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Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

Question:

I am a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, but I have been studying overseas recently. Can I apply?

Answer:

Yes, so long as you meet other eligibility criteria.

Please refer to the eligibility criteria of each scholarship you wish to apply for.

Question:

I am not a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident. Can I apply?

Answer:

We recommend contacting the International Office about enrolment at the University of Otago. To contact the International Office enquire now or visit their website.

The international scholarships that we offer at Otago for undergraduate level are entrance scholarships. These are normally only open to students who are New Zealand citizens or Permanent Residents who have studied abroad, or international students who have completed Years 12 or 13 at a New Zealand secondary school (or an equivalent foundation level course at a New Zealand tertiary institution).

It may be that if your high school qualifications are easily internationally recognised, such as the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Exams, you may be granted discretion to apply for the University of Otago New Frontiers Entrance Scholarships, but this is likely to be after enrolment, and with the permission of the Director of the International Office here at the University of Otago, but all queries must be directed to the International Office.

Question:

I am an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident. Can I apply?

Answer:

Yes, so long as you meet other eligibility criteria. A reciprocal agreement between the New Zealand and Australian governments enables Australian citizens and permanent residents studying in New Zealand to be classified as domestic students.

Question:

I left school some years ago. Can I apply?

Answer:

Yes, so long as you meet other eligibility criteria.

Please refer to the eligibility criteria of each scholarship you wish to apply for.

Question:

I am part of an accelerated programme at my school and have been studying some university papers this year. Can I apply?

Answer:

Yes, so long as you have not gained admission to a degree programme at the University of Otago.

Question:

I am a Foundation Studies student affiliated with the University of Otago. Can I apply?

Answer:

Yes, so long as you meet other eligibility criteria (Foundation Studies is considered to be prior to the first year of University study).

Please refer to the eligibility criteria of each scholarship you wish to apply for.

You will not get the scholarships "apply now" button automatically so you will need to contact us with your full name and Otago student ID number by email to entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz when you have completed the Educational Background questions in your eVision portal. This is step 3 on the "Apply for an entrance scholarship" webpage.

Question:

I have previously completed tertiary study at a Polytechnic, but now wish to embark on university study. Can I apply?

Answer:

Yes, so long as you meet other eligibility criteria.

Please refer to the eligibility criteria of each scholarship you wish to apply for.

Question:

I have previously completed tertiary study at another university, but now want to complete further undergraduate study at the University of Otago (I have not studied at Otago before). Can I apply?

Answer:

The intention of these scholarships is to support students who are coming to university for the first time and are studying at first-year, 100-level. Application is possible, but you must upload a transcript from your previous study.

Question:

I have previously completed tertiary study at another university, and now want to enrol at the University of Otago for the first time in order to complete a postgraduate qualification. Can I apply?

Answer:

No.

Further information on postgraduate scholarship options.

Question:

I am not of Māori or Pacific descent, but I identify strongly with one (or both) of these communities. Can I apply for the Māori and Pacific Peoples’ Entrance Scholarship?

Answer:

No.

Question:

I am not from a particularly disadvantaged background, but I know university is going to put some financial strain on me. Should I apply for the Alumni Entrance Scholarship?

Answer:

No. While we recognise tertiary education can be expensive, these scholarships are particularly for students whose financial circumstances present a much greater barrier to tertiary education than is usual for the majority of students.

Question:

I wish to apply for a Performance Entrance Scholarship, but I won’t be studying in my performance area at university. Can I apply?

Answer:

Yes. You don’t need to be studying your area of performance to apply, although this can be an advantage in some areas (for example performance music), where it can demonstrate an on-going commitment to your area of performance.

Question:

Are University of Otago Alumni Entrance Scholarship applicants automatically considered for the R & E Seelye Trust Academic Excellence Scholarships?

Answer:

Yes. You cannot apply for the University of Otago R & E Seelye Trust Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarships without applying for the University of Otago Alumni Entrance Scholarships. Applications for the University of Otago Alumni Entrance Scholarship received by 15 August will be considered for the R & E Seelye Trust Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarships.

Please note that you will not be considered for the R & E Seelye Trust Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarship if applying for the University of Otago Alumni Appeal Entrance Scholarship closing on 5 December.

Question:

Do I have to enrol in a course before applying for scholarships?

Answer:

You must have completed the first stages of enrolment at the University of Otago to access the online entrance scholarship application.

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Referees

Question:

Which scholarships require referees?

Answer:

Please check if a referee is required by looking at the webpage for each scholarship you intend to apply for. Referees details are required for Māori and Pacific Peoples', Performance, Alumni, and Donna-Rose McKay Entrance Scholarships.

List of Entrance Scholarships

Question:

Who should I ask to be my referee?

