My motivation

I first heard about the Women in Engineering (WIE) scholarship at the UNSW Open Day in Year 11, at a WIE stand. I then heard about it again at the WIE Camp I attended back in the summer holidays. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it, because I never saw myself as someone who could be a scholarship student.  

I never really thought about applying until I talked to a Student Ambassador who shared her scholarship experience at UNSW Open Day in Year 12, and I became motivated to seriously apply after asking her some more follow-up questions about her experiences in university and industry, as well as understanding the application process a bit more.

You never know if you never try, right?

Rosanna Talking to a group of students in front of  Women in Engineering signage Rosanna Talking to a group of students in front of  Women in Engineering signage


For Year 12 students considering applying for the Women in Engineering scholarships (and yes there's more than one!) I’ve provided some tips on how to approach your application, and share my experience of submitting my application.

Start early. Personally, I started my application a week after the portal opened, and looking back, I’m so glad I did! I was able to work on it during the term and take my time structuring my application responses to my best ability. You don’t want to rush your application last minute! 

It's not just academics. In my application, apart from academic achievements, I also wrote about my co-curriculars – I talked about my experience in the Australian Army Cadets, my hobbies in swimming and table tennis, and my leadership positions within the school.  You don’t have to be the dux of your school to apply – I also wrote about my participation in drama, school clubs such as Choir, Astronomy and Chess Club, and volunteering for my local council. Write about your hobbies and what makes you, you! 

Your co-curricular activities and passions such as sport, music, volunteering, drama, and any other out-of-school school commitments are just as important as your marks in the application.

Structure your response. Application responses can get pretty wordy, and you want to show off all your achievements. When I wrote my first draft, I found that my responses became a little messy because I tried to fit everything in. To combat this, I made a plan of each response, and structured my paragraphs to flow easily for the reader. Also, check out the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Response) when answering questions.

Take breaks if you need to. The application could be a bit overwhelming with all the questions you need to answer. You don’t have to do it in one go if you don’t want to! I sometimes found myself having a writer’s block or not knowing how to express my achievements on a day, so I either moved on to the next question, or I came back to it on another day with a clearer mind. Of course, if you prefer to do things in one go to preserve momentum, go for it. 

Proofread. This is so important. When I was reading back on my application, I found many grammar and spelling mistakes that I didn’t notice when writing. I read my application out loud and then asked a friend to proofread it.  Through this, I was able to correct mistakes and polish my application for submission!  


I’ve included some of my tips to prepare for the interview, but also check out this thorough guide on how to ace it. 

Research. I went for an industry-sponsored scholarship in civil engineering, so I researched the sponsor companies and familiarised myself with what their values were and the projects they worked on that I found interesting.

Prep. I researched a bit more on the discipline I was interested in and asked myself why I wanted to do engineering and that specific discipline. Know why you are interested in your particular discipline if you are going for a discipline-specific scholarship. Is it the amazing technology? The cool projects you could be working on? The impact of the work?

Familiarise yourself with your application before your interview. I looked over my application again and prepared myself to be able to answer any questions they might ask after reading my application.

Don’t be scared to take a moment to think about your answer. If you have a brain freeze moment after the interviewer asks you a question, don’t be scared to ask for a minute to think about your answer. You can give a better thought-out response and the interviewers won’t bite! 

Get a good night's sleep. My formal was actually on the night before the interview day! I stayed up super late that night having the time of my life (no regrets) but waking up early the next day was super hard. Make sure you have a good night's sleep because you don’t want to feel groggy and be on low energy during the interview! 

Fun story, I reached out to an engineer I found super cool and asked her about her experiences in engineering. The only time she was available to call was during my formal, so I was on a call with her for an hour outside the venue, listening to her experiences and tips for the interview! (You don’t have to do this).

Advice to my high school self (and you!) as a 5th year uni student 

You got this! Make sure to breathe during the interview, and don’t be scared to ask for a minute to formulate your answer. This may be one of the first interviews of your life, so think of it as a learning experience (or a practice for your future job interviews ^_^)! 

If you’re looking for a sign to give you that push to apply for the scholarship, this is it! Believe in yourself, and the world is your oyster. You’ll get to experience so many different things at uni – a different academic system, new friends, cool societies, working on student-led projects and 2 VIVID installations, interning at amazing companies, contributing to engineering projects, and now even working as a tutor at uni. There are endless opportunities out there, it's just up to you to go for it!

Again, you never know if you never try, right? Good luck, and I hope to see you at UNSW!

Rosanna with a group of female identifying engineers in the UNSW Electrical Engineering Building Rosanna with a group of female identifying engineers in the UNSW Electrical Engineering Building