Common Scholarship Questions
Why are scholarships available in the first place?
"Hey Google, define scholarships."
"Scholarships are grants or payments made to support a student's education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievements." - Merriam Webster
Yes, schools and different organizations GIVE YOU FREE MONEY! Why?
- They want to encourage education.
- They want you to come to their school or one-day work for that company!
- There are benefits for an organization to receive tax breaks from the government for philanthropy, but we won't go into that.
Can't I just Google all of these scholarships?
Yes, you can! However, if you have tried to do that, you know it can be overwhelming! There are eligibility criteria to consider then the application process to navigate. Needless to say, it is a lot.
How can GrantMe help?
- You fill out your profile.
- We match specific scholarships and awards that you are eligible for.
- You browse your matches with useful filters and track the ones you want to apply for.
- We support you through the application process.
- You apply and feel great about the process!
Are there scholarships for...
- International students? Yes! Check out our International Student FAQ!
- Newcomers to Canada? Yes!
- Athletes, who are not at a professional level? Yes! Many associations or clubs award student-athletes.
- Students with mental or physical health issues? Yes! There are specific opportunities that exist for students with mental illness, chronic illness, disabilities, and other specific considerations.
- Students currently in gap year? Yes!
Is it possible to get a full scholarship to cover my entire education?
Yes! Universities and other organizations offer top scholarships that cover your whole education. However, it's important to note that they're exceptionally rare and competitive. By all means, apply for them, but don't discount smaller awards too! Smaller awards can add up as well as take advantage of government support.
The most efficient way to address this is a financial plan to fund your education.
Student Loan (we can help teach you how to manage this!) + bursaries + scholarships + savings = education fund!
Wait, what's the difference between a scholarship and a bursary?
Bursaries are based on financial needs. Applying to a bursary may require you to fill out a form about your income or family's finances. Alternatively, you might just need to write a personal statement or essay describing your financial need.
Scholarships, on the other hand, are based on merit. They're given for all sorts of reasons! This may include financial need, your academic average, community leadership, heritage, the field of study, and so on.
All these applications need an essay. Do I have to be an amazing writer then?
Not at all! Scholarships are awarded to all sorts of people! Some scholarships don't even include an essay component. Of course, clear writing is an important life skill, so take a chance and apply even if you doubt your abilities. If nothing else, you'll learn something, and practice makes perfect!
If you're at your wit's end, GrantMe is here for you! We offer editing services, essay templates and access to winning essays! We will give you all the tools! You just need to get started!
Okay... But are there scholarships that are purely based on academics without the essays?
Yes, there are! Some entrance awards or scholarships do not require any written components and just need an application. Make sure to take a look at your matches and use filters in the platform for those days when writer's block is too much!
From there, how do I know what I should tackle first?
We label your matches for you. This way, you know which applications you should tackle. (Hint: It should be premium matches!)
Um... I don't think I am eligible for this scholarship...
If you are 80% (or less) sure that you are not eligible for an award or scholarship, talk to us! Jump on live chat or e-mail us and ask one of our Student Success Specialists for help to determine your eligibility.
If you are 81% (or more) sure that you are not eligible for an award of scholarship, first, check your matching criteria to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date!
It may also be that our information on the scholarship has not yet been updated to reflect the current year. Criteria for certain scholarships can change year to year. If the scholarship is not yet open, we have to match based on the previous year's criteria. If we have out-of-date criteria in our Scholarship Matching App, please report the issue to us!
Before you apply for a scholarship, always double-check the criteria on their website to make sure you qualify!
I am not confident in applying for this scholarship...
We feel you... Starting the scholarship process and writing your first scholarship essays can feel a bit daunting. But GrantMe is here to support you and your strengths to your advantage!
Remember to have confidence in the leadership roles you've had! Most scholarship that exists will likely require you to discuss your leadership or volunteer experience to some extent. The idea is to shape those roles into an essay to make them impactful to the reader. This is where GrantMe can help!
If you are unsure what to write in your essay, do your best to approach the topic and share any questions you have with our editing team. Our editors will do their best to address your concern and provide solutions to improve and refine your essay!
You can do this by adding a comment to your Google Doc and submitting it for editing through the app. Make sure you always include the essay prompt at the top of the page so your editor can give you the best advice possible!
When a scholarship asks a specific question that is not related to your community involvement or leadership, you still want to try and make a connection to the way you have given back to your community. When in doubt, use our essay template builder located on the platform! Once you have completed your first draft, send it to our editing team so we can help make your essay stand out.
I want to apply!
Great! Make sure to check the "Application Requirements" and start gathering the necessary documents.
Most scholarship website also includes contact information so you can also reach out via email or phone to the scholarship committee. This will be the best place to ask questions regarding specific scholarship questions and if you are having technical difficulties.
Application: A basic document that you will need to fill out. It will ask for your basic information along with other qualifying questions.
Essay: Typically written about a specific topic. Make sure your personality and passion shine through your essay! Pro-tip: If a scholarship requires an essay that is 1,000 words in length, make sure to come as close to 1,000 words as possible without going over that limit.
Other Requirements: This typically means a creative piece (video, artwork, etc.)
References: Letter(s) from professional connections who can talk about your characteristics and why you are an asset to the club or team or school.
Transcripts: An official or unofficial record of your grades.
What if the scholarship application is asking for proof of enrollment or acceptance?
This could be:
- Your university acceptance letter
- Your university timetable
- A screenshot of your tuition deposit
- An official letter from your university. (This can sometimes be downloaded from your student login with the university that you applied for.)
Try to look on the scholarship website or contact them directly for more specific information about what will suffice as proof for them!
