Scholarship Tips

  • Start close to home with parents/grandparents’ employers or affiliations:
    • Does the company or organization you or your parents work for offer any scholarships?
    • Do you or your parents belong to a union or an employee organization? Check with your or your parent’s union or organization rep.
    • Are any members of your family veterans – are you a child or grandchild of a vet?
    • Do your parents belong to a lodge or a club that has a scholarship for members or children of members?
    • Look into the activities you are involved with such as work, clubs and organizations.
    • Follow websites listed on our Scholarship Links page, our Scholarships Listed by Monthly Due Dates  page, SD#42 scholarship page and SD#42 Scholarship Booklet.
  1. The internet has several scholarship guides. These can be paper or digitally based. A good example is: Yconic, scholartree and Scholarships Canada 

CHOOSING SCHOLARSHIPS

As you locate each scholarship you will need to determine whether or not you are eligible to apply. Eligible applicants are those who fit the criteria.

READING the CRITERIA

Make sure you are the type of student they are looking for before you apply:

  • Read the criteria and make sure you fit all the descriptors.
  • Read their demographic details and academic achievement requirements – make sure you match them.
  • Apply only if you are eligible.

OBTAINING APPLICATIONS

  • Many scholarships have their own website where you can download the scholarship application.

 READING THROUGH THE APPLICATION

Read through the entire application and make a list of everything that is required on a separate sheet of paper. Evaluate yourself in relation to the requirements:

  • What career do you wish to pursue?
  • How do your goals and ambitions relate to the implied goals of the scholarship?
  • How do your qualifications compare to the requirements of the scholarship?
  • What are your past successes, achievements, honours received and positions of leadership held?
  • What are your abilities and potential?
  • Where do you want to see yourself in five years? Ten years?

GATHERING MATERIALS

Accomplishment and Activity List – is a list of all the activities you have taken an interest in, been involved with, led or have been a member of during high school. This will provide you with the details and proof to demonstrate how you fit the award criteria and the information you need for your Personal Statement / Essay:

  • Awards: Were you the student of the month, student of the year? Did you receive an award for your extra-curricular activities?
  • Clubs: What clubs at school were you involved in? Were you in any school plays? Did you write for the school paper or yearbook? Were you involved with a religious youth group?
  • Co-op Jobs: Where did you work? What did you do? What did you learn?
  • International Exchanges: Did you travel abroad during school to study or volunteer? What did you learn about the culture?
  • Part-time Jobs: Were you a cashier or clerk, babysitter, delivery person, courier, waiter, lawn care worker, camp counsellor, painter, etc.? Even if you had a really menial job that you hated – include it.
  • Projects: Did you work on any large projects that you are particularly proud of?
  • Scholastic Achievement: Did you get high marks? What was your average? Were you on the honour list? Which subject(s) do you excel in?
  • School Associations: Were you involved with your school council or athletic association? Yearbook committee? Were you a student representative for the parent-teachers association? Do you assist with school preparation for events throughout the year? Do you help plan school dances/functions?
  • Sports: What was your position on the school team? Were you the captain, co-captain, or manager? What skills did you learn? Did you organize bottle drives? Fundraising events?
  • Student Government: Were you the president, secretary, treasurer, vice-president, class representative, or grade representative?
  • Volunteer work at school: Were you a tutor? Coach’s assistant? Office helper? Library assistant? Teacher’s assistant? Technical support? Student Aide?
  • Volunteer work out of school: Local hospital? Local elementary school? Local organization? Government office? Community newspaper? Sports team? Daycare centre? Nursing home? Describe your duties and state what you learned as a result of these experiences.

Self-Reflect – After you’ve compiled your list, think about how your experiences during high school have contributed to your personal growth:

  • Did they help you develop: Maturity? Responsibility? Teamwork skills? Punctuality? Leadership skills?
  • How has what you’ve learned, changed how you do things now?
  • Assign at least one skill or quality that you gained from your involvement in each activity.

Writing a Good Scholarship Essay or Personal Statement – It is one of the most critical factors in the application because it is your opportunity to present a solid picture of yourself as a quality person and a worthy candidate.

You will need to:

  • Self-Evaluate – in relation to the award requirements- due you fit the criteria?
  • Self-Reflect-  on your experiences and personal growth.
  • Self-Promote – provide proof in your essay that you meet or exceed the scholarship criteria.

The scholarship committee will read your essay to see what sets you apart from the crowd, looking for a reason to select you over all the others.

  • Use concrete examples to provide evidence that you satisfy their criteria.
  • Identify the sponsor’s goals. Try to understand the sponsor’s motivation in offering the award. Direct your application towards satisfying these goals.
  • As you’re writing your essay, keep asking yourself if you’d find your essay compelling if someone else had written it.
  • Don’t have a pity party, but let them know you’ve prevailed over difficult circumstances. And don’t simply mention your memberships in different groups-write about things you did that demonstrate leadership and initiative, and any active role you played in addressing a need in your community.
  • Spell check and proofread your essay, and have at least one other person proofread it before submitting it.
  • Read it out loud-you may catch errors that don’t stand out when reading it silently.
  • Check your word length and edit to keep within their limits -scholarship committees don’t look kindly on applicants who ignore their rules.
  • Avoid slang at all costs, but don’t come off as a pseudo intellectual either.
  • And ask someone whose opinion you trust to read your essay and give you constructive criticism.

Letters of Recommendation/Letters of Reference

  • Strong letters of recommendation are extremely important.
  • Letters should come from teachers who are familiar not only with your academic abilities, but also with your personal interests and background, and how those relate to your potential success.
  • Effective letters of recommendation are detailed, specific, and contextualize your achievements. It is helpful if the letter-writer can attest to the appropriateness of your proposed program or suitability to the award.
  • Approach letter-writers as soon as possible. Remember that teachers, employers and coaches are busy people and will need some time, usually a few weeks, to work on a good letter of recommendation. When you are approaching the letter-writer, discuss your plans and let them know what you hope to study and why you want to apply. These discussions may help you clarify your plans and will help re-establish your relationships with your letter-writer. Provide them with a written description of the scholarship and copies of your personal statement, proposed academic program, transcripts and activities/honours list.
  • Provide them with an Reference Letter Request form/Brag Sheet.

Transcripts

  • Not every scholarship will require a transcript.
  • When an application requires a transcript, you need to take their request seriously and mail (or have mailed) a transcript well before the deadline.
  • In the academic world, there are two types of transcripts: ‘unofficial’ and ‘official’. An unofficial transcript is a listing of coursework. Unofficial transcripts are normally acceptable only for campus-based scholarships and awards. An official transcript is printed by the school office on official paper and includes the seal of the school and the signature of the Student Records Clerk.
  • Ordering official transcripts, like letters of recommendation, requires some advanced planning – FILL OUT A TRANSCRIPT REQUEST FORM IN THE MAIN OFFICE.

Last Steps

  • Complete the application in full and follow directions. If a question doesn’t apply to you, note that on the application.
  • Provide everything required but don’t include anything that is not requested.
  • Keep a record of all scholarships you apply for.
  • Neatness Counts! Type out applications instead of printing.
  • The last element in applying for a scholarship is getting it to the foundation. Be cognizant of the fact that some scholarship foundations have postmark deadlines and others have receipt deadlines. It is your job to ensure that the application reaches the sponsor on time.
  • Keep a copy of the application for your records.

 

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