Answer:

It is important to choose referees who know you well and can comment on the qualities and characteristics required for the scholarship in question.

Question:

What information should I give my referee?

Answer:

For scholarships closing on 5 December, a referee information sheet can be found here.

Question:

Can I use a family member as a referee?

Answer:

This is strongly discouraged, as it constitutes a conflict of interest. If circumstances dictate that only a family member can provide a reference, they should declare this conflict of interest when providing their reference and the reason why they are providing the reference in spite of this.

Question:

I am at school or completed school in the last two years, but I want to choose my own referees for the scholarships where you would usually contact my referees directly. Can I do this?

Answer:

No.

Question:

I changed school recently and I am worried that the person providing references at my new school won’t know enough about me to be able to comment accurately. What should I do?

Answer:

We recommend making an appointment with your [new] school’s Careers Advisor to talk through this issue with them, and let them know about your accomplishments. Note too that referees get to see the statements you have provided along with your application, so your achievements will be known to the person making the reference.

Question:

I want to seek references directly myself, or I already have letters of reference – can I upload these as part of my application as well as (or in place of) naming referees to provide references?

Answer:

No. The references we require need to be confidential. We will not use any other uploaded references in decision-making for scholarships.

Question:

Do I need to ask my referee to send their reference to you?

Answer:

Reference requests will be sent automatically when you submit your scholarship application. For scholarships closing on 5 December 2017, references are due on 7 December 2017. The University of Otago does not follow up with individual referees for scholarships. We recommend you check with your nominated referees that they have provided references as the due date approaches. Failure to receive references may see your application disqualified from further consideration.

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Transcripts and grades

Question:

Why is Year 12 the significant year for the academic component of Entrance Scholarship awards?

Answer:

This is because it is the last complete year for all New Zealand high school students. By the time you apply for Entrance Scholarships in the middle of Year 13, we are able to compare the full academic year of results from Year 12 with the other applicants, and do not have to be concerned about the variability in how schools upload results and when they are available to the University of Otago.

Question:

I am doing much better academically in Level 3 than I did in Level 2. Will you take my internal assessments at Excellence in Level 3 into account?

Answer:

It is very unlikely that your Level 3 work will be taken into account for the Entrance Scholarship applications that close on 15 August and 5 December. Level 3 results are very important though for the University of Otago New Frontiers Entrance Scholarships. (Please note that the University of Otago New Frontiers Entrance Scholarships cannot be held concurrently with the other Entrance Scholarships that close on 15 August or 5 December).

Question:

I am not studying towards NCEA – how do you compare my grades to those people studying under NCEA?

Answer:

The University has grade conversion tools and guidelines it uses for this. As a general rule, applicants who receive Academic Excellence Scholarships would generally be in the top 1% of all students academically.

Question:

I am studying towards NCEA (or my last completed qualification was NCEA) – do I need to upload my transcript?

Answer:

No. But please also ensure your NSN number is entered correctly when applying to the University of Otago.

Question:

I am studying (or last studied) at tertiary level; what transcripts should I upload?

Answer:

Primarily your tertiary-level (i.e. your most recent) transcripts.

Question:

I am on exchange; what transcripts should I upload and which system should I record as my primary educational system?

Answer:

Please record your educational system as ‘other’ and note both your New Zealand and exchange systems of study. Similarly, please upload both your New Zealand transcripts and any transcripts from your exchange.

Question:

I am studying overseas – how do you compare my grades to those people studying in New Zealand?

Answer:

The University has grade conversion tools and guidelines it uses for this. To assist us in assessing your transcript, please provide any information on the transcript relating to the grading (for example a ‘grading key’). Information on your rank or relative position in your class, if available, is strongly recommended.

Question:

I am currently studying towards the International Baccalaureate and don’t have final grades yet; what should I do?

Answer:

Please upload any provisional transcripts you have. The University will seek further information on predicted IB grades from your school.

Question:

I am studying (or have studied) a mix of NCEA and another system (such as IB or CIE); which of these systems should I record as my primary educational system?

Answer:

If you are primarily studying towards IB or CIE, please identify that system and then upload your NCEA record of learning along with your IB/CIE results. If you are studying a mixed system, select “Other” as your educational system and upload transcripts from all systems under which you are studying.

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Declaration of income and assets (for the Alumni and Donna-Rose McKay Entrance Scholarships)

Question:

Where can I find the income and assets declaration form?

Answer:

You can find the form here.

Question:

Should I (or my parents/guardians) include any income from benefits on the Income and Asset Declaration Form?

Answer:

Yes.

Question:

I don’t have anything to do with my parents (or a parent) – do they need to complete an income and asset declaration?

