A Guide For Scholarship Seekers

By Blanka Stepankova

Fret not, scholarship seekers! There are a plethora of scholarships out there, ranging from national, to provincial, to local ones. When applying, the criteria can often be overwhelmingly specific, or broad. However, there are some simple things to keep in mind when applying.

Types of Scholarships

As mentioned, the scope of scholarships is extensive, yet there may be some that allow you to apply right away — without too much pondering. 

  • Firstly, government bursaries or grants: do you have the applicable values (a financial situation, government care, etc)? These can range greatly in amount and be straightforward to apply to if you have the necessary criteria. 
  • Next, there are entrance scholarships. Upon the completion of an application to a post-secondary institution, you will likely have a choice to apply to the school’s entrance scholarships. These are based solely on transcript marks and can range from $500 to $6000, in some cases. 
  • Within the PSI you applied to, there are often application-based scholarships that you can enter by answering questions and writing about yourself, academics, contributions in the community, etc. These can vary greatly in amount.
  • Continuing on, there are a multitude of scholarships available to enter online (such as from The Student Life Network and their other website: 99 Scholarships). These can be international, national, province-based, or even local in your high school and community. Don’t hesitate to ask a school counsellor if you have any questions!

The Writing Process

Here, things can turn complicated; however, I believe these tips may help you on your quest for winning a scholarship:

  • Writing about yourself can be a challenge. Describing your own qualities, academics, community service, and sports/hobbies is a different form of writing. You want to highlight all of your strengths, yet remain humble enough. Asking an English teacher for their opinion, a counsellor, or a parent can help you catch mistakes, re-word sentences, and improve your message.
  • It goes without saying that honesty is always the best policy. During your writing, think about the extent of truth you are presenting, and if the facts check out. After all, winning isn’t great if you win in bad faith. 
  • And lastly, read the full criteria. If your application is missing a point or includes irrelevant information, edit it now. Most often, judges are marking applications based on the criteria described in the scholarship’s description. So, proofread and ask for another set of eyes to help. Additionally, do not make the same mistake I did and disregard “character limit” and “word limit”. I had to rewrite and slice my paragraphs from 250 words to 250 characters, which sucked. HUGE difference.

I hope some of these tips and tricks help you scholarship seekers be successful in your quest for scholarships. Scholarships can take an insane amount of time and effort to apply for, but it’s worth it! Whether you win or not, you learn and improve on your writing and reflective skills, which are invaluable. Now, I must get back to my own applications. Good luck!