From applicant to Future Leader - my step-by-step application journey

Catelyn Richards, Westpac Scholar, 2022 Future Leader

For anyone looking to apply for a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, the entire process was about a six-month commitment - and needs attention to complete correctly. The first time I applied, I fell short at a few hurdles (like incorrect applications to the university), and as a result, I highly recommend being thorough. I subsequently learned A LOT between the two times I applied.  

My experience applying for the scholarship two times really solidifies the age old saying “if at first you don’t succeed try again”. It will not disadvantage you to apply more than once – unless you don’t learn from your experience the first time you apply.  In complete sincerity, when I wasn’t successful the first time it really rattled me. I started questioning whether I truly was a leader. Even in my most extraverted of years – I was not the person in the room who commanded the room. While I was comfortable public speaking, I was never the person who spoke first. Or the loudest. I did not care for titles. I did not wish to chase a social media presence. In 2019 I started to question that perhaps I had been a ‘phony’ leader all along. I’d completed leadership training, but could I actually lead? I remember this year really clearly because in many ways I really needed this period of my life to start to feel confident in who I was. The process of doubt actually allowed me to search harder for truth in leadership that I actually identified with.  

Over the next two years, I began to live a little less how I believed I should and leaned more into the things I was passionate about. Because of this, coming into my second time applying - I was actually a lot more self-assured and content in my journey. I knew that should I not receive the scholarship, I would still continue on the same trajectory to improve healthcare nationally and internationally. I know what I stand for and now have confidence in the contribution I make to nursing. My approach isn't for everyone, but it is for me - and I'm really content with where I have arrived.  

Here are my top tips for submitting your application: 

  1. Invest time into knowing your course and university staff well.  
  1. Read, re-read and re-read the Westpac scholarship material well (approach your university scholarships team early. The UTAS team were amazing at contacting me about ensuring I had submitted all the information correctly) 
  1.  If you aren’t selected the first time, don’t let it discourage you from applying again. 
  1. Lean into your values, don’t hide anything back.  
  1. Back yourself. You are a success no matter what happens.  

Good luck! 

For more information, to nominate or apply for a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, visit the Westpac Scholars Trust website