top of page

When to start to prepare for scholarships

Here's the hard truth: by the time students come to work with me in grade 12, they've either "got it" or they don't.

And if they don't, then there's not much that can be done about it at that point. Why? 1. Because grade 12 is busy. If you think you’re busy now, wait until grade 12. On top of all your regular activities, you’ll also need to complete additional important and time sensitive activities like researching and applying to universities and scholarships. That takes a lot more time than most students and parents realize. By grade 12, it’s too busy and too late to get the kind of experience you need for bigger scholarships. 2. Because many scholarships -- including three of the biggest ones in Canada at $70,000 - $100,000 -- are offered early in grade 12. Scholarships start to be offered in September of grade 12. Two of the biggest ones in Canada have deadlines in October and November. Students who apply for these scholarships, and other early ones, must use their marks and extra-curricular activities from grade 11 and grade 10...because grade 12 has just started! They haven't had time to complete the kinds of high impact activities they need for these applications. Students and parents: you need to start to think about grade 12 as the time to apply for scholarships, and grade 11 as the time to prepare for them. If you’re serious about scholarships, you should have a foundation of solid grades and meaningful extra-curriculars already completed by the start of grade 12. For major awards from both universities and external funders, you will be assessed on your track record of marks and activities from grades 10-12. And those activities need to be robust, varied, and include at least one leadership experience.

Also, having your main activities completed by the start of grade 12 means you can apply for those bigger early scholarships and not have the stress and pressure of working on activities for scholarships.

Your time in grade 12 is best spent completing as many applications as possible using the fantastic activities you already have from grades 10 and 11. Simply put: to qualify for the most and the biggest scholarships in grade 12, it's what you do in grades 10 & 11 that has the greatest impact on your success.

That's why I created the Grade 11 Scholarship Prep Bootcamp. It provides you with everything you need to know to get set up for scholarship success. In the Bootcamp we discuss the SMART way to prepare – how to get the best “bang for your buck” experience that will optimize your chances for scholarships in grade 12.

Don’t wait until grade 12 to find out if you’re a good candidate for scholarships. By taking a thoughtful and deliberate approach to your preparation, you’ll ensure you have the kind of experience funders are looking for in scholarship winners.

Best wishes,

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