Ensnaring Scholarships this Summer

By April Sui

A large aspect of pursuing post-secondary education consists of financial commitments. Tuition, textbooks, rent… the costs can pile up. While working a job, taking on student loans and diligent saving will serve you well, obtaining scholarships remains an effective way to pay for school by making the most of your current achievements. In this week’s blog, we take a look at a few crucial elements of consideration when applying for scholarships.

To start off, we need to understand a bit about the basic types of scholarships that are open to post-secondary school students in Canada. In general, scholarships can be categorized into essay-requirement and no essay-requirement groups. For essay scholarships, you are asked to compose a written piece; usually addressing a given prompt, explaining how you are a worthy candidate and/or describing your notable achievements. In non-essay scholarships, you may still be required to provide some evidence of your achievements and worth as an applicant such as documentation of your academic records or volunteer experience.

Next, what should be considered are the accolades that make you stand out as an applicant. A good idea is to evaluate what you have already accomplished. This doesn’t have to be complicated; unless specified, anything from your academic or extracurricular experiences might give you a better chance of winning a scholarship. What is integral is that you are able to explain how this experience or achievement contributed to your growth as a student or individual in context to the demands of the scholarship you are applying for.

For example, you might think of mentioning your long-honed hobbies, such as cooking or playing instruments. Certain scholarships target young individuals with interests in specific areas like the arts and sports, making you a prime candidate. How might learning to cook have improved your independence as an adolescent? What has playing violin given you that you feel is helpful? You can use these activities of personal inclination to describe impacts and changes in your life that have affected you as a student and applicant.

Lastly, it pays to complete the application process for your scholarships in an organized manner. Depending on how many you intend to compete for, you may want to divised an checklist according to the amount of preparation and application deadline of each scholarship. If a scholarship with an earlier due date requires a written essay, you may want to prioritize this over-focusing on one that only asks for academic documents at a later time. In this manner, you will be able to better balance the preparation work with your daily life while also completing the maximum amount of applications before their respective deadlines.

While there is no guarantee in obtaining every single scholarship you apply for, there is an inherent benefit in simply making an honest attempt. After all, they were made to recognize students who commit the effort to pursuing their education and careers. Remember that the team at OYMS is wishing you the best of luck in snagging those scholarships for the 2021–2022 school year!

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and we will be back next week with the series so subscribe to this blog or our newsletter on our website. If you can’t wait until then and would like more information, we recently launched our podcast. Check out our podcast trailer right here.

About the author: April Sui is a first-year student in Medical Sciences at Western University in London Ontario. She’s currently working for Hashtag Health Podcast (based in UWO) and is excited to be onboard with OYMS. Bookworm, origami fanatic and French tutor, you can find her on Instagram @_april.showers or on Facebook.

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Ontario Youth Medical Society

Ontario Youth Medical Society is a student-led, non-profit organization focused on educating youth and making a difference in medicine.