Tips on how to win an award

Tips on how to become the recipient of an award, bursary or scholarship


Many students don’t apply because they think that they will never win. If you meet the eligibility criteria, apply. You never know, you may be the only one who applies and becomes the recipient.

Watch your spelling and grammar and write legibly

Complete your application with the seriousness that you would write a paper or fill out a job application. Once completed put the application down and look at it a little later. You can also ask a friend teacher or parent to take a look at it or go to the Academic Skills Center and ask them to review your application with you.

Change your e-mail address if necessary

More and more e-mail is the way to communicate with students. E-mails like or don’t leave people with the impression that you are serious. Leave your creative e-mail for your friends and choose a basic e-mail; such as your name or initials that can be used on scholarship applications. (P.S. This will also help you when you are applying for jobs.)

Do the research

While there are many scholarships available, they will not just pop into to your inbox or show up as a text message. Keep your eyes open around campus, search the web, and ask your friends, teachers and parents if they have heard about any opportunities. Scholarships are offered by schools, companies, banks, governments.  There are also websites such as

Plan ahead

Even if you will not be going on to university for a couple of semesters, start your research early. Some awards have early application dates that you don’t want to miss. Also, planning ahead gives you the time to make yourself a better candidate by volunteer or learning more about a subject.

Make sure your application is complete

Selection committees will not chase you. If your application is incomplete or missing documents your application will not be considered.

Keep an eye on the deadline

Late applications will take you out of the running. Unless specifically stated that the deadline has been extended don’t assume that an exception will be made just for you.

Don’t miss your interview, show up late, not be prepared or dress sloppily

Like a job interview you must portray a professional image at the interview. While you don’t have to show up a suit and tie or 3 inch heels; clean up a little. Give yourself a 10-15 minute lead time to find the room and review your application. And FYI, if you miss your interview, don’t expect a call to re-schedule.

Think about your strengths

Take the time to think about your volunteer and work experience, your interests, passions and abilities. The one thing that you are really good at could be very interesting to the committee. Also, be ready to sell yourself.  If you go into the interview with a negative attitude you will mostly likely not be considered as a recipient.

Say thank you

After you’ve had an interview or become the recipient of an award, say thank you to the parties involved such as the committee members, the organization or the donor(s).  A thank you note doesn’t take long and can be sent in the form of an e-mail, a card or a letter. If you are not sure where or who to send it, ask. It’s amazing how appreciated a few words can be.

Last Modified: February 4, 2020