How to Apply for Scholarships at Carleton University

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Congratulations on getting into Carleton!

Situated in picturesque Ottawa, Carleton is known for its many renowned programs, from journalism to public affairs and more. It’s a huge accomplishment to get in and you should be super proud of yourself.

Still, we know that a university education can be pretty expensive. Fortunately, that’s where scholarships come in. You’ll be happy to know that there are a variety of scholarships available to Carleton students that can help lessen the cost of your post-secondary studies. Some of which you might not even have to apply for. Pretty great, right? 

Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Some general tips before you apply…

Determine your eligibility 

There are a lot of different types of scholarships you can apply for. Academic merit may be the first thing that comes to mind, but think about extracurricular activities you may have excelled at. Things like community leadership, volunteering, or athletics. There are also a lot of scholarships for those in need of financial aid.

Finding the right scholarships will be half the battle, but it’s worth it to find a good match. A little research goes a long way!

Set aside time

Set aside a few hours a week to work on your applications as well as organize all of the secondary pieces you’ll need for your application, like transcripts, essays and reference letters. Essay writing in and of itself can be very time consuming as you want to make a succinct pitch that packs a punch and is free of typos and other errors.

To stay on top of application deadlines, try tracking all of the elements you need to complete in an Excel spreadsheet, as well as all of the many elements that your application may require. While it might seem like a lot of work, you don’t want to spend a bunch of time on an application only to find out you forgot an important detail. 

Don’t just apply for the big ones

Everyone wants that ‘free ride’ scholarship that will pay for their entire university education, but keep in mind that millions of dollars worth of smaller scholarships go unclaimed every year.

Be open-minded when it comes to applying because smaller scholarships tend to be less competitive, so you have a higher chance of winning. Plus, in the end, every dollar counts.

Stay positive

It might seem a bit daunting to put yourself out there and potentially risk rejection. But look at it this way–you can’t succeed if you don’t try. Try to stay positive, visualize your goals and go for it.

Now that you know how to apply for scholarships, here are the ones that every Carleton student should consider in their search.

Carleton Entrance Scholarships

The good news about going to Carleton University is that it offers some serious scholarship cash to its best students. If you’ve managed to keep your high school grade average at 80 percent or higher, you’ll be automatically considered for an entrance scholarship in the range of $1,000 to $4,000 a year. 

The best part? You don’t have to fill out any forms or paperwork. Carleton will determine if you’re eligible when you apply. And the number of these scholarships they offer? Unlimited.

But keep in mind that to be considered, you need to keep those grades high when you apply mid-year. Carleton won’t reassess you for an entrance scholarship for your end-of-year grades. 

Scholarships for Current Carleton Students

Carleton likes to motivate current students to keep their grades high throughout their undergraduate careers. If you maintain a 10.0 or higher GPA, you can keep your entrance scholarship throughout your undergraduate tenure, whether you’re a full or part-time student. 

Much like the entrance award, Carleton’s Awards Office will automatically decide if you’re eligible to have that entrance scholarship renewed without you having to formally apply. Your final grades after the fall/winter session will determine if you’ve made the cut, and you will know for sure by the end of May. The status of the decision will be posted on Carleton Central, which is an online portal where you can see your grades and register for courses.

One caveat: if you’re doing a paid co-op, you won’t be eligible for the scholarship while you work. But once you finish your co-op term and you’re back in school, you’ll be considered again.

Carleton’s Departmental Scholarships and Awards

In addition to being considered for scholarships through Carleton’s Awards Office, your hard work and good grades may also be recognized through departmental scholarships and awards.

At the end of each academic year, departments nominate outstanding students for financial rewards. The list of departmental scholarships and awards includes just about every area of study you can think of. 

External Scholarships and Awards

There are many options for financial support outside of what Carleton has to offer. Eligibility criteria varies, but there’s a good chance that there’s an award out there that’s suited for you. Awards are granted by theme, so think about where you excel and look for scholarships in that area. Here are a few scholarship examples for inspiration:

Community Leadership: TD Scholarships

If you love making a difference in your community, this may be a good scholarship for you.

It’s hefty: a maximum of $70,000 over four years, and covers both tuition and living expenses.

It’s open to students across Canada who:

  • Have demonstrated community leadership
  • Are in their final year of high school or CEGEP (in Quebec)
  • Have a minimum overall grade average of 75% in their most recently completed school year

To be considered, you must:

  • Write a 600-word essay describing your community leadership experience.
  • Include letters of recommendation from your school and two community groups, along with your transcript
  • And, if you’re really trying to impress: add another 250-word essay about your personal life, economic situation, or life experience

Keep your eye on the website to see when you can apply later this year. Something else to consider: all of the major banks offer scholarship awards. Check their websites to see if there is one for you.

STEM Fields: Schulich Leader Scholarships

Schulich Leader Scholarships are Canada’s most coveted undergraduate STEM scholarships. They are for students enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or math program at 20 partner universities across Canada.

To be eligible, you need to meet two of the following three criteria:

  • Academic excellence
  • Entrepreneurial or community leadership
  • Financial need

Heads up: this is a very competitive scholarship. Each year, there are more than 300,000 candidates, but only 100 scholarships are awarded. And only one graduating student can be nominated from every high school in Canada. But if you manage to get one, it’s also very lucrative. Past recipients have received scholarships ranging from $80,000 to $100,000. You can read more about how to apply here.

Niche Scholarship: Cancer Survivors 

Surviving cancer can make it challenging to finish school and can put students at a financial disadvantage when applying for university. Thankfully, there are a few scholarships available if this applies to you. For example, there is a Childhood Cancer Canada Survivor Scholarship valued at $1,500. 

Finding the right scholarship is certainly no easy task. But if you take the time to research your options, keep your grades up, prepare some top-notch applications, and stay on top of submission requirements and due dates, all your hard work will pay off (literally) in the form of a much-reduced tuition bill. Trust us – your future debt-free self will thank you. Good luck and happy scholarship hunting!