPM Bursary. I explained to her that I did not let her know because I was not confident of getting 9A+ in SPM, but she did not really accept my explanation. I made it clear to her that I would definitely not switch to the July intake. Although she did not force me to switch, this incident caused some misunderstandings within my family, which then led to a series of family arguments.

Somewhere in May 2013, my father told me that he saw an advertisement on the newspaper that the JPA scholarship is available for Medicine course at Perdana University which is a local private university, and he advised me to apply to Perdana University. I did not believe that because I knew that the JPA's list of universities only included local public universities and foreign universities but not local private universities. However, my father showed me the advertisement to prove that it really existed. I then checked the website of Perdana University. The website was poorly designed and had little information about the university, so I had the feeling that the advertisement was fake and therefore I did not pay much attention to Perdana University. Later in that month, when I was searching on Google for JPA's list of universities, I came across an updated list. The updated list was similar to the previous list, except that the updated list also included local private universities such as IMU, AIMST, Monash Malaysia, NUMed Malaysia and Perdana University. I felt very happy about that and I regained hope of getting the JPA scholarship, although I was aware that it is still not easy as most likely I would need to attend interviews for it. That also made me realised that the Perdana University's advertisement earlier was actually true. At that time, I did not know that NUMed Malaysia is the Malaysian branch of Newcastle University UK, so I did not pay much attention to it.

On 13 June 2013, the results of the appeal for Matriculation was finally out, and my appeal was unsuccessful. I mostly felt happy about that because I definitely did not want to study Matriculation anymore even if the appeal was successful, and the unsuccessful appeal meant that there would no risk that I would lose the KPM Bursary. I was a only little disappointed that I ultimately lost the 'battle' with my greatest enemy, Thinnesh Kumar, to get the offer for Matriculation.

On 18 July 2013, the Ministry of Education organised a briefing at the Multi Purpose Hall of Taylor's College for all Bursary students in my college. Before the briefing started, we were given the offer letter for KPM Bursary. With the offer letter, it was confirmed that I received the KPM Bursary to study A Level at Taylor's College. During the briefing, the officers from Ministry of Education talked mostly about the KPM Bursary and very little about the JPA scholarship. Then during the question and answer session, many students asked about the JPA scholarship, but the officers declined to answer most of the questions regarding JPA scholarship, giving the reason that JPA and Ministry of Education are 2 different entities so we should contact JPA for any enquiries about the JPA scholarship. One of the few things that the officers said about the JPA scholarship was that Bursary students would not be given any priority over non-Bursary students when applying for the JPA scholarship. That made me and other students feel worried, but I decided to just leave it to fate. Later, one of my close friend in college told me that according to one of his friend who also received the KPM Bursary, Bursary students need not be interviewed when applying for the JPA scholarship, unlike the non-Bursary students. I did not fully believe that, but I hoped that it would be true.

On 17 September 2013, I submitted the application to UK universities through UCAS. Even though I preferred to study in Malaysia instead of overseas, I still decided to apply to UK universities because I felt it would be good to widen my choice. I chose to apply to Oxford, UCL and ICL because they were in the JPA’s list of universities. UCAS allowed me to apply to up to 4 universities for Medicine, so I also applied to KCL which was not in the JPA’s list. Then in early October 2013, one of my college friend who also received the KPM Bursary got the latest JPA’s list of universities from the office of Taylor’s College, and she showed me the list. In this list, for Medicine course at foreign universities, the 4 UK universities remained the same, but all the 6 US universities had been removed and replaced with HKU, NUS, Monash Australia, KCL, Manchester and Edinburgh. This list continued to include local private universities. I liked the new JPA’s list because it made it easier to get the JPA scholarship for Medicine at foreign universities, and KCL which I applied to was now in the list. I planned to apply to HKU, NUS and Monash Australia. I remembered that I liked the environment in Singapore and Hong Kong when I went there in the past few years because they were similar to the environment in Malaysia, so I felt that it would be great if I could study in HKU or NUS. At that time, I no longer rejected the idea of studying overseas that much, unlike in the past. I applied to HKU on 21 December 2013.

