Do You Have to Be Book Smart to Win a...

Do You Have to Be Book Smart to Win a Scholarship?

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By Erin Rebello

If you’ve considered attending a post-secondary institution after high school, you’ve probably taken a look at how much it might cost. A lot of the time, the fees and expenses associated with getting a degree are far higher than students expect- especially when factoring the costs of textbooks, meal plans, and residence. Though government assistance through loan and grant programs like OSAP can help cover some of the costs, students usually are left to foot a sizable portion of the bill. One effective way to generate money that goes directly towards your education is by winning a scholarship offered by an organization or university. Unfortunately, most students hesitate to apply for scholarships, fearing that their grades aren’t high enough to make the cut. Though this might hold true for certain scholarships which require academic merit, there are a variety of scholarships targeted at students with different strengths and skills.

Athletic Scholarships

Are you someone who is athletically inclined? If so, this is the scholarship for you! Universities and colleges are always on the lookout for keen athletes to ensure that their sports teams have the very best players. For this reason, if you’re applying to a school with an athletic background, you’re far more likely to be offered scholarships than someone without an athletic background. This scholarship would help you pay for your classes at the institution in exchange for your contributions to the school’s sports teams. This sort of scholarship works best for students who have a specialized background in a specific sport. Athletic scholarships usually also have a tryout event your particular sport as part of the application process.

Art Achievement Scholarships

Another type of scholarship that isn’t based on academic merit would be a scholarship for involvement in the arts. This sort of scholarship is ideal for someone who excels in art, be it visual art, digital art, dramatic art, musical art, and even writing art. Similar to athletic scholarships, art scholarship recipients are chosen based on their achievements in their artistic specialty. For visual artists and writers, this might look like a portfolio of their best work, while dramatic or musical artists are usually required to perform a piece or participate in an audition process. Post-secondary institutions and third-party organizations also host annual competitions with cash prizes; these competitions are usually for visual or writing arts in the form of a drawing or poetry/short story contest.

Community Involvement Scholarship

The third and final non-academic scholarship would be a scholarship for community involvement. These scholarships usually have a minimum grade average to be eligible, but aren’t particularly focused on “book smarts”. Instead, community involvement scholarships look at how the candidate has made a positive impact on their community. The winners of community service awards vary greatly, but have all been chosen for their leadership skills and concern for others. Another great thing about these awards is the fact that they consider a student’s personal achievement, taking into account every candidate’s unique story. These scholarship awards typically require an individual to take part in several interviews to determine a student’s fit with the award. They also usually ask that a teacher or mentor of the student fills out a recommendation form or write a letter of recommendation commenting upon the student’s achievement.

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