“This was definitely a good read for me. The authors offer thoughtful perspectives and honest responses on what getting a scholarship entails in the Singaporean context, which I easily identified with. I would readily recommend this book to anyone thinking of applying for a scholarship, or even before they make a decision about university choices. I wish I’d had this resource to help me make my decision back then!”
- Nicholas Ong, A*STAR scholar
“If I had an 18 year-old friend or family member ask me ‘Should I take up a scholarship?’, I would ask them, in response, the crucial questions that The $500,000 Decision contains. The authors use their life experiences from further down the road to help 18- and 19-year-olds who are searching for a way to make this life-changing decision, yet who don’t have the necessary information or perspective to do so. This book will force you to confront the hard questions that need to be answered before you decide which path to take. An important read.”
- Jason Wong, PUB scholar
"Insightful. This is a must-read for every young Singaporean who's thinking of taking a scholarship! The three co-authors are at different points in their careers, and they've chosen to go down such different paths. This gives the reader a more holistic perspective on the scholarship decision. The opinions the co-authors express are balanced. The $500,000 Decision is a really valuable resource."
- Sean, who is currently serving his scholarship bond
“Having been through the process myself, I can safely say that there will never be a definite answer to the $500,000 decision. Everything depends on your circumstances and how you make the most of it, both pre- and post-decision. The $500,000 Decision is brilliant in succinctly listing and analysing many of the important considerations like money, uncertainty, education and career goals. It’s helpful that this book is written from the perspective of three individuals who are different yet similar in so many ways.”
- Former scholar
“Delightfully candid, this guide empowers students to make their own well-informed decision by encouraging them to ask themselves the questions that desperately need to be considered before applying for a scholarship. Having inputs from a panel of three scholarship recipients who are at varying stages of their careers makes for a refreshing and well-balanced read.”
- Shafa, SIA scholar who currently works in SIA’s Company Planning department
“I like the idea behind this book—that is, to help students better consider their decision of taking up a scholarship—and l highly recommend that all scholarship-seeking students, and their parents, read this!”
- Roger Look, government scholar
“Whether or not to accept a scholarship is likely one of the most important life decisions you'll ever have to make. This book is chock-full of sagely advice from multiple points of view. Even if you've already decided one way or the other, read it anyway. For a decision this big, it doesn't hurt to have more information.”
- Steven, former PSC scholar
“I like the idea of getting different types of scholars to co-author this book: one who broke away from the system, one who’s currently serving his bond, and one who has successfully completed his bond. Their combined viewpoints paint a much clearer picture for young adults to answer the question of whether or not they should accept a scholarship offer. I wish I had read such a book when I was applying for scholarships.”
- Royston Phoon, scholar who is in his final year of university
"As Singaporeans, we tend to let our circumstances dictate our path in life. This book is an excellent reminder that taking a scholarship, like all other important decisions, is a commitment that ought to be made with eyes wide open."
- Jiawen, JTC engineer and Stanford University alumni
“Written with remarkable insight and candour, this guide highlights the key issues that most 18-year-olds fail to consider when they make the choice that will shape the next decade of their lives and beyond. I wish this excellent resource was available when I made my $500,000 decision.”
- Harold Au, Singapore Technologies Engineering scholar who is currently serving his bond
"In this short book, Ailian, Daniel, and Chin Lum share their valuable personal experiences and encourage you to both reflect on and refine your scholarship decision heuristic. The decision to take on a scholarship at 18 years old is one that is often made with imperfect information. The authors plug some of the information gaps to help you better think through what could be one of the most important decisions of your young adult life."
- Teo Yinquan, A*STAR scholarship recipient
"A key resource for anyone who's thinking about taking a government scholarship—Daniel, Chin Lum and Ailian offer great insights, which help to clarify the thinking behind a decision that could affect the next decade of your life. As a teacher, I have seen the many anxieties and pressures that befall the student, and hope that this book might ease some of that headache and help students out there to make a wise (and happy) choice for their future."
- Andrea Phua, government scholar, ex-teacher, happy civil servant
“Why didn’t this guide exist when I was thinking of taking up a scholarship? I really like the format of this guide. Nicely done.”
- Alvin Lee, PSC Overseas Merit Scholarship (Open) recipient in 2001 who finished serving his bond and currently works in the private sector
"The $500,000 Decision is a refreshing look into the merits and long-term implications of taking up a scholarship. Based on real life accounts, this guide is a must-read not just for someone who’s about to enter university and who’s considering taking up a scholarship, but also parents, who have the biggest influence on their child's academic and career decisions."
- Jason Ong, software engineer and startup community leader
“If you're a student who's thinking about whether or not to take a scholarship, you could spend days or weeks trying to find the right people to talk to: people who have broken their bonds, people who have served their full bonds and stayed, and people who are currently serving their bonds. After that, you could spend even more time figuring out what questions you should ask them, and at the end of it all, it's likely that you still won’t know what you don't know. On the other hand, you could just read Ailian, Daniel and Chin Lum's thoughtful, honest opinions on what I think are the right questions to ask yourself before taking a scholarship.”
- Jian Wei Gan, software engineer
"Serving close to ten years with my scholarship organisation has given me various experiences, some of which I probably wouldn't have had if not for the scholarship. There are also experiences that I missed out on because of the scholarship. Looking back on things, I think the most important factor in the scholarship decision is the "fit". These days, potential scholars and potential sponsors are both looking for the right match of interests and motivations—it's about the long-term fit and it’s quite a lot like getting married! The authors of this guide openly share their perspectives, which will help you to understand the considerations involved in the scholarship decision. This guide is well worth a read even if you think you've made up your mind. After all, what's another 20 minutes weighed against a decision that will likely shape the trajectory of the next decade of your life?"
- Violet, former scholar
“The first-hand accounts from three scholarship awardees, who each have different outlooks and have travelled different paths, are very valuable in teasing out the less evident considerations in this important decision. It would have been very useful to hear from the range of perspectives presented in this guide when I was a student myself facing some of these same choices!”
- Faith, government scholarship holder