Dear Future Scholars,
How are you doing right now? Are you planning to apply for a scholarship soon? Perhaps next year? Or when you reach the Diploma Programme? Whatever plan or idea that you have is going to be the start of a fruitful future.
Cebu International School (CIS) has always had diverse students from around the world. However, the diversity of CIS is not limited to the students’ various nationalities, but to the large number of socio-demographic backgrounds as well. Contrary to the belief of most International Schools, CIS boasts students who are scholars in sports, arts, or academics. For today’s article, let us delve into the experiences, the whys, and the hows of the scholars at CIS:
Why did you apply to CIS?
“Because they have better education system compared to my old school and they offer more student assistance services”
“I applied to CIS mostly for the IB Diploma because I had always dreamed of studying abroad.”
“I applied to CIS for the IB DP. I wasn’t feeling challenged by the curriculum at my old school. I felt like I was doing a lot of work and not really learning as much as I could for the effort I was putting in. I self-studied for a few AP exams and decided that that was the level of difficulty that I wanted in a curriculum, but since there aren’t any AP schools in Cebu, I applied to CIS for the DP because I heard it was similar enough.”
“I applied to CIS primarily because of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). At first, it was just my dad who was interested in the program because he read about the benefits it offers for students transitioning to university. It was only when I was in Grade 10 that I became interested in the IBDP as well because I wanted to study abroad after high school. After researching and reading about the experiences of past IB students, I learned that the program can be very helpful in preparing students for success beyond high school.”
“I applied to this school because of the IB Programme. I want to study abroad and I believe that the IB Programme can help me achieve that. I also wanted to see how far I could go in terms of my academics ”
“I mainly applied to CIS to experience a different learning environment after having been studying at my previous school my whole life, and of course, to pursue the IB Diploma. Once I actually started going to CIS, I found all the more reasons to enjoy studying here aside from the academics, such as the community, versatile extracurricular opportunities, and abundant facilities.”
What are some challenges that you faced while applying to the school?
“My mentality really affected me while applying to this school. Throughout the entire application process from writing essays to answering the entrance exams, it felt like I wasn’t doing enough or I wasn’t good enough to be applying for a scholarship. The fact that I never told my friends and most of my family members about it made me feel alone.”
“I really didn’t want to leave my friends, but feelings aside, moving was the right thing to do. I was no longer growing in that environment. I was too comfortable. And I knew that if I transferred, I would grow more than I ever have anywhere else.”
“I had gone through several obstacles in every step of the application/selection process. Firstly, I found writing the entrance essays for my application very difficult. This was more of an internal struggle than an issue with the process itself. I was apprehensive at every word I wrote, as I didn’t want to represent my thoughts or intentions inaccurately. Of course, I got to the end of it. It took many drafts before I got to one that truly resonated with me. After I had passed to the examination round, I was very nervous. I think part of why I didn’t do that great on the entrance exams was that I felt so much pressure, as this scholarship would have changed my life and assisted my parents greatly. Thankfully, I made it to the final round, the interview. I was nervous during the interview, yes, but I’m proud to say that I answered every question with utmost sincerity. Now, those people who had interviewed me extend their support to me in so many ways, as my teachers, as mentors, and even as a coach!”
“I almost didn’t makde it to the deadline and was about to not submit anymore.”
“At first, I actually was not given a scholarship by the school. Like a lot of people, I applied for the full scholarship grant that CIS offered. I think I did pretty well in my entrance exams, and I believed that my grades and my extracurriculars were good enough to get me the scholarship. Where I think I stumbled though was during the interview. I was very nervous and unprepared, and it showed in my responses to the interviewers’ questions. I was also overthinking so much because I wanted to say what I thought they would like, instead of what I actually wanted to say. Fast forward to a few weeks, and I received the notice that I was not able to get the scholarship. What I did and felt when I received the notice is a story for a different time, but overall I was sad and disappointed. I was then enrolled to a different school, and I had already accepted my fate. But then just a few weeks before school started, I received another notice saying that the school wasere willing to give me a percentage discount. Although it was not full, it was still a huge grant.”
“The entrance exams were challenging for me. I wasn’t able to pass the entrance exams during my first two attempts of applying for the scholarship. There were a lot of topics that I didn’t cover in my previous school or prepare for before the exams. It wasn’t until my third and final application that I passed and progressed to the interview phase. During this time, I was better prepared and more determined to get the scholarship, even though the initial experiences were somewhat discouraging. In the end, they served as a motivation for me to improve and be more prepared.”
How did you feel when you received the scholarship?
“I felt very happy and grateful when I received the scholarship offer. I consider it one of the most significant achievements I’ve made in my life. I also consider myself very fortunate to have received such a valuable opportunity that will greatly benefit me in the future.”
