My weekend included a spontaneous decision to go to Rainbow’s End (the largest theme park in NZ!). Despite living in Auckland for like 74% of my entire life, I had never been, most probably because I was a short kid (and still am) and never reached the height restrictions. My companion, a brave little 8 year old girl, subjected me to going on The Enchanted Forest Log Flume ride five times. You basically sail in a boat-like thing on a relaxing and beautiful journey over the water before being tossed down a slope at a dangerously fast speed in the final seconds of the ride (sounds a bit like how Semester One went…). This, my friends, is a ship you should not sail. Today’s post will be about ships that you should sail: Scholarships 🙂


Applications for school-leaver and first-year scholarships to The University of Auckland close on 23rd August (about a month away from now).

Tip #1: Like any assessment you do, it’s a good idea to look at the criteria for the scholarship and try to meet as many of these (you don’t have to meet them all – I certainly didn’t!).

Tip #2: To those in Year 13, these scholarships are based on your Year 12 NCEA (or equivalent) results, but there is still a month or so to get involved in the community, in academic/sporting/arts competitions, and in leadership positions. To those in Year 12, keep going strong and work hard for Level 2!

Tip #3: Even if you’re thinking “There is no way I would get this!” (literally me last year). APPLY anyway because you never know… 🙂 The application is online and easy to do.

Don’t forget to apply for accommodation as well, so you get a place at a hall, because some of the scholarships cover the cost for you to stay at a Hall of Residence (the application will tell you to do so). I live in Auckland so was originally planning to stay at home while at Uni…so if I didn’t get a UoA scholarship, I probably would not have ended up staying at the mighty O’Rorke Hall and I can’t even imagine the thought of that! Scholarships are not just about money; the friendships and environment at O’Rorke (or any other hall) are priceless!


As far as I know, the majority of NCEA Level 3 Subjects also offer a Scholarship in that subject. These are quite different to University scholarships as you don’t necessarily “apply” for them. If you register for a scholarship in a subject, you sit an exam for it around the same time when you sit your other NCEA Level 3 exams. Instead of Not Achieved, Achieved, Merit and Excellence like in regular NCEA, you can either fail, Achieve or get Outstanding for a scholarship exam. You’re not automatically enrolled into Scholarship subjects, so you need to talk to your teachers about doing them (and ASAP because registrations close soon).

I sat scholarship exams in all my five subjects in Level 3 and it really helped me this year – How exactly?

1. The majority of learning for these scholarship exams is self-directed because you don’t learn the stuff during school hours like your other subjects (although I’m sure your teachers will still be keen to help ya out). This is really similar to Uni in a way.

2. Scholarship exams are basically NCEA Level 4 – essentially the same stuff you learn in that subject in Level 3 but more in-depth, linking more ideas together, one step higher….more similar to how we learn/assess things at Uni.

3. By doing a scholarship in a subject, it also helps you understand and learn the actual NCEA Level 3 subject you’re doing as well – so it’s a win-win situation.

4. Not to be neglected are the monetary awards! If you achieve one scholarship you get a one-off $500 bucks! Yeah…but I could earn that in a summer job, right? Well, the more the merrier…if you achieve three scholarships in a year, you get $6000 ($2000 each year for three years while you’re at Uni).

5. And if all that’s not enough motivation, here’s something I stole straight off the NCEA website: “Monetary awards are paid into the bank account that is nominated by you as the recipient. Students are not required to spend money on course fees. You can choose how you spend this money.” Enough said, right? 😉

And yes, while I agree that money isn’t everything, you can’t deny that it will help you out a bit in the future 😀 You know the drill, hit me with any questions below and I’ll get back to you!

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Sonna Narayanan

Local gal barely surviving first year Biomed at Auckland Uni while inhabiting the mighty O'Rorke Hall.

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