Scholarships, awards and where to find them in Alberta
By ATB Financial 29 October 2019 3 min read
The famous Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” The same could be said when it comes to applying for scholarships. Every year, millions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed due to a lack of applications. And tuition isn’t getting any cheaper: according to Statistics Canada, the average cost of post-secondary tuition in Canada rose by 3.1% in 2017, and it’s likely that the cost will continue to rise.
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to scholarships. Let’s debunk a few myths:
Myth 1: You have to be in financial need
While some scholarships are available specifically for students with financial need, many scholarships and award opportunities don’t have any kind of financial requirements.
Myth 2: Only those with the top grades get awards
Not true! Lots of awards aren’t based on academic merit. For example, did you know that there’s an international club for tall people that offers scholarships? The main requirement is your height!
Myth 3: Applications take too much time
You’ll need to dedicate time to applying, but many aren’t as arduous as you might think. And consider this—if you commit 10 hours to an application that earns you $5,000, that’s $500 per hour of your time!
Myth 4: Scholarships are too competitive
Many scholarships and awards have several winners and are often looking for applicants. Ask family members if their company has a scholarship program, consult with your friends or professors—let others know you’re looking!
Myth 5: Scholarships are hard to find
There are thousands of scholarships and awards available. Here are some avenues to help access free money to fund your student experience in Alberta:
1. Your university or college
Your school is a great place to start. Post-secondary institutions often have a wide range of scholarships that are awarded year-round. Your college or university website can point you to awards that are specific to your year of program or field of study—an academic advisor can also help.
Your university or college students’ union may also offer scholarships. Contact your faculty’s student representative to find out which awards are available and how to apply.
2. Your club, organization or competitive sports league
Do you volunteer your time, have a hobby, play a musical instrument, or are part of a club or sport? There’s likely a scholarship for that! Connect with your coach, league, organization or teacher and ask if they know about any opportunities.
3. Your parents’ place of work
Some employers offer their employees’ children scholarships. Check with your parents!
4. Alberta Student Aid and the Government of Canada
Provincial and federal government organizations offer access to awards that are inclusive for all types of students. They’re not just based on academic merit, but also things like culture, language, heritage, community leadership, academic research and excellence in sport. There are even scholarships offered for international students and Canadian students planning to study abroad!
If you’ve just recently graduated high school and are currently enrolled in full-time post-secondary studies, consider applying for the Alexander Rutherford High School Achievement Scholarship, which can equip you with up to $2,500.
5. Online databases
Some advice to get you started
The best advice when it comes to scholarship applications is to start early, be resourceful and apply often. While writing an essay or filling out paperwork might feel like a lot of work, the payoff can be worth thousands of dollars.