Hi everyone! My name is Anson Lee and I am a Grade 11 student at Agincourt Collegiate Institute. Last Saturday, I had the privilege of attending Tomiwa Ademidun’s Think Tank on "How to Win Scholarships" as a part of the Associate National Lead program. As part of this program, aside from getting to build and host my own conference, I get to build connections with industry professionals and leaders.
Tomiwa is the Founder of Atila where he helps connect students with mentorships and scholarships. After receiving his bachelors of Business Administration at Western Ivey, he went on to work with Wealthsimple and RBC as a software engineer. At this Think Tank, I had the opportunity to hear about the importance of scholarships and how to win them!
Now education is very important and Tomiwa gave three main points as to why:
The more educated you are, the more money you will make
You understand the world better (fake news, climate change, relationships, etc.)
Improve your social status
However gaining higher education is VERY expensive. In jarring statistic, we found that the average yearly tuition (including all expenses) was $20,000 a year and that typically after students complete their degree, they end up in $38,000+ of debt.
It was even more shocking to learn that millions of dollars in scholarship money go unclaimed simply because people don't apply! People may think that they don't have the grades or that they won't win, but the reality is that applying for scholarships pays better than most jobs.
With this, Tomiwa recommended us to begin looking for scholarships and setting aside some time each week to apply to them.
A few websites Tomiwa recommended to find scholarships were:
1. atila.ca (his company)
5. Reddit r/scholarships :)
And so on...
Now to the second part of Tomiwa's talk... how do we actually write applications and win scholarships? Firstly, in order to write a strong application, you need to be able to give examples and proof. Every claim you make should have an example behind it. Also add photos and hyperlinks wherever possible. Secondly, you need to be specific. Don't just write fluffy answers, be specific and give numbers. Thirdly, read past winners and try to identify commonalities.
In conclusion, one of the main lessons I took away from his talk was that university programs are extremely expensive, thus it's never too early to begin looking for and applying to scholarships. The best day to have started applying for scholarships was... YESTERDAY, and when do we stop? NEVER (or until you don't need scholarship money anymore) :)
Moving forward, I will be putting at least 1 hour a week, on the weekends, reserved for finding and applying to scholarships. I would like to thank Tomiwa for giving us such an important and insightful talk, so early in our lives and for Illuminate Universe for hosting this session!