Every Westpac Scholar is unique and so are you.

Alex Procter, WestPac Scholar 2019

Alexandra Proctor, 2019 Westpac Future Leaders Scholar, University of Adelaide

I remember the first time I heard about the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship. I had received a ‘prestigious scholarships’ email from the University and found myself lingering on the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship. While my GPA was good it certainly wasn’t Dux material (I’m looking at you first year chemistry!) and I had always felt that the best parts of me weren’t written on an academic transcript. I automatically decided that these ‘prestigious’ scholarships weren’t for me.

Just as I was about to delete the email a colleague saw that I was looking at ‘that awesome Westpac scholarship’. She told me that I should definitely apply. And that was all I needed- one person who would back me to apply.

Upon looking at the scholarship details and application it quickly became clear that the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship was different. The application questions weren’t just focussed on academic achievements but instead aimed at getting to know you as a person. The questions reflected on your past experiences, your passions and professional aspirations. Of course, part of the scholarship funds would be to help support your living allowances (which is mighty helpful being a full-time student) but a portion would also be used for overseas study and travel. This was incredibly appealing as I knew of international research groups or organisations I would love to work with and learn from. Having the funding to get me there would make all the difference. But perhaps the biggest drawcard for me was the nine-month bespoke leadership development program. People would often comment on my leadership potential, but I had always struggled to see how I could develop into my full leadership capability. I wasn’t aware of any other scholarship which would offer this opportunity to their scholars and was evidence that this scholarship would be an investment in me.

I then started to wonder what these Future Leaders looked like. So, I did what any person my age would do – I turned to the internet. When looking through the Future Leaders scholars’ profiles, I quickly saw that each scholar was unique. They came from a range of different disciplines, each with their own clear vision for Australia. With each profile I read I continued to feel inspired and thought about the conversations we could have if ever in the same room together. I was excited and ready to apply!

In the past I’ve been guilty of stopping myself from applying for opportunities such as this and I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes it’s because we can be our own harshest critics, other times it’s because we lack confidence in our own ability. Perhaps some of these feelings resonate with you which is why you’re reading this article rather than already starting the application. If so, then it is important for you to remember that this scholarship should be seen as an investment - in your vision, your capabilities and most importantly in you. And maybe that is obvious- they are called Future Leader scholarships after all- but it is something that I need to be reminded of even now.

If you’ve made it this far down, you’re interested in applying for the scholarship, so I’ll help you start by being the person who backs you to apply. If it only takes the backing of one person for you to apply, imagine what you could do with the backing of 16 other Future Leaders, the Westpac 100 Scholars Network and Westpac Scholars. I can’t wait to find out.

Applications are now open for 2020 Westpac Future Leaders Scholarships, a postgraduate scholarship program with a difference. Focused on developing leadership potential, the program supports individuals with the drive and ideas to help shape a better future through their work and studies. Value up to $120,000 over 2 – 3 years. Apply or nominate today. Find out more. Register for the upcoming webinar.

Tagged in scholarship