Students in Canada in need of financial assistance often turn immediately to the bursary system much more then Canadian scholarships, seeking funds through provincially offered programs. While this system is useful to an immense number of students, these Canadian bursaries may sometimes leave gaps in funding that cannot be closed by other bursary offerings. Some students in this situation may then turn to student loans, a direct method to find funding. Before turning to student loans, however, students should sincerely consider various Canadian scholarship programs, many of which are open nationally to students and provide a decent amount of funding which could potentially cover holes not filled by the Canadian bursary systems.
Canadian scholarships are offered all over the country, a lot of them on a merit-based system which considers academic achievement and community involvement as eligibility metrics. Further, international students who may not be able to apply for a wide swath of bursaries should consider looking into Canadian scholarships, as they often do not have citizenship requirements, making it easier for foreign students to find additional financial aid. While scholarships for Canadian students are not nearly as sure a thing as are bursaries, a student who has planned capably and left enough time before college starts should be able to fill out Canada scholarship applications before they are forced to consider loans. Since scholarships are typically offered as free money for college, they certainly beat getting loans with high interest rates which students will later have to pay back after graduation.
Two of the more popular scholarship programs offered in Canada are funded by the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation. They offer both the Bourse Loran Award and the Garfield Weston Award Canadian scholarships which are highly sought after because they provide a generous amount of funds to selected students. The Loran Award program provides students with an $8,000 Canadian government scholarship to 30 selected students every year which can be renewed in the following academic cycle. On top of this, they also provide 80 non-renewable awards to students who are freshly entering college. While an academic transcript will be necessary when applying to this Canadian scholarship, the program notably looks beyond the simple numbers provided by academic grading. Specifically they consider character elements such as community service, leadership roles, interest in extra-curricular activities, and individuality. Students who are not citizens of Canada but can show legal residency may apply for the Canada scholarship, and all applicants must show an 85% average in their academic scores. Deadlines for the Loran Canadian Scholarship are October 20 for sponsored applications and October 27 for all others. Similar to the Loran program, the Garfield Weston Awards are offered every year to students who display great character and dedication to their pursuits. This Canadian university scholarship awards $8,000 as a renewable award as well as a tuition waiver from eligible institutions for 25 first-year students and then 25 additional awards are also given to students already enrolled in studies. Residents of Canada are eligible for the program and must be either enrolling for the first time as students or already be studying in college while maintaining a 75% average in all required courses. The deadline for the Garfield Weston Canadian Scholarship is set at March 29, 2011.
It cannot be overstated what importance Canadian scholarships have for students. The two programs spoken about in this article are, while heavily competitive, great sources of financial aid for any student who has the chops and passion to win an award. These two Canadian college scholarships should not be the end of a student’s search, however, as there are many other nationally available programs in the country offering their own great awards.
The more Canadian scholarships and bursaries a student applies to, the greater their chances are of receiving an award, but quantity is not going to do all the work. Applicants to these programs must have a great zeal for what they do, having been involved in the community and displaying a great capacity to lead others in many different situations. Often these programs are looking for students who are great not only in the classroom but in their communities or student organizations, so be sure to step up to the plate lest you let these opportunities slide past you.