5 Steps to Winning Scholarships

Step 1: Search

There are thousands of scholarships, awards and grants available to help finance your education! Many scholarships are awarded on academic achievement. However, other awards are awarded for athletic involvement, leadership, community service, area of interest and the institution you plan on attending.

  • Check out the post-secondary institution you plan to attend for possible scholarships and entrance awards.
  • Search online using a free search tool like yconic.ca (login required).
  • Talk to your parents and/or relatives – they may be members of a club or organization or their employer may offer awards to family members.
  • Talk to your high school guidance counsellor.

Step 2: Apply

  • Complete the appropriate scholarship application form. Keep a copy.
  • Do you meet the requirements as outlined on the application?
  • Apply well before the application deadline.
  • Mail your application before the deadline (a late application may not be accepted).
  • Keep extra letters of recommendation and transcripts on hand (it will save you time when applying for more than one award.
  • Follow-up with award sponsor before the deadline to make sure your application was received.

Step 3: Write the Essay

  • Write that essay; if an essay is a requirement, it may be the deciding factor.
  • Give yourself plenty of time.
  • Read the instructions carefully, and seek advice from a family member, friend, teacher or counsellor.
  • Go for quality, rather than quantity.
  • Use clear and concise language and avoid the use of slang.
  • Review your essay. Read it aloud. Refine it.
  • Proofread! Better still, have someone read and proofread your essay.
  • Keep a copy on file - with a few changes you may be able to use it for another scholarship.

Step 4: Get the Money

  • Make sure you meet all the conditions to receive the money: full-time enrollment, maintaining residency, institution you are attending, etc.
  • If you move, advise the scholarship donor of your new address.
  • If you are required to attend an awards ceremony, luncheon, etc., be there, be gracious and dress appropriately.
  • Thank the donor, when appropriate.

Step 5: Maintain Your Scholarship Potential

  • Keep your marks, athletics, leadership and volunteer work at an outstanding level and continue to look for scholarships as you progress through your studies.
  • Be positive. Believe in yourself and in your chances of winning a scholarship. It takes hard work and time, but the rewards are well worth the effort.