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Frequently Asked Questions: Scholarship Eligibility

Who is eligible for scholarships?
There's a scholarship out there for everyone. They are awarded at all levels for students of all disciplines and backgrounds. Some you may have to apply for, while others you may automatically be considered for. The criteria for these awards vary. Academic achievement is not always mandatory for eligibility. Often, students who participate in school or community activities can win scholarships based largely on their extra curricular involvement. Likewise, students with specific talents, hobbies, ethnic backgrounds or family affiliations can meet award qualifications.

Do you need to meet all the eligibility requirements in order to be eligible for a scholarship?
Eligibility requirements vary depending on the type of students for which that the scholarship administrator is seeking applications. It is best to read over the eligibility requirements and to decide if there are any areas which do not apply to you entirely, apply to you partially, and apply to you entirely. For example, if you're not a visible minority, then you would be ineligible for a scholarship that indicates you need to be a visible minority to apply. However, if a scholarship eligibility requirement is to have experience with community service or be a leader in your community, you may not feel that you've clocked in enough hours of community service or have strong enough leadership skills to qualify, but if you can take the experiences you do have and turn them into a strong experience that shows community service and leadership skills, then you're on the right track.

Will my grade 12 average effect my scholarship eligibility or application?
Your scholarship eligibility will depend on whether the scholarship administrator requires you to have or maintain a specific academic average for your application.

Do scholarship administrators look at grades from both grade 11 and 12, or just the 1st semester of grade 12?
Generally speaking, scholarship administrators with eligibility requirements based on a specific grade, will use your overall grade 12 marks as part of your application. Students who apply early may not know their overall grade 12 average, but as long as you meet the minimum requirements, you will remain eligible for the scholarship. For scholarships with automatic consideration, schools may also look at grade 11 marks to get an idea of your overall academic performance and offer a conditional scholarship. This means that if you accept the school's offer of admission and maintain a certain average (as indicated in the documents you receive), you will receive the scholarship you are being offered. If you do have questions about your scholarship eligibility, the best thing to do is to clarify with the scholarship administrator.

When a scholarship asks for a GPA of 3.0 or 4.0, what percentage mark is that?
Grade Point Average (GPA) is based on a 4 or 5 point scale. A 3.0 or a 4.0 is the same thing as getting a ‘B’ or an ‘A’, which means the scholarship administrator is seeking someone with an overall grade in the 80-90%+ range. There are a number of GPA calculators available on the internet. If you would like more information on how to calculate your GPA, a useful GPA calculator can be found here: If you require further information about your scholarship eligibility, feel free to contact the scholarship administrator for more information.

When you're being considered for a scholarship that is based on your academic performance, will your summer school marks be considered along with your marks in day school?
For scholarships that consider academics, scholarship administrators are looking at your overall GPA. If your summer school marks are included in your GPA score, then yes, those marks will be considered when applying for scholarships. Some scholarships will require you to submit a transcript of your grades, which means that the scholarship administrator will be able to take all your courses into consideration. If you have more questions in relation to your scholarship eligibility, be sure to contact the scholarship administrator for details.

Can you apply for certain university or college scholarships without accepting their offer?
You can apply for any scholarship available for certain universities or colleges. However, only registered students can win the scholarships. Often scholarships offered by schools are awarded upon enrollment and may come as a form of tuition credit. If you do not plan to accept an offer at a particular school, then it would be advisable to spend your time focusing on scholarships offered by the schools you do want to attend.

Can you apply for scholarships only after you've been accepted to the university?
Yes - Many of the scholarships listed on are for students already attending university. There are scholarships available during all stages of your academic career.

If we don't know what school we want to go to, does that affect what scholarships we can apply to?
Not necessarily - You can still perform searches based on the field of study you are looking to go in to, or by other factors like cultural background, extra curricular activities, affiliations, special needs, etc. Generally only scholarships offered by schools require you to know which school you would like to attend.

Are scholarships with automatic consideration generally offered in your acceptance letter from a university or college?
Yes, that's correct; generally speaking, scholarships with automatic consideration are notified to you in your acceptance letters. Sometimes due to marks and such being finalized, you may be notified afterwards of additional scholarships or changes to your scholarship eligibility.

What conditions are required for scholarships with automatic consideration?
The conditions for automatic consideration scholarships vary by school. If you've applied to a school, you'll be considered for the automatic consideration scholarships at the time of your application. If you do have any questions about your eligibility for a particular scholarship, regardless of whether it requires you to submit an application, feel free to contact the school's Scholarship and Awards Department for more information.