“I was overjoyed. I had already resigned to the fact that I would not be studying in CIS, so it was really shocking and surprising that the school reached out to offer me a discount.”
“I didn’t know what to feel when I first received the scholarship. On one hand, I felt super grateful and joyous that I received one because this is what I’ve wanted for so long. On the other hand, the thought suddenly hit me that I was going to be leaving the school that I’ve been studying at for such a long time. However, when the idea of having a scholarship was starting to settle in with me I remember repeatedly saying, ‘I’m going to wear a green uniform next year’”
“I felt satisfied that I had achieved my goal and happy that I received the opportunity. Receiving the scholarship was a goal that I set, so I made sure to achieve it. I made sure that when I was tasked to do something, I did it not only to the best of my ability but also better than what I thought was expected of me. I’ve been doing that with everything for my whole life, so receiving the scholarship felt like getting an amazing score on a test I studied really hard for. I was ecstatic about the impact it would have on my life and that my hard work paid off.”
When my dad read the email aloud and I found out I was in, I felt the biggest relief ever. I called my mom and sister right away to share the news. I had so many emotions. The greatest ones of course, were relief and immense gratitude. I was extremely grateful not only for the opportunity to join the CIS community, but also for the opportunity to give back to my parents. They have worked so hard to provide for my sister and I, and we have them to thank for having experienced a really great learning environment and education growing up. Earning this scholarship meant that my parents would worry less about providing for my education, not that it was something they were ever hesitant about, but I know it couldn’t have been easy for them. Now, as I have assimilated into the CIS community, I am happy and more than content.
“I was so surprised.”
Do you have any tips or advice for people planning to apply for a scholarship?
“My dad always tells me that the best way to ace an interview is to start doing the job long before you hold the title. When I applied to CIS, I had an idea of the kind of student that they wanted, and I had already been that kind of student for years. During my final interview, they’d asked me multiple variations of the question “Why do you think you would be good at this?” and my response to all of them was some variation of “Because I’ve already done it.” It’s easy to argue with suppositions and harder to argue with results.
Another thing that I think helped my application is that I never aim to do my best, I aim to be the best. The fact is that sometimes your best is not enough, and I personally do not allow myself to fall behind because of this. When you fall short, be better. Then work more and be the best. Your “best” is only what you tell yourself it is. You can always be better. You should never limit yourself or allow other people to limit you. That being said, you don’t have to be the best at everything. Find out what you love to do and what you have to do and be the best at those, then let your work speak for itself.”
“I have two tips:
My first tip is to prepare yourself by reviewing and doing some research. Review the lessons you have covered during the school year and some lessons that might come out during the exams. Next, do some research about the school and the program, and think about how they can help you and the skills and qualities you possess that may be helpful to them as well.
My second tip is to be persistent. Rejection is always a possibility as scholarships can be competitive. However, don’t let it discourage you from trying again. Instead, learn from the experience and use it as an opportunity to improve. While it can be a challenging process, the results will be very rewarding and have a positive impact on your future. Best of luck to all the aspiring applicants!”
“One advice that I have for students is to go for it! You’ll never know what you can achieve unless you try. The anxiety and worry that you may feel when you start the application process is going to feel smaller as time goes on. When I was in Grade 6, I applied to some scholarships from other schools but I didn’t pass any of them. I like to think that they were preparations for this school year”
“Go for it and just be yourself throughout the process and just be clear why and what is your purpose for choosing CIS”
“I think if you are applying for a scholarship in the first place, then somehow you already know your strengths, and your worth, and the reasons why the school would be happy to have you somewhere in the back of your mind and deep in your heart. I am just here to tell you to be confident with those things and with yourself. I encourage you to make those things known. Show yourself! On a more practical note, if you have plans to apply for the scholarship, start putting together your documents, certificates, and recommendation letters ASAP! The faster those are out of the way, it will be much easier and there will be more time for you to focus on your essays.”
“My advice would be to balance your academics with your extracurriculars. Your extracurriculars will be very important when you apply for a scholarship because the school would like to know who you are outside of your studies. Another advice I can give is to not make the same mistake that I did during the interview. Make sure that you are prepared, and just be yourself during the interview. Overthinking will just cause you problems and will cause you to stutter and mess up.”
CIS celebrates its students, fostering growth through varied experiences to create the foundation of a culturally enriching environment. It tends to be a community that is respectful of each individual’s background and experiences, and we will continue to support our students’ excellence in all fields. This article is a testament to the power of scholarship programs in transforming students’ lives and providing them with opportunities to reach their full potential.
Article by Lauren S. (G11), Ela B. (G11), and Yushka T. (G11)
Feature Image by Ara O. (G12)
The views expressed in this article represent the personal views of the interviewees and should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.