Answer:

Not necessarily. There is space on the form to explain if you are estranged from one or both of your parents, however you will need to provide the name and contact details of someone who can confirm this if asked.

Question:

My parents are separated and they do not want to share financial information with one another – how can they complete the Income and Asset Declaration Form?

Answer:

It is acceptable to separate out the pages of the form and have different parties complete and sign just their particular section (this might mean one section is provided several times with the different details of different parties). Note that you will need to collate the different parts of the form together though (for uploading) and also summarise all the collected information on the final page of the form and in the online application.

Question:

I or my parents have accountancy statements detailing our financial position – can I upload these as well as (or instead of) the income and asset declaration form?

Answer:

No. Please use the form provided.

Question:

I don’t feel comfortable providing financial information – can I apply for the Alumni scholarships without doing this?

Answer:

No. We appreciate the sensitivity of this information and assure you it will be treated with the utmost care and confidentiality. Only selection panel members and those involved in the administration of the Alumni scholarships will have access to this information, and only for the purposes of selecting the scholarships. Collection of such information is necessary however, in order to ensure that these scholarships are awarded to students with genuine financial need.

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Application documents

Question:

What evidence of eligibility do I need to upload for the Māori and Pacific Peoples' Entrance Scholarship?

Answer:

  • If you whakapapa Māori you need to upload either your Iwi Registration form (this is preferable), or complete the Whakapapa Endorsement Form, and upload your document to the mandatory "Scholarship Eligibility form" upload option during the online scholarship application.
  • If you have indigenous Pacific ancestry you need to upload either a birth certificate showing your ancestral links (this is preferable), or complete the Indigenous Pacific Ancestry Endorsement Form, and upload your document to the mandatory "Scholarship Eligibility form" upload option during the online scholarship application.

Question:

The online application asks me to upload a document, what do I need to upload?

Answer:

The below documents are required during the online application for Māori and Pacific Peoples', Alumni, and Donna-Rose McKay Entrance Scholarships.

All other document uploads in the online application are not mandatory.

Scanning documents for uploading

Question:

I don’t have access to a scanner, what can I do?

Answer:

You could take a digital photo and upload this as a JPEG file. If you have multiple images you will need to combine them into one file. Just make sure the file isn’t larger than 2MB and that the information in the photo is very clear and readable.

Question:

What formats can I upload my documents in?

Answer:

PDF or JPEG – and each file must not exceed 2MB in size.

Question:

Can I upload multiple files – for example different files for each of my transcripts?

Answer:

No – for each requested upload, all documents must be in one file only (one file of all your transcripts (if required); one file of your income and asset declaration form (if applying for Alumni or Donna-Rose McKay Entrance Scholarships); one file for your ethnicity verification (if applying for Māori and Pacific Peoples' Entrance Scholarship). There are free online applications for merging PDF documents together: we recommend entering “combine pdfs” into a search engine such as Google.

Question:

I can’t figure out how to get my documents into an electronic format – help!

Answer:

Don’t panic! Please email entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz and we will try to find a solution to your problem. Note that unless you have your documents in an electronic file however, you shouldn’t attempt to complete the online scholarship application. Please contact us first, but please note that we have many queries and requests in the days and hours leading up to the closing of Entrance Scholarships. If you find out you are having scanning and uploading problems two hours before the scholarships close, we may not be able to provide timely support.

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Applying online

Question:

Can I apply for more than one entrance scholarship?

Answer:

Yes, you can apply for as many entrance scholarships as you are eligible for. You need to tick the boxes for every scholarship that you wish to apply for when you access the online application as after you have submitted your scholarship application you will not be able to return to select more.

Question:

What do I need to prepare for my application?

Answer:

Application requirements are different for each scholarship. You should check what is required for each of the scholarships you want to apply for.

Question:

I've completed step 3 on this webpage and I can't see an apply now button. What should I do?

Answer:

  • Have you applied for an Honours programme? I.e. Bachelor of Commerce with Honours. If so, this is a one-year postgraduate programme that you can complete after your undergraduate degree. You will need to apply for an undergraduate programme (i.e. Bachelor of Commerce) to be able to apply for entrance scholarships.
  • Have you applied for the Health Sciences Undergraduate Professional Programme? If so, you will need to do the Health Sciences First Year before you can enter a professional programme. After applying for the Health Sciences First Year you will be able to apply for entrance scholarships.
  • Have you completed a paper at the University of Otago while at high school? If so, you won't automatically get the apply now button. After you've completed step 3 on this webpage, email us at entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz and include your Otago student ID number in your email.
  • Are you an international student who has completed or is in the process of completing a Foundation Year programme? If so, you will not get the apply now button automatically. After you've completed step 3 on this webpage, email us at entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz and include your Otago student ID number in your email.

