11 Oct Cestar High School student applying to scholarships in Toronto.

Tips on Applying for Scholarships

If you’re heading into your last year of high school, apart from all your college and university applications, you’re probably also looking into the various scholarships available to you as well. Scholarships are worth looking into and applying for because if you win the prize, it’s a great opportunity to help finance your post secondary education. Not only could it go towards your tuition costs, but the money can also help cover additional expenses such as residence, school supplies and meal programs.

There’s a lot of money up for grabs, and something students don’t take advantage of enough. In fact, according to Scholarship Canada millions of dollars go unclaimed every year as students fail to apply to them. So it’s safe to say, there’s a lot of money up for grabs that could help supplement your future.

And it’s not as complicated as you think! While some scholarships do require essay writing or a project component, some are as easy as filling out an application with your details on it. If you’re thinking of planning ahead and looking into scholarship applications now, here are some of our best tips to help you secure one for yourself and win big money!

Make Sure You Meet All The Requirements

Let’s start with the basics. You want to make sure that before you submit any application, that you actually meet all the requirements asked of you. Some may have very specific requirements such as specific academic standings, geographical location or interests while others also require and essay or other supplementary assignments. Before you submit your application, make sure you get all the work done that was asked of you and that you check all their criteria.

Do Your Research

There’s a lot more scholarship money available out there than you think! Besides post-secondary schools, many scholarships are offered through clubs, local community organizations, small businesses and more. These are some of the best scholarships to apply to because the chances of scoring and winning them are a lot higher since the pool of applicants tend to be much smaller, compared to larger or mainstream scholarships offered by schools.

When it comes to conducting research, where are some of the best places to look? Here’s where you should start:

  • Guidance Counselor – your guidance counselor is a great resource when it comes to looking for local scholarships. Having worked in the industry, they can guide you towards the best scholarships, tell you how to apply to them, and which ones you’d qualify best for given the qualifications you have
  • Scholarship Databases – there are a number of portals or scholarships databases online that list all the scholarships available out there currently, with a list of deadlines and qualifications. Some of these databases can also be filtered so it only lists scholarships that are based on certain criteria that you’re looking for.

Apply For Scholarships That Require Extra Work

Every scholarship application is different and they have different criteria to meet in order to submit applications. Some of them are very easy to apply for and only require personal information such as name, current school, academic standings and geographical local. Others on the other hand may ask a lot more of you such as an essay, video or other personal project. It may come to no one’s surprise, but the more complicated the scholarship application, the smaller amount of applications it receives. These are the types of scholarships you want to aim for because even though it might take extra work, the greater the chances are of you getting the scholarship. The bonus? These scholarships typically have more money on the line compared to others, which is why they ask you to submit that extra work.

Apply For Smaller Scholarships

It’s only natural that students aim for the big prizes or scholarships that offer big earnings. And while those are great, and something everyone should still strive for, also aim for scholarships with smaller prizes as well. Why? Not only are the pool of applicants typically a lot smaller than for scholarships with bigger prizes, you don’t want to undermine the great use these scholarships may have. Even though they might not be enough to offset your tuition fees entirely, they’ll be able to help with smaller expenses such as school supplies, textbooks, and other school costs.

Cestar High School student writing an essay for scholarship application in Toronto.

Proofread All Your Work

Much like anything you do for college and university applications or work, always be sure to proofread and polish your work. When you’re competing for scholarships with dozens, sometimes hundreds of other students, the scholarship committee going through that work will be going through applications with a fine tooth and comb to make sure their top candidates have pristine applications — so be sure to proofread! Also, it’s a good opportunity to make sure you’ve dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s when it comes to providing everything the application has asked of you.

Start Early

It’s always a good idea to start to search for scholarships early into the season. Every scholarship has their own deadlines in place, so you want to make sure you can submit as many as possible without missing any. This will also help manage your time, especially if you’re planning to apply to multiple scholarships at once. Since they all ask different things of you, it’s good to organize your time and make sure you’re able to deliver all the requirements before the deadline.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Try not to leave applications to the very last minute as it will greatly affect your quality of work and potentially affect your chances of winning the scholarship. Depending on what your goals are, applying to scholarships might be as time consuming as a part-time job so you want to make sure you balance that time with other regular responsibilities you have as a high school student such as completing homework and other class assignments.

Planning on applying to scholarships now? Visit Cestar High School’s student services to see how guidance counsellors and staff can help you with scholarships and post-secondary school applications. Our staff are here to help students every step of the way and take pride in doing so.


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