top of page

Scholarship mindset series, Step 4: avoid The Grade 12 Overwhelm

There's a point in Grade 12 where students and parents develop what I call "The Grade 12 Overwhelm".

What is The Grade 12 Overwhelm?

It's the point where there's too much to do, and it feels like you can never get it all done, and you just want to throw up your hands and shout, "I GIVE UP!".

Why is Grade 12 so different?

On top of all the normal school stuff your child has done in Grade 10 and 11, and their regular extra-curricular activities, in Grade 12 you and your child will need to add time to research universities and university programs, and to attend open houses and campus tours. Then on top of the that, you'll need to add time to actually fill out the applications, get transcripts, etc. Then, let's add some more time for all of the fun grad activities and social events in Grade 12.

And on top of that? Add time to find and applying for scholarships. Ahhh!

Now, that's a lot, but I' begging you: don’t let The Grade 12 Overwhelm derail your scholarship success!

This is a powerful feeling, and it can make you want to give up, so this blog is about helping you and your student AVOID the overwhelm.


This blog is Part 4 in my Scholarship Mindset Series. I did the mindset series because when you come right down to it, you can find all of the scholarships you want, but if your student is not in the right mindset for them, things are not going to go well.

They will not participate to the best of their ability, or AT ALL, unless they believe the following things:

1. They are expected to do their best to help fund their own post-secondary education.

2. They are eligible for scholarships - So you’ve probably seen the 2 news articles going around right now about how marks don’t matter, and how millions of dollars in unused scholarships are wasted every year because Canadian students simply aren’t applying for them. They back up my theory that part of the reason scholarships go unused is because there are a lot of students who mistakenly believe they don’t qualify. Yet, 2/3 of scholarships DO NOT require high marks or financial need!

Your child needs to believe they actually have a chance to WIN scholarships . How far do you think you’ll get when trying to convince your child to sit down and write a scholarship essay if they don’t believe they have any chance to win it? They need to know the FACTS about scholarships, not the MYTHS. And the facts tell us more students qualify for scholarships than most people think.

3. They need to believe there is some benefit in it for them (they need to find their WIIFM - What’s in it for me). I covered finding motivation in part 3 of the mindset series.

And here's Mindset Idea #4. They need to believe they can beat overwhelm, complete the process, and they need to know you’re going to help them.

They need to know they’re not in this alone, and that there is a plan they can follow step-by-step, to get to their goal, so they don’t give up.

That’s because at some point, sooner or later in the process, it may start to seem like there’s too much to do and they can’t do it all. They will start to get overwhelmed, and what do we do when we’re overwhelmed? We throw up our hands and say, “I give up!”

But it doesn’t have to be too much, and you don’t have to give up.


Watch on video:


Partner with your child & develop a plan

So now let’s back up, and just say your student has some confidence that they are eligible for some scholarships, and you and he or she are going to give it a go.

Scholarships take time to find, and it takes time and effort to complete the applications, especially if they’re done well. I’m not saying this to discourage you. I’m saying this to prevent you from what most people do, which is to give up.

The reason why most people give up at some point in the process is because they waste a lot of time spinning their wheels, and getting few results for their efforts. And that’s because they don’t take a strategic approach to finding and applying for scholarships.

When you develop a strategy, a plan and a step-by-step process, you will be 100% more successful with your scholarship process. This strategy, plan, and process should include you and your son or daughter, working as a TEAM. Divide and conquer and you can get twice as much done.

This should be a partnership, with each of you knowing your role in the process.

For example:

How will you look for scholarships? Where will you look? Who will look where? How often?

What information is required for most scholarship applications? What documents will you need? How do you find out?

When will your student develop their activities list? What information do you need to put on it?

How many references do they need? Who should they ask to be a reference? When will they ask? HOW will they ask?

What kind of information should your student put in their essay?

See what I mean? Scholarships take time and effort.

Now for some good news: once this work is done once, it’s much easier to do again. In fact, some of the information your child develops on one application can often be re-used (with some tweaking) in subsequent applications. And of course, the more they apply for, the greater their chances of winning.

But because doing it right, and doing it well, can take some time and effort, your child needs to know you’re going to help them and keep them on track in a helpful way, like a partnership.

Because here’s the thing: most kids simply don’t have the time, or the time management skills, to do this on their own. They’ll need you to keep the bus on the road. They should be driving the bus, but you’ll be the navigator.

The moment it starts to seem like too much, that’s when the "I give up" feeling sets in, and the bus just stops, and that’s what we want to avoid.

Overwhelm is part of the reason why millions of dollars in scholarship money goes unused year after year. Many people will give up along the way, but that doesn’t have to be you!

Additional resources on this topic

Here are some additional resources to give you ideas of how you can help your student with this process:

3. How to beat the "Grade 12 Overwhelm" and get ready to apply for scholarships (even if you don't have a lot of activities in the bank)

Best scholarship wishes!

Need help preparing for university? Please check out my services.

About the author

Janet MacDonald is a Scholarship Coach with mycampusGPS Education Consulting. She is a former Canadian university admissions officer. For seven years, she was the coordinator of a scholarship program at a major Canadian university. Janet has helped her student clients win hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships.

You can find her online at, and on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Janet MacDonald by visiting the About Page.

The Author
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • LinkedIn - White Circle
Featured Posts
Search By Tags
Recent Posts
bottom of page