Maybe a lot of you aren’t familiar with Yayasan Peneraju so let me tell you a little bit about it. Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera (YPPB) aka Yayasan Peneraju aka YP is a new initiative under the Prime Minister’s Department that started out in 2011. There are few different type of scholarship offered which is Peneraju Tunas, Peneraju Skil and Peneraju Profesional. Peneraju Tunas is for high potential students that come from low-income household (below RM 4000).  So, I applied for the Peneraju Tunas programme which is Tunas Potensi (for those who wanted to pursue their tertiary education). Peneraju Skil is for those who wanted to become a skilled worker or semi-skilled worker (like mechanics and aircraft mechanics) while the Peneraju Professional is for those who are interested in getting a professional certificate like CAT-ACCA (for accountants).The application for the Tunas Potensi programme is open for application starting from December to April. I applied using my SPM result in March , those who applied before that use their trial result. And in April, I received an email inviting me to come to their headquarters at Menara UEM for an interview. As I applied online, I was required to bring a myriad of documents of which include my siblings’ pay slips, my examination results throughout my form 4 and 5, a recommendation letter, an essay on why should they choose me and my co-curriculum certificates. I received the call two days before the interview so it is suggested that you prepare the documents the very moment you decided to apply for the programme to save you from all the trouble.

The interview session was divided into 4 parts; the personal interview, group discussion, interview by the managerial personnel and an English test.

Supposedly, the interview by the managerial personnel was to be conducted only if you passed the first personal interview done on a different date but as I was among the last batch of applicants and they were rushing for the dateline for the scholars’ selection, both interviews were done on the same day.

The personal interview was the same as any other interview. They as you about your strengths, weaknesses, you study style, how you overcome your weaknesses and how you have overcome something very difficult in your life. It was all very standard questions but my advice is to use your experience in your personal life rather than in your study because it’s a too common answer and BE HONEST IN ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS. They have seen everything so they will know if you’re lying or insincere. After the interview is finished , they will ask you if you have any questions. Do ask questions. It means that you have done your study about them and you wanted to learn more.

Before the interview, we were told to answer a set of English questions of which each person got a different one. It was quite difficult but doable. They also instruct us to write an essay, no limit on word counts or time but you need to finish it before 3.00 p.m. and is up to you completely what’s the topic . They do, however, give you a piece of paper containing  quotes and you have to pick one and write an essay. While waiting for your friends being interviewed, you can start writing your essay.

As I was the first candidate, I was called right away after we have done the MCQs.

And then after the personal interview, I continued writing my essay before a few of us, including me, was called for the group discussion. They gave us a topic, which is the Yayasan itself, and we need to elaborate and present it. It was pretty vague so we could present whatever we want. There were a few mistakes I made, regarding their programmes’ names. DO NOT GET ANY INFORMATION WRONG ESPECIALLY IF THEY ALLOW YOU TO SURF THE INTERNET FOR THEM!!

After that, I was called for the last session, the interview with all the big names in the Yayasan, which as I mentioned earlier, was only supposed to happen if you applied for the oversea pathway and you passed the first stage. (Oh, the requirement for oversea pathway is 8As and above with your Cambridge O-Level (English 1119) grade is 2A or above)

It was all pretty standard but to me, some of the most difficult yet funny questions asked were how am I gonna adapt in the US (I told them I wanna study in the US) because of the situation between the Muslims and nonmuslims there and will I continue with my dream if Donald Trump becomes president. I laughed a bit actually because I was not expecting that question but I tried my best to answer it honestly. My answer was yes, I’m a bit scared about studying there but if you want to talk about bigots or rednecks , they’re everywhere. You don’t have to be afraid because even with them around there are still nice people who are open to everything and will treat you nicely as long as you are nice to them. I talked about how people are the same no matter where you go so why you need to be afraid, right? And then after the fun interview session, I was asked again if I have any question. I asked my usual question which was, “What makes an applicant stands out from the rest?”.

Then, I continued writing my essay and after I finished and submitted it, I was excused to go home.

A few days later, I received another email stating that my application was successful and I was chosen as one of their scholars. All I need to do now is send an attachment stating that I accept the scholarship AND will be able to join a 2 weeks bridging programme at Sunway University.

So, I went to Sun U, expecting a boring two weeks experience regarding university life but what I got was AMAZING AND UNEXPECTED. I learnt a lot during the programme, of which if I were to pay for myself, would cost more that RM 1000. There was a total of 47 of us scholars, all came from difficult and challenging background and yet we were all able to perform well in our study.

During the programme, we were exposed to the life and responsibility of a scholar and a university student. Some of what we have learnt was how to do a presentation and how our body language and non-verbal communication play vital roles in our lives. There were a lot of other useful tips that we learnt on how to survive in the real world. We also learn how to manage stress, time and money wisely. I am not kidding when I told you it would cost a lot to participate in that course and yet we paid nothing for it as the Yayasan want us to excel in our study and do well later in life.

There was also another English test we took during the bridging programme. It was done online and the marking was quite tough. There was also a timed essay where you need to type an essay on the topic given in 30 minutes time. To be honest, I had writer’s block for almost 10 minutes.

I managed to ace it but a lot of my friends have to stay for another 2 months learning English at UniRazak. Praise to the Almighty, I was among those who was ranked at the advanced level (we don’t have to stay). The English Preparatory Programme will allow them to learn more about academic writing, formal email and a lot more. All the while, they will receive an allowance of RM 550 per month. When they are finished with the programme (on 1st of July), I am sure they will be better in English than I am.

To be very honest, I am quite jealous of my friends because they pay nothing AND will receive money for attending it. The tentative for the whole 2 months was also fun and exciting for me. I suddenly regretted doing well in the English test.

Beside the bridging and English programme, every year, Tunas Potensi scholars are required to attend a week-long Nurture and Development Programme so we could develop soft skills that will allow us to excel in working life later on. And yes, even those who are studying overseas are required to get back to Malaysia to attend the programme every year.

As a Tunas Potensi scholar, there are rules that I need to obey but they are all for the greater good.

Being with YP so far is a very good experience for me. I have people looking out for me (scholars’ guide) to make sure I do well in college and university. To those who meet the criteria, I seriously recommend you to apply for YP programme.