The Ultimate Guide To The CSIT Undergraduate Scholarship

CSIT Scholarship Review

Are you trying to find out whether the CSIT Undergraduate scholarship is something that you’re looking for? Let’s delve into the details and briefly go over the other scholarships that CSIT offers.

Just a gentle note: The content is written purely based on personal experiences and research.

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What is CSIT and the CSIT Scholarship?

Before we head into the post, let’s have a little background information on CSIT (Centre for Strategic Infocomm Technologies). CSIT is an agency that conducts research and uses digital technologies to meet Singapore’s national security needs. 

They tend to lean into the area of 

  • Cybersecurity
  • Software engineering
  • Data analytics
  • Cloud infrastructure

CSIT scholarships are targeted towards supporting young Singaporean talents — in paving their educational route and future career in the Infocomm industry.

This basically means that they could be more interested if you have a similar interest and passion for IT, and have a long-term plan of staying in the technology industry.

FYI: CSIT only offers scholarships to local university degrees and some integrated local-overseas programmes (eg. SMU-CMU, NUS-Brown, NTU-Georgia Tech). They don’t offer scholarships to overseas universities programmes just yet.

What types of CSIT Scholarships are there?

There are 3 types of CSIT Scholarships offered. In this section, we are going to further elaborate on each of them, and cover the criteria that CSIT is looking for — in a potential scholar.

#1 CSIT Undergraduate Scholarship (Not Bond-Free)

The CSIT Undergraduate Scholarship is a scholarship meant for current (or to-be) university students, who are pursuing an engineering or technological-related degree. 

However, you cannot be in your final semester of studies, and there is a bond to serve. Your bond would depend on the number of years you take to complete your studies. More about this, in the next section!

Eligibility Criteria
Singapore Citizen
Good academic and
CCA track records
Keen interest and passion in a
career within the Infocomm arena
Currently pursuing* OR intending to pursue the following courses:
Computer Engineering/Science, Electrical Engineering, Information Security,
Information Systems, Mathematics, Digital Systems Security or
relevant disciplines in a university
(*You must not be in the final semester of your studies)
Source: https://www.csit.gov.sg/internships-scholarships/csit-undergraduate-scholarship 

As such, this scholarship is only open to Singaporean students intending to (or currently studying) in the above-mentioned courses — in a local university.

If you’re not an undergraduate yet

Here’s my personal advice: Start applying the year before you aim to matriculate into a university. For example, if you are a polytechnic student set to graduate in 2021, and are aiming to head into a local university in Aug 2022t would be best recommended that you start your application in 2021.

It would reduce a lot of your stress and anxiety because the CSIT scholarship process normally takes a few months to complete!

If you are applying for the scholarship and starting university this year, not to fret. You wouldn’t be at any disadvantage whatsoever

However, you may have to be mentally prepared that the scholarship process may not be completed even after you’ve started your undergraduate studies!

This happened to me in 2021, but it could have been due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are a current undergraduate

If you’re currently studying in one of the courses now, you could still apply or be recommended by your school for it.

#2 CSIT Diploma Scholarship (Bond-free)

The CSIT Diploma Scholarship is only offered to eligible polytechnic students who are currently pursuing a relevant diploma course.

Eligibility Criteria
Singapore Citizen
Enrolled in full-time engineering and/ or Infocomm-related
courses in a local polytechnic
(Check this link out for all of the diplomas!)
Passionate about computing
and technology
Excellent academic results
Source: https://www.csit.gov.sg/internships-scholarships/csit-diploma-scholarship

If you are currently not studying in one of the courses above, you would not be eligible to apply. Usually, students who are aware of this scholarship have been recommended by their school. 

If you decide to apply for this scholarship on your own, you would have to also do it through your school. The process requires a recommendation letter from your polytechnic lecturer, so asking a close mentor for help would be a great start.

#3 CSIT Computing Scholarship (Bond-free)

The CSIT Computing Scholarship is offered to Year 1 JC students or equivalent Integrated Programme (IP) students who are enrolled in H2 Computing.

