Each year, thousands of high school students from all over the Philippines receive undergraduate scholarships courtesy of the Department of Science and Technology. One of the most generous scholarships in the country, the DOST-SEI Merit and R.A. 7687 scholarships make college education more accessible to thousands of undergraduates. It could very well be the ticket to your own undergraduate science degree.
Unlike many other scholarships, all DOST-SEI Merit scholars get the same basic benefits regardless of socio-economic status. Each scholar gets
- a tuition subsidy amounting to a maximum of PhP6,000 per semester
- a book allowance of PhP5,000 for every academic year under scholarship
- a uniform allowance of PhP500, to be given once for the entire scholarship
- tuition subsidies for academic units taken during summer
- group accident and health insurance
On top of the standard benefits, scholars are also entitled to receive a monthly stipend from the DOST as part of the program. The amount of the stipend is based on financial documents submitted by scholars. Stipends, however, start at PhP1,200 per month and can go as high as PhP4,000 monthly. Either way, it’s still a big contribution in the typical student’s budget.
Scholars enrolling into courses identified as ‘special priority’ fields like physics are also given special incentives by the scholarship program. Additional allowances and subsidies await you if it so happens that you’ll be going into any of the priority majors.
The R.A. 7687 Scholarship works almost identically to the DOST-SEI Merit program, except that the schedules for the issuance of stipends and benefits are different. Scholars under the R.A. 7687 program are also required to undertake extra training and workshops to better orient them with its goals.
Applicants for the DOST-SEI Merit program are accepted regardless of socio-economic status. Only the R.A. 7687 scholarship is specifically targeted toward less financially able students, which is why a declaration of assets and liabilities are part of the application procedure. Both the Merit and R.A. 7687 programs, however, use the same application papers and require taking the same test.
In order to qualify for either scholarship, you must be from the top 5% of your graduating class, or otherwise will be graduating from a special science high school like Philippine Science. A duly accomplished application form must be submitted to the DOST (usually by the end of June during senior year) with the required paperwork.
One screening test is part of the procedure in order to become a scholar under either program. All applicants who are able to get the required number of points on the test will be sent a notice of award from the DOST, and will be eligible to claim either scholarship.
The DOST Scholarship Test
Unlike typical college entrance examinations, the DOST scholarship screening test has a much wider coverage of topics and fields. Because the program aims to create a larger number of scientists and engineers, it comes as no surprise that the test leans heavily towards those fields.
The screening test is composed of two major parts, the Intellective and Non-Intellective portions. The Intellective half is comprised of
- scientific ability, which covers basic to intermediate high school biology, physics and chemistry
- quantitative ability, which covers the entire high school curriculum up to intermediate trigonometry
- mechanical and technical ability, which makes you determine the outcome of a series of mechanical steps
- linguistic ability, which requires a good grasp of high school English, and
- working memory, where you are briefly shown an image that you must identify afterwards on your test paper
If you’ve worked your way through the typical public high school full curriculum, then the coverage of most of the DOST test should have been taken up in the classroom. Much harder to anticipate is the non-intellective portion, which requires analysis on your part to solve a problem. In some cases, the test requires you to understand a theoretical language, and to comprehend passages written in that language.
Tips for Test Day
Although the requirements of the DOST exam aren’t exactly rocket science, you’ll still want to keep yourself sharp the whole time. The exam can take extremely long – up to four whole hours – so make sure you get plenty of rest beforehand. Psyching yourself prior to the test will also be crucial; you’ll be taking it with hundreds of other hopefuls, and you can be sure that the test center will be noisy and distracting.
If anything, the test is long. Most of the questions are in the easy to intermediate range, but there are also some (particularly in the quantitative and scientific ability areas) that are extremely difficult. Employ good time management and you should do fine.