eg: Memorial Scholarship
eg: Accounting, Nursing, Computer Science
eg: University of Toronto
eg: National Union
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Small Scholarships, Big Rewards

Less competition and other good reasons to apply for smaller awards.

Two stylishly-lit stacks of coins featuring cute translucent piggies standing atop them, remiding you that good things come in small packages, and small scholarships are absolutely worth your time to apply.

The big leagues

When you're applying for scholarships, you want to get the best bang for your buck. Or rather, the best bucks for your efforts. It can be time-consuming to find, research, and apply for award after award. No wonder so many students gravitate toward the TD Community Leadership and Loran Scholar awards — the chance at a single, huge payout.

Alas, those gigantic awards have a lot of competition. Some of the best and brightest across the country will apply and go through a rigorous selection process to win. Still, most of the thousands of applicants will go home empty-handed.

Smaller awards means less competition

Luckily, good things come in small packages. Lots of students turn up their noses at scholarships of "only" $500, like the STEM Lights Me Up Scholarship. But think: that $500 will cover half your books for the year, and there will be way less competition to win. When the price of admission is a short essay and application form, what have you got to lose? Add another $500 award — like, say, the Unlock your Future scholarship, and suddenly all your books are covered, and you've got $1,000 less in debt.

Shorter submissions mean more time to apply

Smaller scholarships typically have shorter application forms and less strict criteria for eligibility than something major like the Schulich Leader Scholarships, so chances are good that you'll not only qualify, but be able to apply quickly. (Of course, you'll have to put a little effort in. No one wants to receive a sloppy application.)

Because many of these applications are short, you'll likely have time to apply to a lot of them. Sure, the AIA Arthur Paulin Award seeks both a cover and a reference letter, but that's easy enough, and the Senator James Gladstone Memorial Scholarship only has a two-page form to fill out. Easy! The Rod 'Stu' Stuart Memorial Bursary looks only at your financial need and a statement of merit. Or how about the No Strings Attached Community Band award? $100 for a skilled performer on woodwind, brass, or percussion. That's the price of a textbook right there!

Don't let money go unclaimed

Did you know that millions of dollars in scholarship money goes unclaimed every year because students don't apply? Crazy, right? Who knows — for a given award, you might be the only applicant, and win by default! Of course, you'll never know unless you try. So don't be a scholarship snob: apply for smaller awards for a better chance at winning.

Now go out there and get that money, one dollar at a time!

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Modified on February 07, 2020

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