By Harry Carpenter, Westpac Scholar, 2019 Future Leader, University of Adelaide
So, you are looking at what scholarships to apply for. At the top of the list should definitely be a Westpac Scholarship! Why? The beauty of the Westpac Scholars Program is that there are five different scholar streams (Young Tech, Asian Exchange, Future Leaders, Research Fellows and Social Change), which means you become part of a diverse community of people working to build a better Australia.
As a 2019 Future Leader Scholar focused on technology and innovation, access to this diverse community opened opportunities I never thought possible. Whether volunteering with Social Change Fellows working to entrepreneurialise our regional communities (check out Champions Academy!) or developing a deeper understanding of Australia’s role in Asia with Asian Exchange Scholars. They are opportunities that no other scholarship can offer.
Inevitably, there are some common misconceptions that arise around the scholarships from Westpac Scholars Trust. Whether you think you need to bank with Westpac or need to graduate top of your class, the following myths come up regularly and need some debunking.
So, let’s do some myth-busting!
1. You must bank with Westpac
Full disclosure, I don’t (sorry Westpac). You do not need to bank with Westpac to apply for their scholarships. And you are not expected to start banking with them either.
2. You must work for Westpac
There’s no expectation to work for Westpac. However for some Westpac Scholars they have landed their dream job or even their first job at Westpac!
3. You must be top of your class
This is a question I always get asked. You absolutely do not need to be top of your class to apply for any of the Westpac scholarships. That being said, there are some minimum hurdles you need to hit. Anything above that is a bonus!
4. They won’t care about me or my experiences when choosing scholars
Another common misconception that relates to the myth about needing to be top of your class is how much onus is on caring about you and understanding your experiences through the application process. Westpac Scholars Trust absolutely does care about you and your lived experiences because ultimately it is these experiences that shape who we all are as individuals. Communicating how your experiences, big or small, have shaped who you are and where you want to go is right at the top of the list of things the selection panel will be looking for.
5. My project/research must be related to Westpac or finance
Also a big no! The Westpac Scholars Trust has a focus on three main pillars which are not banking and finance. If your study/project/personal vision fits into strengthening Australia-Asia ties, enabling positive social change, and/or driving technology and innovation, that’s what counts.
6. When my study/program ends the benefits of the scholarship ends
Such a myth! Sure, there is an end to the financial aspect of the scholarship, but that is not where the value of the Westpac Scholars Program lies. The greatest part of being a Westpac Scholar is that you are part of the W100 - a community of like-minded, passionate, and driven people all shaping the future of Australia, forever. It truly is a scholarship for life.
There’s so much more to know about the Westpac Scholars Program so don’t stop here. Browse the website, connect on socials (@WestpacScholars) or reach out to a previous recipient at your university or line of work to have a chat.
Published 3 May 2022