How to plan ahead while applying for scholarships as a student

Aidan D’Souza, who is 23 years old, has been a student mentor in Toronto for the previous four years while also attending classes part-time.

He assists students in adjusting to their first year of college while working with Seneca College’s mentor program, SMILE (Student Mentoring in Life and Education). That includes assisting them in obtaining financial aid.

According to D’Souza, students who obtain scholarships are able to devote more time to studying and less time to working to pay for their tuition and living expenses.

Even though many of these scholarships appear to be competitive, students frequently disqualify themselves and decide not to apply.

Many post-secondary institutions provide plenty of financial help to students, but either they are unaware of these opportunities or don’t take the time to complete the application, according to D’Souza.

“Qualifications for financial support are based on financial necessity for students to help pay for their education, not only grades or leadership activities,” he continued. “I have witnessed domestic students virtually having their whole post-secondary tuition paid for through financial help.”

D’Souza got a $2,000 prize from the 2021 Foresters Competitive Scholarship last year to aid with his tuition as compensation for his different service activities.

The eleven scholarships that Sandy Yong, the author of “The Money Master,” received between 2005 and 2009 for a combined sum of more than $10,000, allowed her to cover more than half of her undergraduate tuition. Soon after graduation, she used the money she had earned from jobs she had worked throughout the academic year and the summer to pay off the remaining debt on her student loans.

Yong would look into the scholarships granted by her school’s hospitality and tourism department for each year of study and compile a list of those for which she was eligible.

The requirement to submit a brief essay or written statement was frequent. Applying just took a few hours, and since I often won $1,000, it was time well spent, according to the applicant.

“You definitely have an edge when applying for scholarships if you are a student who consistently makes the honor roll. However, judges frequently also take into account your extracurricular activities, professional experience, and industry interest.

In addition to checking the scholarship lists for their individual programs, Yong advises students to subscribe to the Student Awards newsletter at

Some big organizations also hold competitions, where it’s doubtful that a strong grade point average (GPA) or an essay will be necessary. Nevertheless, because it’s a random lottery, Yong noted, the competition may be fierce. For instance, wireless provider Fido is presently hosting a $2,500 student prize competition that doesn’t need an essay or a specific GPA.

Prioritize quality over quantity when applying for scholarships, said Yong.

Focus on making your application stand out after you have a shorter list of the ones you think you have a decent chance of winning. Additionally, applying for many scholarships at once may be stressful and time-consuming.

Also, Yong advised against ignoring minor scholarships. Scholarships for $10,000 or more are undoubtedly enticing, but there might be fierce competition.

Young suggested that as an option, since there may be fewer candidates, you apply for many scholarships that pay $1,000 or $2,000 apiece.

“Small prizes may pile up rapidly when you get them frequently.”

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