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Scholarships are for Whoever, Whenever, and Wherever

As a student, I always seek new opportunities to gain tangible real-life skills and knowledge I can’t achieve in a classroom setting. Illuminate’s Associate National Lead programs give me the opportunity to do just that while also gaining invaluable skills in the process. This Saturday, I got to attend Tomiwa Ademidun’s Think Tank on “The Importance of Scholarships” as a part of the Associate National Lead program and was exposed to a number of new viewpoints and perspectives.

When we hear the word "scholarships", oftentimes we think of highly decorated, extremely selective and out of reach. However, they’re not as impossible, or as difficult as we think. Regardless of if you think your grades are nothing too special, or if you don’t believe in your extracurricular activities, there are still scholarships for you! You just need to put in the time and effort to apply, and results will follow. Winning even just a few smaller ones can add up and take a huge financial burden off your shoulders in the future.

Establishing that we should be applying for scholarships is one thing, but how do we actually write a strong application? To start us off, we need to remember to write naturally: write as you would speak, authentically, and not rigidly. You want your application to be understandable, with a nice flow when reading along. Then as for the content, make sure to sound like you have thoroughly considered the provided prompts and write thoughtful answers. Examples, elaboration, and personal experiences will make your answers sound personal to you and well thought out. Lastly, remember that attention spans are limited. Whoever is reading your application does not want to be trudging through unnecessarily long paragraphs and sentences. Write as much as you need in order to send your message, in as little writing as possible.

Post-secondary education is important for building our future careers, but it is by no means cheap. Depending on your choice of pathway, you could be left with thousands of dollars in debt by the time you graduate. Scholarships are available for those who are applying to post-secondary, those who are currently studying at a college or university, and even those who have graduated. There are countless scholarships out there and you just have to apply to the ones that are applicable to you. This will help you immensely in your financial journey, and you might even be able to pay off your entire education with the money you win!

Listening and asking questions during Tomiwa’s Think Tank, something that I hadn’t considered before is that you should not stop applying for scholarships. No matter where you are in your life, there are scholarships that can help you lessen your financial burdens. Resources like Atila are available to help people search and apply for scholarships that are a good fit for them. Before coming to this Think Tank, I think I was feeling rather burnt out on the whole university application process: as someone who is applying to business programs across Canada, I have done so many supplemental applications, with a few more to come as well. I wasn’t feeling up to the task of applying for scholarships whatsoever, but now I can say that I have received a much-needed boost. I’ll definitely be looking into it more now, thanks again to Tomiwa for the insightful Think Tank!

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