Awards & Scholarships

Scholarship, Awards, & Bursary Handbook

Important Notice:

Please be advised the information in this booklet is not a complete guide of all available Bursaries/Scholarships.  You can also check the following websites for the most up -to-date information:


There are many opportunities for scholarships, bursaries and awards for a motivated student who needs financial assistance for their post-secondary goals. The available money depends on how much effort is put forward in seeking appropriate applications and successfully submitting them. Financial rewards are for all types of students based on several factors. Examples of these are: Financial need, type of programming, geographic area, and ethnicity.  Awards are not just granted on academic achievement.  


Here are some internet sites that may be helpful (hyperlinks below):

(Student Aid Alberta)

(Government of Alberta)

(Alberta Government scholarship site)


(Scholarships Canada)

(Sign-up for Scholarship Alerts)

(Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada)


(Scholarship Search Engine)

(Northern Alberta Development Council)

(Apprenticeship Scholarships)


Consideration for Awards:

You probably satisfy several of the conditions, or you can put yourself in contention by checking the criteria and making your best effort to meet those requirements. Do not underestimate your accomplishments or abilities; your leadership and participation on teams, club executives, community groups, volunteer agencies, and the work world can help your chances.

Consider the following:

  • Are you continuing with your education after high school?
  • Have you contributed to your school or community with your participation in clubs, teams, fine arts, applied skills or through service?
  • Are you deterred from continuing your education due to financial need?
  • Have you achieved a 70% average or better? (generally speaking)


Additional criteria often include:

  • Volunteer work in the school/community
  • Involvement in extra-curricular activities
  • Financial need is a criterion for a number of awards - If your intention is to attend a post-secondary school, but you are limited by your family's financial situation, please see you counsellor to see if you might qualify. Be assured that all financial information will remain confidential.


  • YOU must research the scholarships you are eligible for
  •  YOU must obtain application forms
  • YOU must complete application forms
  • YOU must obtain or request documents, such as marks and transcripts
  • YOU must request letters of reference
  • YOU must write or prepare any essays, resumes or goal statements

When you have further questions regarding your Post-Secondary Planning....

  • See your counsellor for career counselling and related course planning
  • See your counsellor regarding scholarship information




  1. Start early. It takes time to prepare a good application, time for transcripts to be prepared,

time for teachers to write letters of references, time for you to revise your application….

  1. Keep originals. Save originals for your final copy and use Xerox forms for working copies. Always keep a photocopy of your completed application and data.
  1. Work Digitally. Typed applications (whenever possible) are neater, and present as more organized. Also, remember to save digital copies of your applications and any essays or questions you have had to answer – you never know when you might be able to adapt past work for future applications.
  2. Demonstrate quality. Your letters, resumes, or essays should look as good as possible, typed or neatly handwritten as indicated. Use quality paper. Competition for large scholarships is fierce.
  3. Be comprehensive. Include everything that represents a commitment of time: contests, awards, conferences, drama, public speaking, school or community service, positions held, honor role, courses, languages, hobbies, work experience. Have parents, friends, teachers, or anyone who knows you well, check for errors and omissions.
  1. Be specific. Elaborate with details so that the selection committee can tell that your qualifications are based on fact, not platitudes. Avoid general statements such as "I like to work with people". Instead, tell specifically who you have worked with, on what, and with what result.
  2. Sell yourself. Explain specifically what you have done or enjoyed about your academic experiences. Go into detail about some aspect of courses or project.
  3. Use correct sentence structure - Check for repetition, i.e. "In grade ten I ...; in grade nine, I ....; I achieved ...; I played ...; I won;" vary your sentence structure. Get help if necessary.
  4. Vocabulary must be professional. Eliminate simplistic words and phrases such as "a lot". Be wary of absolute statements, "I always..."
  5. Proofread and revise. Have your work read by several people who care about you and know how to write well.

Procedure to Follow to Request Letters of Reference

Please use the attached “Request for a letter of reference” to aid you and others with this process.

  • Get to know your references. The more time that you have spent with them, and the more that they know about you, the easier it will be for them to write a letter.
  • You should complete a STUDENT PROFILE (included in this booklet). Even if a person knows you, it helps to remind them of highlights of your achievements.
  • Unless it is specified, try to get a mix of supporting letters, i.e. a teacher, a boss; someone from the community.  Make certain that the people you choose will speak positively about you. It is difficult to write a letter about someone whom you have reservations about.  The tone will likely be evident in the letter.  Ask the person if they have any reservations about writing a letter of recommendation or support on your behalf.
  • If you are applying for several scholarships ask the person writing the letter to either use a "To Whom It May Concern" introduction or ask them to put it on a word processor so that they can redo the letter several times without having to re-write it every time.
  • Provide the person with a summary of details about yourself (resume, copy of transcript). Even if they do not use all the information, it will help them to make general statements about you.
  • Specify those things that you would like to see included in the letter. (See forms below)

Among these might be:

  1. a) your character
  2. b) your accomplishments
  3. c) unique characteristics
  4. d) community service, clubs, e
  5. e) awards and prizes
  6. f) academic standing if it is relevant to that person
  7. g) academic qualities if it is relevant
  8. h) interests as they relate to the letter writer


  • Give the letter writer a copy of the criteria of the award, a copy of the criteria upon which the award is based, and any additional information concerning the scholarship/award you are applying for.
  • Allow sufficient time (2 -3 weeks) for letters of recommendation or reference letters.

Don't ask on Wednesday for a letter needed Friday.


Writing a Personal Application Letter or Essay


  1. If specific information is required, take care to ensure that all details are covered.
  2. Keep the tone of the letter or essay business-like. Generally, avoid an informal type approach. If it is a letter, use a standard business letter format. If it is an essay, use all the essay skills you have acquired at school. The committee will be looking for content, but they will be influenced by style.
  1. If there are no specific requirements for an essay or letter, you should consider the following:


  • reflect how specific subjects have influenced you, an outline of your interests, hobbies, and activities
  • a summary of positions and offices held by you in school, youth organizations and/or the community
  • a short statement of your purpose in seeking to attend a specific post-secondary institution
  • information concerning awards, scholarships and prizes won by you in any field
  • details of employment in the last two years, during vacations or after school
  • details of any volunteer work you have done


  1. If the instructions do not specify that the letter or essay be handwritten, type the

document Use 8 1/2 x 11-inch white paper, one side only.

  1. Have a Social Insurance Number available. Several of the major scholarships require one. (Do not include this information unless specifically requested.)

Don't assume that a committee will read between the lines. If you have done something noteworthy, include it. Most scholarships will have many worthy candidates. The better job you do of selling yourself, the better your chances are of receiving a scholarship or award.


Budgeting for Post-Secondary Schooling

Keep in mind that post-secondary schooling is unfortunately quite expensive. A few costs to keep in mind include:

  • tuition
  • textbooks
  • travel expenses (gas, car maintenance, airplane tickets, bus passes,)
  • room and board / residency
  • daily living expenses (and occasional fun!)

For ideas about how much a post-secondary program may cost, as well as links to student loan programs and additional funding sources, check out the following website from the government of Canada

Financial Aid Sites

Check out the following site for information about post-secondary loans.

Student Aid Alberta

Student Aid Alberta is a student loan program funded by the Government of Alberta. Check

this site for information about applying and qualifying for assistance, topics include:

  • Applying for student loans – Funding Guide PDF is available
  • Rutherford Scholarship
  • Managing your loan
  • Scholarships