What students don’t know about scholarships

For students pursuing university, the question of how to pay for it weighs heavily. Most students know that student loan debt is a huge problem. The average Canadian student graduates with over $26,000 in debt after a four-year program. Scholarships, bursaries, and grants are all great alternatives to funding your post-secondary education. However, there’s much that students don’t know about scholarships that could help them graduate debt-free. 

Millions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed every year

The first fact students don’t know about scholarships is the sheer amount available. Current estimates say that millions of dollars in scholarships don’t get in the hands of students. The reason is often simply that no students apply! There are many types of scholarships. Scholarships can be offered by your university or college, high school, school district, province, or even organizations you have an affiliation with such as your parents’ workplace! Look for scholarships in your community and apply, even if you don’t think you’re the best match to their criteria. Sometimes you might still be the best candidate that simply takes the first step and applies!

You don’t have to be a prodigy or a star athlete to win scholarships

When asked why they didn’t apply for scholarships in high school, many students say it’s because they didn’t think they were eligible. There’s a common misconception that scholarships are only for students with incredible GPAs or semi-professional athletic experience. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are scholarships for every kind of student. 

What many students don’t know about scholarships is that they’re merit-based, meaning they’re awarded based on your achievement in a specific area. This could be academics or athletics, but also volunteer involvements, arts, and more. Find something you’re passionate about—whether that’s climate change or choir—and seek opportunities to get involved with your community. 

Many scholarships are also reserved for students with specific life experiences. This could include membership within a specific group—such as the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund—or overcoming specific adversity, like the Childhood Cancer Canada Survivor Scholarship!

Whatever your experiences or passion, there are scholarships out there for you.

You can win scholarships at every stage of your education

Once students realize all the benefits of scholarships, they often fear that they’re already too late to win any. The absolute best time to win scholarships is in your Grade 12 year. During this period, you have a unique opportunity window to win 5-10 times more scholarships than in any other year. 

However, your journey doesn’t have to start or stop there. What students don’t know about scholarships is that they’re available for all levels of education. Whether you’re in Grade 10 or graduate school, there are scholarships that you can apply for. 

Debt doesn’t have to be inevitable for students. Scholarships can help you avoid student loans and start your career on even footing. The time is always right to start taking control of your future. 

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