If you don't fit into any of the above, contact us by email entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz with your Otago student ID number and we'll do our best to help.

Question:

Can I save my online application halfway through and come back and finish it off later on?

Answer:

Yes, but make sure you submit your application before the scholarship closing date.

Question:

The Academic Excellence and Leaders of Tomorrow Entrance Scholarships are combined in the online application but I only want to apply for one. How do I apply for it separately?

Answer:

The Academic Excellence and Leaders of Tomorrow Entrance Scholarships require the same information, so there is one application for both. You will be asked at the end of the questions for these scholarships whether you wish to be considered for Academic Excellence, Leaders of Tomorrow, or both.

Question:

I’m stuck – help!

Answer:

Don’t worry – just contact entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz and we will help sort things out if we can within the time available.

Question:

How do I know if I have submitted my applications?

Answer:

Check your eVision portal. You won't get a confirmation email but will be able to see in your portal under the "Scholarships and awards" section if you applications have been submitted.

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Results

Question:

When should I know whether I’ve received a scholarship or not?

Answer:

For Entrance Scholarships with a 15 August closing date, we anticipate applicants will receive notification of results by mid-October.

For Entrance Scholarships with a 5 December closing date, we anticipate applicants will receive notification of results by mid-January.

Question:

I haven’t received news about my scholarship – what should I do?

Answer:

If you applied for scholarships which closed on 15th August, and it is after October, and you are sure you haven’t received any message from us, first check your eVision Portal, then email entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz. If it is before the end of October, just wait – results should be with you by that date.

Question:

I missed out on a scholarship but I’m a top student – can I ask for reconsideration of the decision?

Answer:

No. Scholarship decisions are final and we will not enter into discussion about these. Unfortunately demand for these scholarships is very high, so even some excellent students miss out.

Question:

I received a scholarship but have decided to turn it down – do I need to let the University of Otago know this?

Answer:

Yes, please do. As we operate waitlists for some of our scholarships, if you can let us know as soon as possible, we may be able to offer the scholarship to another deserving candidate. Email us at entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz. Your eVision offer notification contains accept and decline buttons, but you may also email us at entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz. Please note that if you have committed to a Residential College, you may still have financial liabilities with the College if you accept then subsequently decline your Entrance Scholarships. 

Question:

I have received a scholarship but I’m not sure whether to accept it or not, because I am waiting on other scholarship results, and I won’t know about these till after my acceptance decision is due with the University of Otago; what should I do?

Answer:

Please contact us by emailing entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz and we can advise on the best course of action for you.

Question:

I received a scholarship – do I have to take it up in 2018, or can I wait?

Answer:

See the deferring a scholarship section below.

Question:

I received a scholarship and then was awarded Dux of my school and so became eligible for the University of Otago Dux Scholarship – can I have both awards?

Answer:

Yes, however the extent to which any or all of the full value of the Dux Scholarship is payable will be determined by the success, or otherwise, in securing other University of Otago Entrance Scholarships. See the Dux Scholarship webpage for more information.

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Payment of Scholarship

As per point 4 of the Entrance Scholarships Terms and Conditions, the monetary award of the scholarship is normally received in Semester 1 as a contribution to or payment of (in order): a) Residential College fees; b) tuition fees at the University of Otago and c) as after April in the year of tenure.

Residential College payment: If you are planning on staying in a Residential College, the Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships Office will work directly with the Residential College and the Accommodation Office to transfer the scholarship contribution towards your accommodation fees.

Tuition fees payment: If you are not staying in a Residential College, then the Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships Office will work with the Student Finance Office to ensure your scholarship contribution towards tuition fees is made. The fee rebates for scholarship recipients will be processed by the due date for fees. Once the rebate has been processed, the payment will be visible in the Finance section of your eVision portal.

Lump sum payment: If you are eligible for a lump sum payment, the Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships Office will provide you with more information on how the payment will be applied. Payment will not be made until after April, once the deadlines for changing programme/s and first semester papers has passed.

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Deferring a Scholarship

Question:

I'm planning on taking a gap year, can I defer my scholarship?

Answer:

It may be possible to defer taking up a scholarship for a year. To do so, please apply in writing to the Manager, Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships at the email address entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz with your reasons for requesting a deferral. We recommend you check the “tenure” section of the regulations for the scholarship you have been offered.

Please note: as per the Entrance Scholarships Terms and Conditions, deferrals will not be granted where a recipient is studying at another tertiary institution at degree level prior to or during the scholarship tenure.

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Other Queries

If you have a question that isn't answered above, please contact the Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships Office by email:
entrance.scholarships@otago.ac.nz
If you have a University of Otago student identification number, please include this in your email.

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