Eligibility Criteria
Singapore Citizen
Year 1 Junior College or equivalent
Integrated Programme (IP) student
enrolled in H2 Computing
Passionate about
computing and technology
Excellent GCE ‘O’ Levels
results or equivalent
Source: https://www.csit.gov.sg/internships-scholarships/csit-computing-scholarship 

This scholarship seems to be pretty new, there isn’t much information online other than the official website itself. 

What are the benefits of the CSIT Scholarship?

The CSIT Undergraduate and Diploma Scholarship mainly covers all tuition and compulsory fees, allowances, course certification fees and offers internship opportunities. 

#1 CSIT Undergraduate Scholarship Benefits

BenefitsDefinition
Pre-Studies
Allowance
Anything that could help you to
get ready for school (eg. Laptops, Books)
Tuition &
Compulsory Fees
School fees and other compulsory fees
(eg. Mandatory medical check-up,
Miscellaneous fees)
Local/Overseas
Maintenance Allowance
Things that you might need to
get during your studies
Dial-a-MentorObtain guidance and advice
from scholarship advisor
Overseas
Exchange
Opportunities to embark on
overseas experiential learning
Course
Certification
External courses that could be taken up
to further enhance your knowledge
in your relevant field of study
Internship
Opportunity
During the course of your study, you would have to
complete 1 internship with CSIT. 
*If you are looking into completing an internship with
other companies, the CSIT one has to be done first

#2 CSIT Diploma Scholarship Benefits

BenefitsDefinition
Tuition &
Compulsory Fees
School fees and other compulsory fees
(eg. Mandatory medical check-ups,
Miscellaneous fees)
Annual Allowance
($2,500 per year)
For things that you might
need to get during your studies 
One-time
Laptop Allowance
To purchase the laptop
needed for your studies
Course Certification
($1,000 on claims-basis)
External courses that could be taken up
to further enhance your knowledge
in your relevant field of study
Dial-a-MentorObtain guidance and advice
from scholarship advisor
Internship OpportunityDuring the course of your study,
you would have to complete your
compulsory internship with CSIT

#3 CSIT Computing Scholarship Benefits

BenefitsDefinitions
Annual Allowance
($1,000 per year)
For things that you might
need to get during your studies 
Course Certification
($1,000, on claims-basis)
External courses that could be
taken up to further enhance your
knowledge in your relevant field of study
Experiential
Learning
A week of learning at CSIT, delving
into knowledge in Infocomm technologies
Source: https://brightsparks.com.sg/profile/csit/csit-undergraduate-scholarship.php 

What is the bond for the CSIT Scholarship?

The only bonded CSIT scholarship is the CSIT Undergraduate Scholarship. Students would be required to serve a bond equivalent to the duration of their studies, after their graduation.

For example, if you obtain your degree within 3.5 years under the scholarship, you would have to serve 3 years in CSIT after you graduate. And if you obtain your degree within 4 years, then you would have to serve 4 years in CSIT.

What is the interview like for the CSIT Scholarship?

The main gist of the interview is to get to know you better as a person. The interviewers would prompt you to describe yourself and talk about your interest in the technology field.

These interviews usually have a group of interviewers, around 5 of them. From my guess, they would all have different roles and are from different departments, looking out for different things. 

If you came here to know exactly how many questions they would ask and what questions they asked during the interview, I’d tell you that those are the wrong questions to be asked.

They could change their questions every year, every semester, every month, so sharing with you the exact interview conversation wouldn’t be so much of a help. Furthermore, it’s restricted by confidentiality clauses to ensure fairness among all applicants.

Instead, I can share with you the general gist of areas to focus on:

#1 Have a kickass intro of yourself that’s RELEVANT

You can dwell on your prefectorial board experience but if it has nothing to do with helping your interest and passion in the IT sector, I’d say just forget about it.

#2 Have a unique reason why you’d want to obtain the scholarship

If you go in there and just mention you want the money and nothing else, you probably wouldn’t be memorable. Because almost everyone else wants that financial help.

#3 Do read up more on the world issues

They want to know how to think and innovate, especially to current issues. With technology advancing all the time, how would we solve it when faced with adversity and national threats? Can we work under pressure to think rationally and execute them with justification?

