A few weeks ago, I got some great news and couldn’t wait to share it with you all. I try to apply for scholarships, awards, and bursaries as much as I can. And, I just got $800 for the summer term as an award which is fantastic…that is $800 knocked off my summer term! Thank you York U! When I am applying for scholarships and awards, I start off with the choices that I feel strongly apply to me. And, make my way down the list. I know that applying for scholarships is a time consuming process, so I aim to apply for 5 to 10 of my strongest choices depending on what time allows. Something is better nothing! So without further ado, let me share my top five tips with you!
ScholarshipsCanada.com – When you are browsing for scholarships don’t neglect the external awards. Along with external awards listed, there are eleven external scholarship search engines listed for students. That is where I discovered ScholarshipsCanada.com; signup for an account to get daily e-mails. You can sort scholarships by favourite. Many scholarships apply to any school and field of study—how flexible!
Community involvement and Leadership skills – Scholarships are not always about your academic performance. Many scholarships are offered to students who have made contributions in their community and who showcase leadership skills. Leadership skills can be developed on campus via clubs and many other opportunities, or by undertaking different project in your neighbourhood or the city. These can be initiatives to start a neighbourhood clean-up, contributing to services such as the humane society or promote social justice. Browse the York U awards and the external awards as well. You can also check your local banks as they offer some excellent scholarships for community involvement.
Your workplace – A lot of corporations usually offer scholarships to employees. Don’t overlook the awards being offered via your work place. Right now, I am employed on campus, but when I wasn’t—I did apply to scholarships offered by my previous company. These scholarships range in amount based on the employer. We always had annual winners in the company. This prize was also open to employees whose children were enrolled in post-secondary institutions in Canada. So, be sure to check with your parents if you can benefit from such programs at their workplace.
Reference letters – Some scholarships will require a reference letter. I would advise making an appointment with your professor to go see them, as this will give them some advance notice. Dialogue is the key here, as you need to be clear what the requirements for the letter are. Your reference can be through you employer too. Explore all options and get your reference letter from the person who actually knows you. If you are just starting school and have been employed longer, then it is probably better to approach a reliable source who knows you better. My very first reference letters were actually written by my employer because as a mature student I seldom had any connections in the academic sector. There is also a York University Mature Students Entrance Scholarship, which unfortunately I didn’t know about. There is no formal application process. You can just submit a personal letter explaining your community, work, academic, or community involvement.
Attend a Workshop –Student Financial Services offers workshops to students. These workshop sessions can be helpful with how to fill out your Student Financial Profile, how to apply for scholarships and bursaries, as well as campus employment. Meanwhile, check out the on-line tutorial.
Have comments, questions, more tips? Share them below!