Here’s a list of useful tips to help you find some real money to put towards your education.
Finding, applying and winning scholarships isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be rolling in it, debt free and living their best university life!
Because it’s not the easiest thing in the world, I’ve put together this list of useful tips to help you find some real money that you can put towards your education.
1. Get Motivated
The first step to finding money to help pay for your university education is all about YOU. The will and the motivation to take the time to search and apply for awards needs to come from within YOU. Yes, I know this sounds incredibly cheesy, but it’s true. No one can do this for you. You have to be willing to put in the effort and the hours if you want to win money for school.
No ifs, ands or buts about it, that’s just how it goes.
But, try looking at it like this, as it might help put things into perspective … the cost of tuition each year for attending a university in Canada averages somewhere between $12,000 to $16,000. That’s a lot of money. Do you have that lying around?
Didn’t think so.
Your options are to take out a loan (which you’ll still have to pay back), work during school, or find scholarships. Which of those sounds like the best option?
An hour of working at Tim Horton’s earns you $14.00, but an hour of applying for scholarships could earn you $5,000. Use your time where it’s going to be most valuable to you.
2. Budget Your Time Effectively
Okay, so you’re amped up to apply for scholarships. Awesome! Now, it’s important to budget some time in your week to actually search and apply for them.
The truth is that finding the best scholarships for you is time consuming. The more effort you put into searching and applying for awards, the less competition you’ll face.
Having to put effort into applications, and the time involved in writing an essay or gathering reference letters, puts off a lot of people from applying. Don’t be one of those people. Try to budget at least three hours a week towards searching and applying for awards and you’ll be way ahead of the pack.
3. Contact your Financial Aid Office
Okay, so this might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of people that don’t actually do this.
If you’re still in high school, you’ll want to set up a meeting with your guidance counsellor. If you’re about to graduate from high school or are already attending post-secondary, and want to know about funding opportunities at a college or university, you can contact the financial aid office.
These offices are set up for the sole purpose of helping you find financial aid, so take advantage of their services. They may be aware of awards and funding that you otherwise wouldn’t know about, so it’s good to go and chat with them! It might really pay off!
4. ScholarshipsCanada is Your Best Friend
ScholarshipsCanada is another great resource out there to help you find funding for your education. The best part? You can search for scholarships in your PJs at home!
The site has two helpful features that will help you find the right scholarships. The first, is that you can create a free profile, and based on the information you share in your profile, ScholarshipsCanada will generate a list of matching scholarships and awards for you!
The second feature is the refine search tool. This will allow you to narrow your search based on the type of degree you’re looking to earn, the year of study you’re in, your academic average, and more! If you find some awards that look like they may be worth applying to, you can add them to your dashboard to easily find and apply later!
5. Understand the Requirements
Remember when I said to use your time where it’s going to be most valuable to you? That’s exactly what this is about. Don’t spend your time applying to awards that you’re not actually eligible for.
You might be sitting there thinking, “duh, obviously”, but we see so many award applications from people who have absolutely no business applying for that award! Don’t let that be you.
Read the eligibility requirements very carefully. If you’re not sure about the meaning of one of the requirements, or not sure if it applies to you, ask the award administrator. It only takes a few minutes to ask questions versus hours to write an essay for an award you can’t win.
6. Don’t Forget About the Smaller Awards
Okay, so obviously winning $10,000 is much more appealing than winning $2,000. I get that. But I’m also pretty sure that everyone else agrees. That’s the problem. Everyone wants that $10,000 award, and not the $2,000 award.
Any award with a high value prize is going to be extremely competitive, making it a lot less likely that you’ll have a chance at winning. This is where it becomes important to go for the smaller awards. You’ll have a lot higher chance of winning, which means that the effort you put into applying will be rewarded.
If you apply to many small awards, you’ll have a higher chance of winning a few of them. So, apply to 20 awards worth $2,000, win five and receive $10,000; or apply to one $10,000 award and win nothing. The path to success is pretty clear.
7. Be Persistent and Don’t Give Up
The key to succeeding at anything in life is persistence! (Look at all the great life lessons you’re learning by reading this article!) The same goes for applying to scholarships. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t win the first three, five or ten awards that you apply for! Keep trying and eventually the hard work will pay off.
It’s also important to note that new scholarships and awards come up throughout the year! Keep checking for new awards during the year; you never know what you might miss out on if you don’t.
I wish you the best of luck in your scholarship search. Whatever you do, don’t give up! Success comes to those who work hard!
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