By Komal Patel
Who doesn’t want free money? Whether you’ll be starting university this fall or already have a few years under your belt, scholarships are a great way to reduce the financial burden of post-secondary education. Combined with our tips for saving money in university, scholarships could make a serious dent in the cost of school. Read on for a breakdown of where to find scholarships and what goes into a strong application essay.
Finding scholarships that fit your profile.
Scholarships Canada, Yconic, and 99 Scholarships are fantastic resources to look for opportunities that will fit any student profile. Are you an athlete? Artist? Indigenous student or first generation immigrant? Chances are, there’s a scholarship available for you. Save yourself the time of scrolling through the hundreds of scholarships available by making a free profile - they’ll recommend top choices to you!
We’ve listed a few links to get you started:
You’ve found a scholarship that you like. How do you start writing?
The hardest part about applying to scholarships is sitting down and writing the applications. There are a few ways to get into the ‘flow’ of writing, and I’ll outline those below.
Draft an outline and fill in key points before you start writing. Try and tie each point back to the prompt so your writing is consistent and relevant throughout the application. This is a great method to get started if you're a planner or like to work on things step by step.
Just start writing whatever comes to mind and DON'T go back to edit until you feel like you're done. Your "stream of consciousness" might not be polished, but it'll give you a good starting point and force you to get your words on paper. It's important to avoid the urge to edit until you've finished writing, otherwise you'll never get your essay done. This is the method that works best for me!
Pull out an old application for inspiration. Looking at what you've previously written and how you answered similar questions might help you get started, and the feeling of having at least some of the work done is great motivation to finish your essay!
What if you don't have a lot of extracurricular experiences to write about?
The nice thing about scholarship applications is that your personality and ideas can usually make up for lack of extracurriculars. Nobody wants to read a rehash of your resumé anyway so focus on why the scholarship is important to you and how it will help you achieve specific, detailed goals in your education or career. Take a look at the company website to learn about their values and incorporate them into your application - it'll show that you did your research and put thought into your work. I always like to start my applications with a brainstorm about exactly why THAT scholarship is the one that I want to receive (apart from the funding, of course!)
Last but not least, don't procrastinate.
Although I'm definitely guilty of submitting a few applications at the last minute, I've found that giving myself more time to plan will invariably result in stronger work. Give yourself at least a few days to go from ideas to rough draft to final piece, and avoid the stress of a last minute submission.
On that note, this is your prompt to go find a scholarship and start writing! Let us know if you want to see more content like this in the future at @thementorshipspot or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading this article! If you liked it, consider checking out the other articles on our page and stay tuned for new ones weekly. Did you know we also pair high school students with uni students in their desired program for advice and mentorship? Check out our sign-up page to register as a mentor or mentee today!