If you have not yet received any admissions offers, sometimes you can also send them a screenshot confirming that you applied or paid an application fee to provide proof that you intend to attend school before submitting more official proof of enrollment later.
Either way, it's best to check with the scholarship committee to make sure you submit the right documentation!
Most of the largest scholarships in Canada are provided by specific universities. However, there are three top scholarships in Canada that almost any student can apply to!
- Schulich Leader Scholarship ($80,000 - $100,000)
This scholarship is offered to 100 students across Canada pursuing studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Engineering students can win $100,000, while students pursuing science, tech, or math degrees can receive $80,000. If you have a vision for the future of STEM and have demonstrated passion for the field (i.e., community work, projects, etc.), this award is for you!
- Loran Award ($100,000)
Not only does the Loran Scholars Foundation pay for tuition, but they also provide summer internships, a mentorship program, and an extensive network of leaders! Every year, 36 students across Canada are chosen to receive this prestigious award that recognizes community service and leadership.
- TD Scholarship for Community Leadership ($70,000)
The TD Scholarship recognizes 20 students across Canada who demonstrate consistent and outstanding dedication to solving a community problem or making their community a better place. Valued at up to $70,000, the TD Scholarship funds tuition and living expenses for four years! Winners also receive summer employment opportunities, mentorship, and networking.
We regularly have students in our programs win these awards, so we have a lot of experience with their essays and interview process! Students usually find out they're a recipient around February to April because their applications are usually due in October, November, and December. Who knows! You could be the next recipient of these scholarships!
What increases my chances of winning scholarships?
After working with thousands of students, we found five distinguishing characteristics that separate scholarship winners from everybody else!
1. Diverse Volunteer and Extracurricular Activities
Diverse activities show that students are involved and engaged in their communities. Community involvement can include:
- Volunteering in the community
- Entrepreneurship & Business
- Arts, Music, & Performance
- Extra school involvement (e.g. clubs, tutoring, etc.)
Students who excel usually invest in at least two of these areas. This diversifies their scholarship or application story and makes them stand out to a committee.
You also want to have a good mix of Initiator, Leader, and Member roles. Learn more about what these are and how to estimate your scholarship success with them here!
Does this sound like you? Ask yourself: Does my profile and resume look like I only focus on one thing?
2. Passionate Involvement
More isn't always better. Consider what you truly love and where you make your maximum impact. Focused engagement is better than just ticking boxes by doing it all. Having deep, meaningful stories also enhances your essay.
Ask yourself: Am I passionate about my volunteer involvements and extracurriculars?
3. Strong Academics
It's no surprise that students with strong academics do better than students with weaker academics. Strong academics help with your post-secondary admission and entrance scholarships, as they are usually tied to your application to college or university. Bottom line: the higher your mark, the more money you can win.
Students who win entrance scholarships to universities definitely have a GPA above 90%. We coach students to aim for at least 92% to increase their chances of winning.
For current university students, a competitive GPA is usually 75% or higher.
Ask yourself: What can I do to boost my GPA?
4. Strong Writing Skills
Since most scholarships include some sort of written application, your ability to write is critical to your success. The main skill required to win scholarships and get into the school of your choice is understanding the Scholarship Writing Style.
Similar to business writing, the Scholarship Writing Style is clear, compelling, and professional. It also requires you to be self-reflective, open, and authentic. This is a different skill than what is typically taught in high schools. Since very few students master this skill, the ones who do stand out above everyone else.
As with all skills, writing takes practice. Our program comes with the recommendation that students write five scholarship essays to hone their writing skills. Each of these essays undergoes rigorous edits and helpful feedback. It may be tiring and time-consuming, but there is a direct correlation between this practice and better performance in scholarship awards! Start practicing good writing habits today for a brighter tomorrow!
Ask yourself: How much have I practiced writing my scholarship essays?
5. TAKING ACTION!
Students who win have a can-do attitude. This positivity is improved as we coach them through the process. It helps to understand that there are $8.2 million of unclaimed scholarships each year in Canada. You are eligible for this money! If you never fill out an application, you will never win. More applications increase your chances. GrantMe is here to guide you through this whole process, A-Z.
Ask yourself: Have I taken enough action to win scholarships?
There's no mystery to winning scholarships and getting into your first-choice school. If you have these five traits, you’ve got a way better chance. If you've identified weaknesses in any of these five areas, tap into some of your unlimited potentials and hone these skills!
What are my odds of winning scholarships?
Unlike entering a lottery or gambling at a casino, scholarships are made for students to succeed. The odds are in your favour. This is made even more true by the fact that all too often, students don’t even take the first step and apply! Millions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed each year simply because no one applies. So in submitting an application, you’re already ahead of the crowd!
That said, it still remains impossible to exactly predict your odds of winning scholarships. You can’t directly control luck, but you can move from a game with low odds of success to a game with better odds. That seems like an obvious strategy, and you probably think you already did it. The difficult part is figuring out the odds of any given game, and that’s harder than it looks.
One game with low odds is gambling. One time, we had a talk to our students and asked, “What will happen if you go to the casino and play the slot machines long enough?” Almost in unison, they all yelled, “Win!” But if you look at a casino, the odds are against the gambler and for the casino. Yes, the casino loses money on the odd player, but over time and after millions of gamblers walk through the door, the casino always wins.
On the other hand, scholarships are a game with good odds. The more applications you submit, the higher your chances of winning. However, you have to persevere through the entirety of the Scholarship Payoff Period to see results!
Understand that you're playing a game with great odds and that if you keep applying, you're guaranteed success! This will help you stay process-focused and win scholarships.
I have another question about scholarships that was not addressed here.
If you have read through our FAQ and you are still stumped, reach out and ask us directly! You can send us an email at [email protected]. We may even include your question on this page in the future!