Scholarships and Bursaries

What are Scholarships and Bursaries?

Scholarships are

awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the founder of the award.

Bursaries are

financial awards that are based on both financial need and criteria set by the donor, founder or individual institution.

Every year hundreds of scholarships and bursaries go unawarded because students did not apply for them. It does take work to put together an application, but it can be worth the effort.

Finding Scholarships

High school students, ask your high school counsellor! Many high schools have scholarships specifically for high-school students heading to post-secondary.  Also, almost all post-secondary institutions have scholarships and bursuries for their students.

High school student or not, research and discover funds available to you on the following sites:

  • Student Aid BC Grants and Scholarships: Scholarship funding information specifically designed for BC students.
  • ScholarshipsCanada:  Scholarships Canada has 80,927 awards that are available for students.
  • YConic: Yconic is a Canadian free scholarship matching and peer-to-peer support for your life as a student.
  • Disability Awards:  A portal to awards and scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities.
  • International Scholarships: Government of Canada site that provides information about funding resources for both students wanting to study in Canada and Canadian students who may wish to study aboard.
  • Unlock Your Future: Key to Scholarships: Unlock your future provides scholarship information, as well as one-to-one personal coaching on how to find and apply for scholarships. There is a fee for their coaching services, but their scholarship calendar updated on their website and Facebook page is available to everyone. 
  • Windspeaker: Aboriginal Scholarship Guide for BC
  • More sites on Juggle’s Money Readiness Centre

Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Scholarship application processes can differ depending on who is awarding it.  Ensure your application meets the requirements!

  1. Do your research – this takes a significant amount of time, but once you know where to look, sorting through the criteria becomes an easier next step.
  2. Read the criteria – skim the criteria for the award. If you think you remotely qualify keep the application information. If you don’t qualify at all – move one to the next one. Don’t waste your time.
  3. Sort the awards you qualify for. Gather each of the scholarship applications that you think you qualify for. Read the small print. Some awards require you to meet 100% of the criteria. Sort your possible applications by how well you meet the criteria. Focus your time and effort on the applications that you feel you have the best chance at.
  4. Make a calendar of deadlines. Not all scholarships have the same application deadlines. Ensure your application will be received at least four days before the deadline.
  5. Gather reference letters.  Contact your references and supply them with details about the scholarships you are applying for. Ask that their reference letter addresses the scholarship criteria. Give your references advanced notice and plenty of time to customize their letters – 4-6 weeks.
  6. Create your scholarship portfolio. Each scholarship application will ask for a variety of different documents (eg. resume, a personal statement, examples of your work, lists of volunteer or community achievements, or an essay on a particular topic). Create a portfolio and easily pull from it the documents your need to fit the application. Make sure you include each of the required documents.
  7. Transcripts. Most applications will require a copy of your transcripts from either high school or the post-secondary institutions that you have or are attending. Ask whether you need original copies or not. Original transcripts take time to get – so plan ahead.
  8. Proof Read & Presentation. Proof read your application carefully and ask someone else to proof read it too. Make sure your application looks professional, pay attention to the layout and incorporate white space, page numbers and headings. Make the application easy to reference and fast to read.
  9. Track your applications. You may be sending a number of applications out and at different times. Keep a copy of all applications you send and track which applications went out on what days.  Be sure the applications arrive before the deadline. If you are using email or Canada Post request a receipt.
Plan to apply for scholarships 6 to 8 months before you start your education.