Since 1995, The Schulich Foundation has funded thousands of scholarships through a vast network of post-secondary educational benefactions ranging from the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering to Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law. To date, there has been no greater conduit of channeling the foundation’s charitable dollars directly to students than Schulich Leader Scholarships, established in 2011 across twenty leading Canadian universities.
Of the growing network of 300+ scholarship recipients, there are a host of savvy students who became hugely successful in navigating the scholarships landscape as high school seniors.
Here are some helpful tips to students hoping to fund their undergraduate degrees:
Seek and You Shall Find
For major scholarships like Schulich Leader Scholarships that put zero restrictions on accumulating additional scholarships or bursaries to the already substantial $80,000 or $60,000 award; some past recipients entered university after amassing six figure bank accounts by capitalizing on scholarship opportunities wherever possible. Sherry Wong, a second-year biomedical student and 2014 Schulich Leader at York University says “There is a misconception amongst graduating high school students that there are no longer any scholarship opportunities by February. However, students can still apply and win a variety of scholarships leading up to September of their entering year, and even after starting college or university. The application process does not need to stop upon graduating high school.”
That misconception is likely what keeps some $15 million in unclaimed scholarships and grants (by a conservative estimate) each year according to Yconic’s CEO Rob Henderson  With an average student debt rate hovering around $30,000 per student, you would think students would be snapping up bursaries far and wide.
“Students don’t realize how accessible opportunities are because it takes work to seek them out…After I get home from my extra-curriculars and finish my school work, I would spend an hour or so every night in grade 12 searching for scholarships and awards.” Says Wong, who went on to launch Young Scholar, a community resource providing pragmatic advice to students looking to fund their post-secondary education.
Michael Gilbert, a third-year medicinal chemistry student and 2013 Schulich Leader at UNB believes in the local approach to securing financial aid for your studies. “I would recommend going to see your high school guidance counselor and asking about scholarships offered by the school and local organizations. Often, these types of scholarships do not get a lot of applicants and the process isn't too intensive. They may be small, but they add up quick!” says Gilbert. Financial aid towards higher education can often be found at your parents employer, an untapped but often plentiful resource for student aid.
Go Get'em and Good Luck!
The Schulich Foundation wishes all 2016 Schulich Leader Nominees the best of luck during the national adjudication process at our 20 university partners starting this March through May, and wish you continued success in securing alternative funds towards your Higher Ed pursuits. With the majority of major scholarship applications coming due, the time is ripe for all university bound high school graduates to seek out alternative means to fund the rising costs of post-secondary education. Your resume and chequing account will thank you later for the efforts you put in now!