BY C. ABES
If there’s one thing I learned from the process of applying for post-secondary, it’s that life after high school becomes a lot more expensive. The costs just seem to keep popping up! There is, however, a solution that can ease the pain of student debt: scholarships. Finding these scholarships and applying for them though, is easier said than done. A lot of them aren’t really advertised; there were a few opportunities that I missed simply because I didn’t know about them. Never fear though, as after a year of applying (or almost applying) for every scholarship under the fun, I’ve compiled this helpful list:
- Milton Chamber of Commerce: https://www.miltonchamber.ca/about-milton-chamber/scholarship-fund/ The Milton Chamber of Commerce kindly awards one student from each Milton High School $1000. They’re looking for academic merit and community involvement. Application wise, this will be more comprehensive as they require two letters of reference, an essay, and a transcript, so be sure to get those in order well before the deadline.
- Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center: The Wiesenthal Scholarships are perfect for students in the Social Justice SHSM, recognizing students who exemplify the ideals of tolerance, justice, and human rights. Students will receive entrance scholarships of $ 3,600 and are expected to become Ambassadors of Simon Wiesenthal; promoting tolerance in their community and staying involved with the organization. This scholarship requires an 1000 word essay, two letters of reference and a transcript. This was probably the most time-consuming application I filled out, so I’d suggest starting it early!
- Canadian Federation of University Women: The CFUW awards graduating female students from Milton up to $2000. Applicants must demonstrate excellence in academic achievement, and outstanding leadership and citizenship qualities and provide a transcript and short essay.
- School-specific entrance scholarships: Chances are, your university or college will have entrance scholarships that you can apply for. These are usually due in January, so make sure you’re aware of the requirements. You may even be eligible for an entrance scholarship based on your entrance average (usually a minimum of 80 is required), which requires no application. You will be notified if you can receive a scholarship based on marks.
- MDHS: MD itself offers many scholarships that are NOT all based on academic merit (some are awarded based on other factors such as extra curriculars, pathway, etc.) At the beginning of June, Guidance hands out “Brag Sheets” that ask about extracurriculars, your plans for next year, volunteer experiences, etc. Once you’ve filled out the sheet you are eligible to receive a scholarship. The deadline is pretty tight for the Brag Sheet however it takes no time to fill out, so this will be one of the easiest scholarships you apply for.
- Association des Colleges et Universities de la Francaphonie Canadienne: http://www.acufc.ca/bourses-fls ACUFC gives out $5000 bursaries (money you don’t have to pay back) to french immersion students and core french students displaying academic excellence and attending a bilingual university or college. The scholarship also has a volunteer component, requiring the student to complete 45 hours of community service in French at their postsecondary school/surrounding community.
- Loran: The Loran is the most prestigious scholarship, offering scholarships of up to $100,000. There are two ways to apply– either as a direct pool application (without school sponsorship, or as a school sponsored applicant. Applicants are selected from both pools, however there’s a better chance of attending regionals if you’re sponsored by the school. Similarly, a school contact will be able to vouch for your academic excellence if you’re sponsored by the school. Keep in mind that each high school is eligible to sponsor up to 3 students, so contact guidance regarding the scholarship ASAP.
- Parent’s work scholarships: Some employers will provide scholarships to children of employees going into post secondary. Ask your parents if there are any opportunities for you!
- MDHS Guidance: The Guidance office always has little-known scholarships listed. Check periodically in the scholarship folder, or better yet, friend MDHS Guidance on facebook, so you don’t miss out on any chances!
Some other tips:
- If you need a reference from a teacher, give ample notice. Asking them two weeks before the scholarship is due is ideal, to ensure they have time and no one feels stressed.Teachers will be more inclined to say nice things about you if you don’t put them on the spot for a tight deadline.
- Always take into account the time it may take to mail an application (if it cannot be submitted electronically). This may mean you have to have it done sooner than you think.
- Once you apply for one scholarship, make sure you save the application for future use. Many applications require relatively the same info (community involvement, list of achievements, etc.) and you can reuse anything you’ve already written. It makes applying less tedious.
- Apply as early as possible so as to avoid stress (you’ll have enough of that to deal with being in Grade 12)
- Always dig for scholarships! Although my list is pretty comprehensive, I’m sure I’ve missed a couple of things. Search for scholarships that are specific to your interests and experiences as you never know what’s out there. As to how you do your research, I encourage you to skip search engines like ScholarshipsCan as it’s not particularly effective at filtering results and you’ll sift through a lot of irrelevant hits. Google will be your best friend in the pursuit of
On a final note, it’s never too early to start looking for scholarships, however don’t let them consume your free time. It isn’t the end of the world if you don’t get anything; there’s a wonderful thing called OSAP that can probably still cover some expenses. Most of all, don’t stress– you’ll be just fine.