Frequently Asked Questions: Scholarship Applications
Who can help me find more scholarship information?
There's lots of help out there, if you know who to ask.
If you're in high school, make an appointment with your guidance counsellor, or reach out to the financial aid department of the schools you're considering.
If you're a post-secondary student, check in with your financial aid office, or even your faculty or department directly.
Don't be shy about asking for help. That's what these folks are there for!
Does applying for a scholarship earlier than the deadline help me?
Unfortunately there's no benefit to submitting early. The important thing is getting your full application in before the deadline. Scholarship admins have to review every submission, but they may not do so in order of receipt. Focus on a complete, comprehensive application, rather than an early one.
How much effort should I put into my application essay?
Well, as much as you can, of course. You'll get into the flow of the process the more you write and apply. You may even be able to use a previous application as a template for your next. The key is to give each essay your all. After all, you want to win money here!
Do I have to write an essay for every scholarship I apply to?
No, not at all. In fact, most scholarships don't have an essay component at all. Read the instructions carefully, as each is different.
Do scholarship administrators care about spelling and grammar in my essay?
Yes, correct spelling and grammar are important. Your ideas are easier to convey and understand when written clearly, and you want to show the admin that you took the time to produce a quality piece of writing. Copious spelling and grammar errors send the opposite message.
Is it okay to re-use a scholarship application essay?
Yes, you can re-use an essay you wrote. Don't plagiarize someone else, though! And be sure to read and re-read the application instructions, to be sure your work is applicable. You'll probably need to tweak some details to make everything fit.
Is there a limit to the amount of awards I can apply for?
Not at all. You should apply for as many as you can stand, and then some.
How do I get a scholarship?
Apply — it's that simple! Many students assume they won't win, and so they don't apply. Many scholarships go unclaimed every year. Once you've figured out the scholarships you qualify for, start applying. You'll probably hear back from the award admin before you know it.
Are the chances of winning higher if I work hard and apply to lots of awards?
Absolutely. The better your work, and the more awards you apply for, the more funding you'll receive. Easy!
How do I contact a scholarship administrator?
At the bottom of each listing on ScholarshipsCanada.com is contact info for students. Usually this will be an email, but it might be a physical address or phone number.
Should I apply for awards directly or go through my guidance counsellor's office?
Apply directly. If you have a question you can't resolve, and you can't get in touch with the admin, try your counsellor's office. They may have more info they can share.
When do most scholarships become available?
All year long! Many awards go along with the post-secondary school year, but far from all. Check out ScholarshipsCanada.com frequently for new awards and upcoming deadlines.
Who should I ask for a reference letter?
Only ask someone who knows you well, and has for an extended period. Teachers, guidance counsellors, coaches and religious figures are all good choices. Some awards will want to hear from particular people, so check the requirements. You may be asked to provide a professional reference and a personal one. Use your judgment on who to ask for each.
Do scholarship applications always require a reference letter?
No. Most don't, in fact, but it's a good idea to have a few in your back pocket for future applications and job interviews.
Are old reference letters okay or do they need to be recent?
Recent is always better. Within a few months of your application is acceptable. Otherwise, your skills and experience may have changed. Think of the letter as an extra vote of support for your application. Don't make the scholarship admin wonder why your letter is several years old!
How do I apply for an award marked "automatic consideration"?
Trick question — you don't have to apply at all. Just by being a current student, you're automatically considered for the award!
What's the most common requirement for scholarships? An essay? Lots of community volunteer hours?
Requirements vary widely. Your best bet is to identify your strengths and skills, and promote them in your application as best you can. There is no "most common" requirement — browse the database and you'll see all sorts.
Should I start applying for awards in December of grade 12?
Start as soon as you can. Earlier, if possible, as in December you'll be thinking about exams and holidays. Many awards have recurring deadlines, meaning if you've missed the boat this year, you can try again next year.
How do I apply if I don't know where I want to go or what I want to study?
Check out the different types of awards available. Something might catch your eye and sway you one way or another. See what's on offer for your fields of interest. Try different combinations of interests on your ScholarshipsCanada.com profile to see what you can find.
Should I apply directly through ScholarshipsCanada or through my school?
The listing will state where you should apply. Typically, it's the school, but if the requirements state otherwise, follow them. There will be a link to apply on the listing regardless.
How much time should I put into my applications?
This is totally up to you, but the more the better. You get out what you put in. Give yourself a week or two before the deadline to get everything ready.
How should I set up my schedule so I complete my applications?
Leave lots of time. More than you expect. Keep a calendar with your deadlines near your desk. Better still, sign up for Scholarship Deadline Alerts from ScholarshipsCanada.com. That way you'll get a monthly email when deadlines are nearing.
Should I only apply to awards from the school I'm attending?
There are many awards from non-educational providers, and those are fine to apply to. Don't apply to awards from one school if you're attending another, though!
How can I find awards that aren't well advertised?
Other than checking your matches on ScholarshipsCanada.com, let people know that you're searching for awards. Guidance counsellors, volunteer co-ordinators, friends and relatives — you never know who will have a surprising connection. Some awards may require you or a relative be a member of an organization or assocation — time to network!
I have another question about scholarship applications that isn't addressed here.
Check out the other frequently asked questions on ScholarshipsCanada. If you're still stumped, reach out and ask us directly. We may even include your question on this page in the future!