Over half of the Canadian population between the ages of 25 and 64 years old have a college degree. That number continues to go up every year as administrations aim to make college more accessible and as degrees become more important domestically and abroad.
Just because going to school is getting easier though doesn’t mean that getting an education is outright simple.
One of the primary barriers of entry is cost. While Canada boasts a number of affordable schooling options, depending on your location and your living situation, college expenses can still be burdensome.
College scholarships can help you through that issue but where should you start searching for them?
This post outlines helpful search tips that you can leverage in order to make your scholarship hunt more streamlined and fruitful.
1. Look For Scholarships Offered Campus-Wide
Depending on the university that you’re applying to, there may be scholarships that are offered to all attending and prospective students. These scholarships tend to be either very hard to get or low in monetary value to accommodate excessive applicants.
In either case, looking up what’s available never hurts.
A great way to locate campus-wide scholarship opportunities is through your school’s financial aid portal.
2. Niche Down Into Your Department
An even better place to dig up scholarship opportunities than your school’s website is your department’s website. For example, if you’re a cinema and television arts student, your department likely has a website that shares scholarship opportunities just for people in your field of study.
Major-specific scholarships have much less competition than campus-wide ones. Depending on the success of your department’s alumni, these scholarships could also be rather high in value.
If your department does not have a website, talk to your department’s dean to see if they have opportunities that they can turn you onto directly.
3. Check Your Community
Not all college scholarships need to be given out by your school. A great many of them are awarded by your community as well.
Your city, your local sports leagues and your high school are all great resources when it comes to checking on local scholarships. You can also check your city’s website to see if any scholarship information if offered.
Local scholarships tend to be among the lowest applied for given lack of awareness. That means that you stand an excellent chance of winning the award if you can get your application in on time.
4. Try Online Scholarships
We have mixed feelings towards online scholarships because many of them have lengthy requirements and competition for them is absolutely fierce. Still, it is another resource that may be worth investigating.
This page and other online scholarship directories like FastWeb are among the most popular internet scholarship purveyors.
You can also run the Google search “college scholarships” to see what comes up.
5. Contact Businesses Directly
Sometimes cold calling can net you massive scholarship dollars. While asking people for money that aren’t expressly offering, it can be scary. Trust us when we say that the activity isn’t all that bad.
A simple method of cold calling businesses for scholarship money might look something like you writing a letter to a successful company (preferably one that’s related to your field of study) and sharing your story. After you’ve let them know about yourself, you could ask them for a scholarship in any amount that they can afford.
Successful businesses are always looking for tax write-offs and if your letter pulls at their heartstrings, you may end up walking away with a substantial amount of money.
6. Double Check All of Your Scholarship Findings With an Advisor
At this point, you have a number of resources that you can pour over in order to find college scholarships. After digging into each of them, create a shortlist of scholarships that you’d like to apply to and run them by your advisor.
Your advisor will be able to make recommendations on which scholarships are worth your time and which aren’t. They also may be able to turn you onto scholarships that you missed.
7. Start Your Search a Year in Advanced
If you try applying for college scholarships once your semester starts, you’re going to be the last person to the party. In the world of scholarships, the early bird gets the worm so last isn’t the place you want to be in.
Start looking into college scholarships that you might be interested in a year before you’re going to start applying. Note the dates of any scholarships that you like so you can submit applications the moment their windows open.
8. The More You Apply, the Better Chances You Have
Getting college scholarships is hard. The more you apply, the better chances you have of overcoming the odds and winning an award.
Don’t get discouraged if your first couple of applications get rejected. Repurpose your submission materials the best you can and keep applying for new opportunities.
With a little persistence, you’ll find yourself getting portions of your schooling paid for in no time!
Wrapping Up Our Tips for Finding College Scholarships
College scholarships can help you pay for everything from living expenses to tuition. In order to earn them, you’ll have to find scholarship opportunities that are legit and start submitting applications.
We hope that our write-up has given you some direction on how you can manage your scholarship search going forward. If you need any more information on scholarships, university or anything else education related, continue exploring our resources at York University.