The most important thing to know about scholarships is that you should apply. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Scholarships can lighten the burden of your post-secondary education by offsetting your costs with some much-needed cash.
Who says there's no such thing as free money?
- Individuals, companies (both small and large), charities and other groups sponsor scholarships, each with its own criteria, including grades, extracurricular involvement, volunteer work, athletics, awards or financial need.
- Bursaries are another form of smaller cash donations given to students who require the financial help to attend school. The amounts may be determined based on the extent of need, and don't need to be paid back after graduation. A good indicator of whether or not you are eligible for bursaries is to determine if you are eligible to receive student loans.
How do I apply?
- If you are still in high school, your guidance counsellor can be a helpful resource in identifying scholarships that may be a good match for you. These are usually from local companies and charities; for national scholarships, it's probably best to check websites, including:
- Make sure to include everything about your interests and what you've done in your applications, whether it's volunteering or playing field hockey on the weekends.
- Keep your eyes open - it's a good idea to look at the new scholarship or bursary opportunities that come in to the career office, and you can ask your counsellor to watch out for new applications.
- Don't drag your feet - after you've been notified of a potential scholarship, start working on the application right away.
- Ask questions - find out all you can about the scholarship; one way is to contact the person listed as a contact on the application.
After first year
Keep in mind the money doesn't disappear once you've started your first year. Each university or college has an office that deals with scholarships and bursaries. If you could use some help paying for your studies, it's worth it just to go and talk to them. Not only will they alert you to available scholarship and bursary money, but they'll also help you learn how to manage what you have.
A lot of different corporations, CIBC included, donate money for scholarships. Sometimes they are available only to children of employees and sometimes they are open to a range of applicants. You can get information by asking your friends and family to check with their employers about any available scholarships, or you could check out The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. This organization administers a number of corporate scholarship programs. An example of one they administer for CIBC is:
CIBC's Youthvision Scholarship Program
This is a unique partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and YMCA Canada where post-secondary scholarships are awarded as early as Grade 10. CIBC Youthvision scholarships are awarded annually to 30 students in Grade 10 who are enrolled in a mentoring program with either Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada or YMCA Canada. Following Grade 11, scholarship recipients can also participate in a summer internship at the YMCA, with a take-home pay of up to $2,000 per summer while in high school. The total value of the scholarship for each recipient can be up to $35,000.
CIBC Access Awards/MBA Awards
14 scholarships were established in 2001 in partnership with the Disabled Persons Employment Equity Human Rights Group, for students with disabilities.
Depending on which school you're going to, you might also want to check out your school's student financial services office for any corporate scholarships that are only available to students at that school.
A number of scholarship opportunities await you. It's just a matter of looking and applying. Take advantage of all the resources around you. The money is out there, so go get some!