If I'm not in my last year of high school and won't be graduating next year, can I still apply for scholarships?
Most scholarships are for post-secondary education, so you would be ineligible for many scholarships at this time. However, the earlier you begin your scholarship search, the more research and preparation you're able to do in order to apply for scholarships in your graduating year.

Do the universities look at the kind of high school you were in?
That's a difficult question to answer, in terms of receiving a scholarship, universities do not look at which high school you attended. In cases where the region your high school is located, or the name of your high school is a requirement, it would be noted in eligibility requirements of the scholarship profile.

Do you need to have a lot of community hours to apply for a scholarship?
Definitely not! There are scholarships available for different programs/fields of study, interests, clubs, etc.

Are there scholarships for my field of interest, field of study, or career of interest?
Yes - You can do a scholarship search by field of study on and find relevant awards based on your field of interest, field of study or career of interest.

Can you apply for a scholarship that doesn't have to do with your field of study?
Yes - Some scholarships are based on your school of study, cultural background, affiliation, community service, special needs, etc. There are also scholarships that do not require you to be studying at a particular school or field of study.

Are there scholarships for students based on their heritage or background?
Yes, there are scholarships for students based on ethnic background. Filling out a scholarship search profile is a great way to be matched with these scholarships.

Are there scholarships dealing with work experience? 
Some scholarships require leadership skills; you may be able to promote the leadership abilities you've practiced in your work experience. Depending on where you are working, some organizations offer scholarships (or your parents' company may have scholarships, too) Remember it never hurts to ask the people you know if they know where to find scholarships!

Are there scholarships that are based solely on a hard life?
Yes, there are scholarships for students in financial need, but nothing specifically for a hard life.

What is the average income for scholarships and bursaries based on financial need?
Financial need eligibility will depend on the scholarship provider. You may be asked to declare your ability to pay your tuition based around your household income levels, living situation, etc. Contacting the scholarship administrator would be a great way to understand what they are looking for from applicants who indicate themselves to be in financial need.

I’ve looked through Scholarships Canada and cannot find any scholarships that are right for me. I’m not in that much financial need, but I’m just looking for help so I don’t have a lot of student debt.
Make sure all the fields in your scholarship search profile are filled out correctly. Since there are scholarships available for students attending any school or any field of study, there are a variety of scholarships for which you can apply. Remember to not discount smaller scholarships as it is possible to win multiple scholarships and use different ones to pay for your education.

I have been focusing a lot on my academics to maintain a high average. I have not found the time to participate in many clubs or activities within my community. What do you recommend I do for my scholarship search?
Maintaining a high average is great for scholarships that are for automatic consideration. For other scholarships which may require you to be active in your community, you can take your experiences from your involvement in clubs and activities and write about them in your application.

Do you need to participate in activities with an official organization (volunteer organization, club, team, etc.) to be eligible for a scholarship, or are other hobbies/pastimes good to show our interests?
There are scholarships based on specific activities as well as certain hobbies. Not all scholarships require you to be a member or have a relative who participated in a particular organization.

If you're not really involved with the community but still do well in sports and academics, are you able to stand out as well as others that are involved in their community?
Of course! There are different types of scholarships for different people, so you do not need to have a lot of community involvement in order to be eligible for a scholarship. The scholarship administrator's eligibility guidelines are a great starting point for you to figure out which scholarships you are eligible to apply. In many cases when there is an essay component involved, it is in this component where you can tell the scholarship administrator what makes YOU stand out from all the other applicants.

I have lived in Canada for three years and am in the process of applying for citizenship, but have not received it yet. Should I be considering international or Canadian citizen scholarships?
Consider both. There is over $71M worth of scholarships that do not require a specific type of citizenship. Unless the scholarship administrator specifically states that their scholarship is only open to Canadian citizens, you can apply to either.

Many of the awards seem to require essays or other application information about community involvement. How many do not require these?
Only 13% of scholarships on require some aspect of community involvement. For essays, often scholarship administrators ask similar questions, so it's a good idea to have a template to work with in your applications. If you are applying to many scholarships or similar scholarships year to year, you can reuse your for other scholarship applications and simply make small tweaks to it so that it works with your application.

What's the best way to research what scholarships you might be eligible for?
You can always start by checking! You can also try searching school and corporate websites as they usually have a listing of scholarship(s) that they have. Talking to your guidance counsellor about scholarship opportunities would also help you, too.
Modified on January 25, 2012

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