Why Students Struggle To Win Scholarships When They Start In Grade 12

Scholarships can be a game-changer for students seeking post-secondary education. But why do some students struggle to win scholarships while others excel? After supporting thousands of students in applying to and winning scholarships, we learned the secret.

Students who win more scholarships start early.

Most students know they should apply for scholarships in their Grade 12 year. We’d all agree that this is a good idea, especially since you have a unique opportunity window to win 5-10x more scholarships in Grade 12 than in any other year.

Our data shows that students of any year who apply to at least 20 scholarships that are strong matches win a minimum of $5,000. However, students in their Grade 12 year who apply to 20 scholarships win about $10,000. Often, these students even win upwards of $30,000-$50,000.

The key thing is that they apply.

When students struggle to win scholarships, chances are they struggle to apply, too.

In Grade 12, most students are too stressed to even start the process of applying to scholarships. With university applications at the forefront, many are just focused on keeping their grades up and preparing for big senior events like prom. Scholarships are the last thing on their minds. Scholarship applications usually aren’t completed in their Grade 12 year because they never make time for them!

Looking at the differences between a student who submits 20 applications and wins $10,000, and a student who submits 20 and wins $50,000+, it comes down to writing quality. 

Application writing is a skill like any other. This means that you need repetition and feedback to improve it. And we find that most students need 3-4 months of practice to go from a $10,000 student to a $50,000+ student with 20 applications. 

So the trouble is that if you start your process in Grade 12, by the time you get your application writing skill up to par, most of the major deadlines have already passed. For example, the top awards like the Loran Award ($100,000) and TD Community Leadership Scholarship ($70,000) are already closed by the end of November. 

Finally, the biggest issue that makes students struggle to win scholarships is that you can’t fake your leadership experience. For example, you can’t just write about how you helped start an initiative in your community two years ago when you actually started it last week! Scholarship and post-secondary application review committees look at the length of your commitment to your initiatives. Starting a club two weeks before the application due date doesn’t cut it—so you need to plan in advance.

These are the biggest issues that make students struggle to win scholarships in Grade 12. The great thing is that there is a solution! If you’re in Grade 11, you can start now! Get started on a leadership initiative today. Plan your applications today. Practice your writing today.

If you want support in getting started today, GrantMe can help. Our platform provides students with tailored scholarship matches, essay editing, and mentorship to help you achieve your post-secondary goals. Find out more here. 

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