How Do Scholarships Work?

Have you ever wondered, “how do scholarships work?” Most students know that scholarships are free money for your education provided by companies or institutions. You might think scholarships are rare and only available to students who have outstanding academic results. But is this really true? Let’s take a look at how scholarships actually work and who is eligible to apply.

How do Scholarships work?

Scholarships are a great resource available to help students pay for their education. Scholarships available to students at colleges and universities are offered for a couple of reasons.

First, school is expensive! A majority of students in Canada graduate in debt and struggle to pay it off for years to come. Scholarships can ease this burden for students and make financing your education manageable. Second, school is tough. Scholarships can provide an incentive for students to keep their grades up and strive for success. By offering scholarships, institutions can improve the experience for students and give them a boost for their life after graduation.

Now to debunk a misconception: scholarships are available for all types of students, not just the top 1% in the class, and different scholarships have different criteria. The eligibility requirements for a scholarship reflect the kind of students the award is intended for.

For example, the Canadian Librarian Association donates a sum of money to students who are studying to become librarians. Why do you think they provide this scholarship? It is because they want to help and encourage students who are studying to become librarians. Companies or associations will often offer scholarships to promote studies in their field.

Most scholarships are offered based on the merit of a candidate. This can include academic achievement, talents in a sport, or any other skill such as leadership or volunteering in the community.  As the main goal of scholarships is to help students pay for their education, financial need is often taken into consideration. However, sometimes scholarships are awarded to students who don’t have high financial need. Often called “elite scholarships”, these only consider academic excellence or extra-curricular success.

Scholarships, Bursaries, & Grants

It is important to know the difference between scholarships, bursaries, and grants. Understanding the difference between these types of financial aid will help answer the question, “how do scholarships work?” It’s easy to get confused about the difference between scholarships, bursaries, and grants. Some students might even think that scholarships, bursaries, and grants represent the same thing. Now we’ll break down the difference to make scholarships, bursaries, and grants crystal clear.

The main difference between scholarships, bursaries, and grants is the way they are offered. Typically, bursaries are offered to students depending on the financial situation of their parent or guardian. Bursaries first take into account your family’s income, so they are there to equalize the playing field for students from lower economic backgrounds.

On the other hand, grants are a kind of financial aid offered based on a student’s ability to pay for their education or how much demand there is in the workforce for professionals with a certain skillset. An example of this would be a grant offered to students studying in a specific medical field due to a shortage of professionals in that field. The grant will motivate more students to complete their studies in that field and then go into practice, filling the shortage of professionals.

Grants can also sometimes be financial aid to support projects done by students or in collaboration with academic faculty. This can include funding a research project or funding work in the community done for university credit in a program. Make sure you to get clarity on what kind of grant it is before you apply.

How to Find Scholarships for You

Now that we know how scholarships work, let’s check out how to apply for scholarships. The easiest way to find the scholarships you are eligible for is to focus your scholarship search on the subject or program you are going to study at your college or university.

As there is a broad range of scholarships available for different fields, you can save yourself some time by deciding on your field and starting from there. After you have decided on the field you are going to study in, it is time for you to pick the universities that you are interested in studying at. Do you want to study at a university in your province? Or do you have your eyes set on some other university out of province?

It’s important to have an idea of where you’ll be studying because scholarships can be university-specific. This means that only students attending the university offering the scholarship are eligible to win the scholarship. Knowing where you’ll be studying is also helpful because some scholarships are restricted to students in a certain province.

When applying for scholarships, it’s also important to know about eligibility requirements other than province and university. Before you start the application process for that scholarship, read the restrictions carefully. Students have limited time as it is, so spending time and energy on a scholarship application that you aren’t even eligible for is a mistake to avoid.

An easier way to find the perfect scholarship for you is to sign up for a program with GrantMe. All you need to do is request a scholarship assessment to find scholarships that match your criteria. We help students save time and energy on scholarship applications so you can focus on being a student.

How to Apply for Scholarships

Now that we’ve answered the question of “how do scholarships work?” and explained how to find the right scholarships for you, we need to know how to apply for scholarships. The most important step to winning a scholarship is creating a spot-on application that provides a snapshot of the unique and successful individual you are.

The application process for winning scholarships could be life-changing for you. Once you’ve found scholarships that you are eligible for, start with the application guide for each specific scholarship. You can usually find this on the scholarship’s website. Study the application guidelines to see what type of student the award is given to and try to find past winners and their applications if possible. When completing your application, be sure to highlight how your values, skills, and ambitions line up with the scholarship.

Now gather the documents you need to provide for your scholarship application. Required documents could include your high school transcripts and other certificates you’ve earned. Some scholarships also consider your parent’s financial situation, so they may ask for a document showing their income.

You might need to create a resume if the scholarship you are applying for requires one. However, the main part of the scholarship application process is the essay you are often required to write to apply for that scholarship. In this essay, you need to make sure that you highlight how different you are from the other candidates and demonstrate how you will use the scholarship to achieve future success. The scholarship committee wants to see students who are committed to the field or cause that the award is dedicated to.

Now, you know how scholarships work, how to find scholarships for you, and how to apply for them! To make the process of finding and applying for a scholarship easier, enrol in one of GrantMe’s game-changing programs for winning scholarships. GrantMe helps eligible students match with scholarships they have the best chances of winning. We also provide sessions with scholarship experts to help you build resumes and write essays to maximizes your chances of winning scholarships.

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