In January 2014, I was rejected by all the 4 UK universities that I applied to. Later in that month, I started researching on the local private universities that are in the JPA’s list, because their application would be opening soon. It was at that time where I first knew that NUMed Malaysia is the Malaysian branch of Newcastle University UK, and I was interested to study there. I applied to IMU on 21 February 2014 and then Perdana University on 31 March 2014. Later on 29 April 2014, I was rejected by Perdana.

On 20 May 2014, Taylor’s College had a briefing for all students who were sponsored by the KPM Bursary. During the briefing, they told us that it was almost guaranteed that all Bursary students would be offered the JPA scholarship as long as we met the requirements, and we need not attend any interview, just that we had to attend the BTN camp if we wanted to study overseas. This showed that what the officers from Ministry of Education said during the briefing in the previous year was not true. Then on 29 May 2014, there was another briefing for Bursary students at my college organised by JPA. The officers from JPA told us the requirements and procedure to get the JPA scholarship during the briefing. They also told us that they had once again updated the JPA’s list of foreign universities for Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy, and the new list included many universities not in the list previously. I did not bother to apply to those added universities, because I had decided that I would be studying either at HKU, NUMed or IMU. At the time, my 1st choice of university was HKU, my 2nd choice was NUMed while my 3rd choice was IMU.

I received the conditional offer from IMU on 31 May 2014. I applied to NUMed Malaysia on 5 June 2014. From 16 June to 20 June 2014, I attended the BTN camp which is required for all students who would be studying overseas under the JPA scholarship. At that time, all the foreign universities that I applied to had rejected me, with the only exception of HKU which still had not replied me, so I still had the chance of studying at HKU, and that was why I attended the BTN camp. Then, I received the conditional offer from NUMed Malaysia on 26 June 2014. On 23 July 2014, my parents took me to the JPA headquarters in Putrajaya to get the JPA scholarship conditional offer letter because I had to submit it to NUMed Malaysia in order to avoid paying the deposit. At the JPA headquarters, I submitted my forecast A Level results, my conditional offer letter from NUMed and a photocopy of my identity card, then I was given the JPA scholarship conditional offer letter on the spot.

On 12 August 2014, my actual A Level results was released and I obtained 4A*. With that, NUMed Malaysia converted my conditional offer to unconditional offer. However, I still did not receive the reply from HKU about my application outcome. On 17 August 2014, I decided to stop waiting for HKU to reply and choose NUMed Malaysia instead, because I was worried that I might not have enough time to complete the procedure to get the JPA scholarship if I continued waiting. I completed the registration on the JPA eProfiling website and selected NUMed Malaysia as my university of choice. Then, I e-mailed my actual A Level results, my unconditional offer letter from NUMed and other required documents to JPA.

On 20 August 2014, I received the offer for JPA scholarship and I was able to login to the JPA ePenawaran website. I then accepted the offer through the website. Then, HKU finally rejected me on 27 August 2014. On 2 September 2014, my mother bought the Hasil stamps for the agreement of the JPA scholarship. Then on 3 September 2014, I opened a new Bank Islam account which was required in order to receive the monthly allowances from JPA, while my father brought the JPA scholarship agreement to the Pejabat Hasil to remit the Hasil stamps. My mother then took me to the JPA headquarters on 4 September 2014 to submit the agreement and other required documents. With that, I had completed the procedure for getting the JPA scholarship. I moved to Johor Bahru on 20 September 2014 and started studying Medicine at NUMed Malaysia on 22 September 2014. Later on 15 October 2014, I received my first allowance from JPA, and this confirmed that I am sponsored by the JPA scholarship to study at NUMed Malaysia.

Now, I am studying Medicine at NUMed Malaysia under the sponsorship of the JPA scholarship. I don’t have much plans for the future now, I am just aiming to pass all the 5 years of my Medicine course. I am still not sure what specialist I would like to become in the future. Lastly, thanks for reading this long story.

(THE END)

4 comments:

  1. I am a bursary student, current doing A level at sunway college. How much does jpa give for living expenses and what other allowances jpa provide for medic student at local private uni. Does jpa pay for hostel fee.

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    Replies
    1. The allowance from JPA is RM10,890 per year. This allowance is used to pay for both living expenses and accommodation.

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  2. Do you need to do eProfiling when you get the KPM Bursary?

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    Replies
    1. During my time, the Bursary was provided by KPM instead of JPA. I had to fill in some information at the KPM Bursary website. It is similar to JPA eProfiling, but not exactly the same.

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