#4 Forget about your resume

They would have already read everything that you’ve sent them, they know how well you’re doing in school, what you’ve joined and so on… So during the interview, give them the things that they cannot see on paper, communicate your pain and stress when working in your part-time jobs, what you’ve observed and what else you think can be improved on.

Remember the vision that CSIT has, and try to align your content to that before the interview. 

To give you an advantage during the interview, do try to amplify those experiences that could give you an advantage, and lessen the ones that don’t.

The selection process could consist of a few other stages:

  • Sending in your application form + required documents to CSIT
  • MCQ-Based Tests
  • Polygraph Test

#1 Sending in your application form + required documents to CSIT

You would have to first register your interest online and submit all of the supporting documents stated on the checklist:

  • Resume
  • Academic Certificates/ Transcripts to-date
  • NS Transcript and Testimonials (if applicable)
  • Any Other Relevant Documents, i.e. School Testimonials, Final Year Project Write-Up, Certifications/ Qualifications (optional)

The application window is apparently open throughout the entire year, so you would be able to apply any time. For the most updated information, please head to CSIT’s official website or Brightsparks to double-check whether the details have changed.

#2 MCQ-Based Tests

If you are shortlisted from your application, you’d be contacted to take some MCQ-Based Tests. But don’t worry, these tests are like personality tests and logic tests, they are nothing that you would need to study or prepare for. 

I’m not sure what their “marking criteria” is, but the advice that I can give to you is just to be as honest as possible and just try your best! This is because these questions might come up again if you advance to the later stages.

#3 Polygraph Test

If you pass all the stages up till here, this isn’t something that you’d need to be too worried about. They will simply go through a questionnaire on whether you have committed any crimes in Singapore, and if you have been truthful in your application process. 

Yes, you will be hooked up to the lie detector machine but they are all non-invasive (no needles or anything), just those blood pressure straps on your arm and metal clips on your fingers.

The set-up is a little something like this.

All in all, this entire application process could take up to 3-4 months (or more), with around a 3-week break in between each stage. 

So if you can, you definitely start to apply early and email directly to the CSIT scholarship contact to clarify your doubts. They are very helpful and efficient in clarifying questions!

When will I get the result for the CSIT Scholarship?

Usually, they would mention a range from a few weeks to a few months. For my application, it took about 2-3 weeks before receiving a result on each stage. Though, I would recommend you send an email to CSIT to request an update!

Is the CSIT Scholarship worth it?

Having a CSIT scholarship would definitely be useful, both in the financial aspect and to help build up your portfolio. CSIT also offers many out-of-school experiences that could help with networking and applications of theory.

However, here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself before starting the application:

  • Am I okay with a 3 or 4 years bond after my graduation?
  • What can I foresee myself getting out of this scholarship?
  • Who/What can I foresee myself contributing to after the scholarship?
  • Am I applying for monetary value or for the experiences?
  • Does this scholarship sufficiently cover my needs?
  • What can the CSIT scholarship offer me that no other organisations can?
  • Can I handle working in a government agency? (Usually, government entities have more restrictions and protocols to follow because of potential threats to our national security)

Personally, I didn’t take up the scholarship because the application process was taking too long and I had other offers which were time-sensitive. The decision to take up the other offer required me to pull out of CSIT’s scholarship application process.

Conclusion

From my experience, the scholarship admins/interviewers are extremely helpful and friendly. They even offered to give some advice on the selection of our university courses.

The environment that I have been introduced to was not tense at all and I could tell that they were being very genuine in their approach to welcome the applicants and get to know them more.

If you’re not sure whether you’d be a right fit for the scholarship, I’d still encourage you to apply anyway. No harm no foul, and even if you don’t get it, it would still be an experience that you’d have valuable takeaways from.

For more information, you can visit the official CSIT website, head to BrightSparks or directly email CSIT to get the latest information.

I wish you the best of luck with your application!


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Melissa

Exploring new things as I go along. And whenever possible, I try to share my learning experiences in an effort to help others. Feel free to ping me for a chat!

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