NC – Each year, thousands of Canadian students earn scholarships that help them offset their education costs. Surprisingly, over $15 million of the $70 million available each year in scholarship dollars goes unclaimed, according to industry estimates.
“Scholarships are a good source of education funding – one that you don’t have to pay back,” advises Melissa Jarman, director of student banking at RBC Royal Bank. “Don’t write yourself off as an unqualified candidate. In addition to funding school with your savings, a part-time job, or a student loan, you could receive an unexpected top-up. Even smaller scholarships will help out with your expenses.”
Scholarships are available throughout the year, so here are five tips to help you explore your options:
1. Research: Check your college or university’s financial aid department. If you are in high school, check to see what scholarships are available to graduating students. Take advantage of online resources such as studentawards.com and scholarshipscanada.com that match you to available scholarships.
2. Be optimistic: If you’re not a straight-A student, be aware that not all scholarships are based on academic standing. Some of them reward civic engagement, leadership experience, your heritage, affiliations, or a particular skill.
3. Tap your network: You may find scholarships are offered by your employer, sports league or your bank. Ask your parents if their employers offer funding to children of employees.
4. Plan ahead and start early: Be prepared to devote time towards fulfilling scholarship criteria. There are often essays, questionnaires and school transcripts to submit, so allot your time wisely for maximum impact.
5. Be conscientious: Proofread your application and ensure you followed all the instructions. Ask friends and family to review your application before you send it.
Jarman says that RBC provides over $550,000 in annual scholarships, including the Students Leading Change Scholarships, the Aboriginal Student Awards Program and Scholarship Program for the Children of RBC Employees. More information is available online at scholarships.rbc.com.