How many scholarships should I apply for?

“How many scholarships should I apply for?” I get this question quite often.

There is no single answer to this question. It varies from person to person, but as a round figure my answer is, “You should apply for at least ten scholarships during your grade 12 year”.

Applying for ten scholarships isn’t difficult if you meet the following conditions:

  • You look for scholarships regularly, throughout grade 12 (not just one or two times).

  • You have some volunteer and community involvement. Most scholarships require a student to have some community involvement, including volunteer experience. So, if you don’t have any, you will qualify for fewer awards, and if you do have some, then you’ll qualify for more awards.

  • You have your activities list and some great essay content ready to go. Many scholarships require students to submit a list of their extracurricular activities and write an essay. You can often use the same information (with some tweaking and tailoring) over and over again on many different applications throughout the year. Using this method, you can apply for more scholarships in less time. This is the method I teach because it works. Students who use it often win scholarships, and some win multiple scholarships.

Applying for just one or two scholarships rarely gets results. It just makes sense that the more you apply for, the more chances you have to win.

So, if you meet the requirements, apply.

If you qualify for a lot of scholarships, and you don’t have time to apply for all of them, choose the ones that look the most promising. These are usually local awards, meaning provincial or community awards rather than the big national ones. Steer clear of popularity contests, for example ones that require you to share something on social media to get more chances to win. Opt instead for real scholarships -- those that are based on merit.

Grade 12 is a student’s best opportunity to win scholarships. There will never be another time in your life when there are more opportunities and less competition. Don’t waste this golden window of opportunity. By applying for at least ten scholarships during the year, you’ll increase your chances of winning.

If you’d like information on how to find and win scholarships, order my new guidebook called “How to Find and Win Scholarships”. It’s the most comprehensive guide on scholarships in Canada. You can order it on my website at

Best wishes,

Learn more about Janet MacDonald by visiting the About Page.

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