Why Work When You Can Get Scholarships?

As Teacher Man said in his article about Free Money: Scholarships, Bursaries, and Grants, school is expensive any way you  look at it.  Some of us are lucky to have summer jobs that pay for half of the costs of the upcoming school year, let alone all of it.  So if you are still in highschool, or in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,….or even 5th+ year, there are many scholarships out there that you can apply for!

Applying Is Easy

Most of the time requirements for applying for scholarships are pretty similar to each other.  Sometimes they ask for a small write up on why you feel you deserve the award.  I would just use that write up for multiple scholarships, or simply tweak it a bit.  Every scholarship will have its own little form to fill out and send in.  Many of these can be done online, which will save you time and postage

Get Organized

Start by going out and finding as many scholarships and bursaries as you can.  Once you have a stack of them, do them in order of the deadline date or do the ones you have the best chance of getting.

Places To Find Scholarships Or Bursaries

  1. Online – By far the easiest way to find scholarships, but its also easy for everyone else to find them, see the list below.
  2. Private – Many companies have scholarships that they advertise internally or with their customers.  I do some banking with CIBC and I know they have a few scholarships available for their customers and they sent me a letter asking me to apply for them.
  3. University Student Aid Office – This is where students negotiate their payment options with the university and find ways to get more money from various associations that donate money to the university.  They will have public and private postings of scholarships and bursaries.  This is where you can find some scholarship opportunities that have very specific qualifications (for example: aboriginal decent going into the field of medicine).
  4. Student Union Office – If these people don’t have any scholarships, they can point you in the right direction for finding them.
  5. Automatically – When I applied for student aid I filled out a form stating my financial situation and I wrote a short essay explaining why I was in need of money.  The univeristy gets a budget every year and it includes all kinds of donations for scholarships.  Many of them are allocated according to field of study, year of study, and sometimes ethnicity.  All in all, they wrote me a check for $500.  Not bad for 20 minutes of work!
  6. Bulletin Boards – Many scholarships don’t get advertised at all and just are posted on bulletin boards in certain buildings on campus.
  7. Faculty Office – These are found at the general office.  Every faculty will be connected to its industry and many companies are throwing money towards them to help build their future pool of potential employees and give their corporate image some positive PR.  These scholarships are faculty-specific so it give you much better odds of winning them.

Requirements Are More Of A Guideline…

Scholarships
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Sometimes scholarships will state that you need to have 3.5 GPA or higher to apply… or some other requirement that you don’t quite have.  Apply anyways, save these until you haev already applied for the ones you are qualified for.  Sometimes the requirements are steep and NO ONE applies for them, making it easy for you to get them.  I wouldn’t believe it if I wasn’t told this once by a faculty staff member that was looking for people to apply just so they can use up the free money available to them!  Like many government agencies that have to spend their budget in order to get it slashed for the upcoming year, faculties feel they have to give out these awards or else the donations will stop coming.  You can be the one to benefit for this!

Some Online Resources For Scholarships

Here is a list of websites that I found where you can find thousands of scholarships and burseries.
I’m not going to explain each one, but basically they all have scholarships and bursaries and they have search engines built in to help you find some of the private awards as well.  They all don’t use the “same” search engine so be sure to check them all out.  Also, don’t forget to look on your university website to find their “in house” scholarship search engine.

14 Comments

  1. youngandthrifty

    Ahh! Great and timely post! I had no idea that they would give out scholarships automatically until I got one. I was like “uh… is this a mistake??” it was a nice surprise, certainly.

    Yeah, there’s big (tax free) money out there!

    Thanks for the links, I’ll go and check out if I can score me some more scholarships for school ;)

  2. Melissa

    This is a great list of resources, but I actually disagree with the advice. When I was back in high school, I recall the most valuable scholarship I had an actual chance of getting was an entrance scholarship to the university of my choice, which would have been something like $4000 per year, but only if I graduated high school with an average above 90%. Obviously, I worked my butt off to achieve this, but I was also working a part-time job AND applying to all those scholarships and, honestly, in hind sight, applying to the scholarships, which are so competitive, just wasn’t worth my time. (Yes, that’s right, I finished high school with a 91% average and STILL didn’t win the big name scholarships, though I did get a couple of small ones.) The application process was SO time consuming, it just didn’t seem worth it. It would have been more valuable to me to put the time I spent there into working more hours at my part-time job.

    I’d say, if it only takes a few minutes, then yes, apply to everything, but for the more intense ones, don’t waste your time unless you think you have an actual chance of winning them.

    (That said, this only applies to general undergraduate programs. If we’re talking grants and funding for grad school, you better believe I’d put some serious time into that!)

  3. J.B.

    @Melissa – I hear you with the big scholarships that you find on all of those big sites, however there are some that are quite simple. The ones that I got every year happened to be bursaries. I guess the U of M splits the budget up to different faculties and a pile of committees look over the 2 page form you fill out….Long story short…5 minutes of honest/creative answers and I got myself $500.

    I agree with you for the ones with tons of competition though. My GPA was terrible and the only thing I had going for me was my extra-curricular. So any award focusing on that, I went for instead of the GPA focused ones. Thanks for stopping by.

    Stay tuned for our scholarship application!

    @Y+T – I didn’t know you were still in school. Whatcha in for?

  4. Teacher Man

    Melissa, when you’re applying for scholarships, think quantity over quality. My guess is that you applied for the same scholarships that all of the other A+ students were looking at. Check out my article for tips on where to find specific niches to look for scholarships. Believe it or not, if you go talk to your financial aid office they will tell you that there are thousands of dollars in scholarships that go unclaimed every year, and thousands more claimed by friends of people who work at the financial aid office who just get phone calls to apply for scholarships that there are no applicants for. I had decent marks going through school, but not in the top 10% and I received probably about $15,000 in scholarships, so I know it’s possible!

  5. Brave New Life

    My experience was that I graduated from a school that was $30K/year with only about $10K in student loans due to government and private grants.

    It helped that my family was pretty poor and many of the grants look at your ability to pay as part of the equation.

  6. Teacher Man

    That’s impressive. Learning how to fill out those forms “creatively” (not lying, just presenting yourself in an advantageous way) can really help people.

  7. Tushar Mathur

    If you can over the initial laziness of “Oh man, I don’t like to fill out forms” and if you are not afraid of rejection, you can really benefit.

  8. Ginger

    I don’t know if it is different in Canada but in the US, departments also have scholarships available.

  9. Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

    Parents should be aware that the way money is held can also affect a student’s chances of getting a scholoarship. Did you know that there are life coaches to help with this sort of stuff?

  10. Teacher Man

    Yah, your local bank should have someone to help. There are lots of different ways to present your financial situation depending on what the regulations are in your province.

  11. Tanis

    I don’t think scholarships are tax free. I had to claim income tax for the ones I received.

    Is this different for grants or bursaries?

  12. J.B.

    To be honest I’m not sure how that works either, but when I did my taxes I had to put in my bursary one year. But I’m pretty sure if you get a $500 bursary, you still get $500, not $420 or whatever the government takes…

  13. Teacher Man

    Scholarships are definitely tax free in the vast majority of situations for Canadian students that do not live in Quebec. As long as the scholarship, bursary, or grant is associated with the post-secondary program that you are claiming your education tax credit for (basically this includes almost everyone) then your scholarship money is tax free. You still have to report it as income, but it is not taxed at your marginal rate. For the official, lawyer-approved version here is the relevant tax info.

  14. naanahi

    i want to study in the fields of social science and humanity

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