Julianna Tan: How to Become a Loran Scholar


We asked Julianna Tan what it takes to become a recipient of the Loran Award valued at $100,000!

“Boundaries are healthy. It’s okay to say no and you don’t have to shape your life around making other people happy.” – Julianna Tan, Loran Scholar 2011

First time you’re hearing about the Loran Award? We’ve got all the deets on what the award is, where it came from, and what a recipient looks like.  

Basically, the Loran Scholars Foundation is a national charitable organization that believes in fostering character development, community involvement, and leadership potential in today’s youth. So, the foundation launched the Loran Award to praise students entering Canadian universities that execute those very values. Secured at 25 schools across the country, 36 recipients enjoy the benefits of the Loran Award each year.

Being a Loran Scholar is a huge deal. Here’s what Julianna Tan had to say about what it takes to receive Canada’s largest undergraduate merit award:

Appreciate Opportunities.

Julianna, BMO Capital Markets Loran Scholar of 2011, adopted a ‘yes-and’ mindset at a very young age, which she believes to be a huge contributing factor to her current success:

“I had a strange family situation growing up. Long story short, I typically used extracurricular activities to stay occupied: art club, yearbook, stage band, SRC, every sport offered… You name it, I did it. Even if I had no clue how to play (say, golf) I still joined it. At first, I signed up for most things for the sake of signing up but in time I really felt a sense of belonging with the people and bonded with both the coaches and the teammates. Looking back I think I developed a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) if I wasn’t involved.”

You know what they say – it’s easier to learn what you don’t want to do than to learn what you want to do. I mean, take a look at Julianna! Even in the face of adversity, she accepted new challenges and opportunities which ultimately shaped her education goals. As she got older, she:

“Took up bodybuilding during [her] last two years of high school and toggled between competing on stage and competing on the track. [She] also worked every weekend and some weekday evenings at [her] parents’ restaurant saving tip money to buy my first car! Food, more specifically nutrition, was a serious passion at the time. [She] read Oxygen magazine like the bible and created excel sheets to track [her] macros. This passion ultimately led [her] to pursue Kinesiology [through her] undergraduate studies.”

It’s important to gain as much exposure as possible while you’re still young. When considering different opportunities, assume there is always something to gain even if they don’t evolve into long-term passions.

Joining a team may help foster your collaboration skills, joining a student council may help you establish leadership potential, and playing sports may help you develop a healthy relationship with competition, rejection, and success. 

Case and point – Some people are “glass-half-full” people. Others are “glass half-empty” people. Loran Scholars are just grateful they have a glass to drink from in the first place. It is that type of gratitude, appreciation, and character that separates them from the competition.

Stay Humble. 

Julianna believes that following tradition is not always the key to success – and questioning the status quo (as intimidating as it can be) creates room for innovation and creative solutions. 

Her advice? 

“Challeng[e] everything. Does it have to be this way or is there a better way? Instead of following old footsteps, where can you tread into new territory? How can you create a new definition of your own livelihood? By constantly asking these questions, I am striving to improve my own life circumstances and while doing so open the door for others to follow.”

As we know, the Loran program is rooted in the value of personal growth and character development. It’s important to accept that you will always make mistakes along the way, but it is how you handle your mistakes that speak to your true character

Embrace them. Learn from them. Grow from them. 

Find a Mentor.

Why is mentorship so important? Here’s a perfect example. 

CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”

CEO: “ What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

To Julianna, 

“Being a Loran alumni means someone saw an investment opportunity in [her]. Someone believed that with the right resources available, [she] could make a positive impact in [her] community. That sticks with [her] long after being a Loran Scholar and far beyond [her] university life.”

Not only is mentorship intrinsically valuable to the Loran program, but it is also something that you should seek out as you are beginning your career.

Let’s be real, entering the workforce can be confusing. As much as you may feel like employers hold all of the bargaining power (especially in today’s hiring climate) a potential job opportunity should always feel like a mutual fit. That means, if you’re going to invest time in learning a business, your employer should be investing time into helping you succeed. 

Whether you’re applying for a Loran Award or an entry-level position post-graduation, always remember that your biggest asset is your ability to learn. As a young person, the companies you want to work for are the ones that will hire you for your potential, not necessarily your experience.

Looking for more ways to make student stuff easier? yconic is all about preparing Canadian students, like yourself, and your parents for college and university. That means matching you with the right school, helping you with tuition costs, and providing advice on how to live your best post-secondary life.