What Are the Chances of Winning Scholarships?

For students, scholarships can be an opportunity to fund your post-secondary dreams without falling into major student debt. However, you may be wondering, “What are the chances of winning scholarships?” Is it worth all the effort of applying? After helping thousands of students win scholarships, we have some insight into the odds of success.

Unlike entering a lottery or gambling at a casino, scholarships are made for students to succeed. The odds are in your favour. This is made even more true by the fact that all too often, students don’t even take the first step and apply! Millions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed each year—simply because no one applies. So in submitting an application, you’re already ahead of the crowd!

That said, there a few factors that can increase your chances of winning scholarships.

1. Timing

Your chances of winning scholarships are highest during what we call the Scholarship Payoff Period. This is a period of typically six to nine months during your Grade 12 year. At this time, you have a unique opportunity window to win 5-10x more scholarships than in any other year! Start thinking about scholarships as soon as Grade 10 or 11 to be sure you’re ready to take advantage of all the scholarship opportunities in Grade 12. 

2. Academics

Students who have the best chances of winning scholarships are those with high grades. If your grades aren’t that high, don’t worry! There are some scholarships that prioritize your other merit instead, such as your volunteer experience. However, having a strong academic average opens you up to more scholarships and increases your chances. 

3. Volunteer Experience

Scholarships are often based on your leadership skills and volunteerism in the community. Students with the best chances of winning scholarships have diverse involvement in areas like community service, sports, fine arts, and business. More than just having a lot on their resume, they are genuinely passionate about what they do and make a meaningful impact in their community. 

The top-winning students have a good mix of initiator, leader, and member roles. Initiator roles are the highest form of leadership. This can include starting a new club, initiative, or project. Leader roles are anything in which you hold a leader title, such as coach, counsellor, or president. Finally, member roles are when you act as a team member, such as volunteering at a fundraiser or for a soup kitchen. Be sure to have a good mix of these roles to maximize your chances of winning scholarships.

4. Number of Applications

With scholarships, you only get out what you put into it.  The more scholarships you apply for, the higher your chances of winning. Strong writing skills are also a plus. Perfecting what we call the Scholarship Writing Style will help you demonstrate to scholarship committees why you deserve to win and increase your chances. 

So, if you:

  • Apply in Grade 12
  • Have a strong academic average
  • Have diverse volunteer experiences
  • Apply to lots of scholarships

You have the highest chances of winning scholarships!

Be sure to avoid the number one factor that can decrease your chances of winning scholarships: Scholarship Tunnel Vision. Although students typically start applying for scholarships in September of their Grade 12 year, many don’t hear back from the bulk of scholarship committees until May through August. The best thing you can do to increase your chances of winning scholarships is to not get discouraged. Remain process-focused instead of outcome-focused and keep applying. 

To help you stay focused and maximize your chances even more based on a proven process, GrantMe can help. We provide personalized scholarship matches, essay editing, and mentorship from past winners to maximize your scholarship success. Learn more and get started today.

Start Winning Scholarships Today



Get Started

Recent Posts


How to Win University of Toronto…

Recognized as one of the top schools in Canada, the University of Toronto…

Read Article >

How to Win Scholarships Starting in…

If you’re thinking about post-secondary, scholarships should definitely be on your radar. However,…

Read Article >

How Students Can Earn Free Money…

Between tuition, books, and living expenses, most students don’t have much money to…

Read Article >

What students don’t know about scholarships

For students pursuing university, the question of how to pay for it weighs…

Read Article >

The time is now to win…

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy took a hit, bringing…

Read Article >