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Tips on How to Complete a Successful Application

Let us help you make the best possible application you can! Here are some tips on completing a successful application.

 

 

Application Forms

Outline of Proposed Research

Transcripts

References

Evaluation Criteria

Common Scholarship Application Mistakes

Application Forms

  • Follow the instructions carefully.
  • READ THE APPLICATION GUIDELINES AND TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.
  • Follow all rules concerning font size, line spacing, margins, page limits, etc.
  • Failure to follow the guidelines can result in an ineligible application - pages that exceed the specified limit may be discarded without your knowledge.

Complete every section that applies to you. Before submitting your application, have someone review it to ensure you've followed the instructions and haven't missed anything.

Outline of Proposed Research

  • Follow all the rules regarding font size, line spacing, margins, and any other additional requirements. Failure to follow the guidelines can result in an ineligible (or a disadvantaged) application.
  • Write clearly and concisely for a general audience.
  • Avoid jargon and technical language.
  • Define any acronyms or abbreviations the first time they are used.

The selection committee members may not have specialized knowledge of your particular area of research. You will need to convey to the reviewers answers to the following questions:

  • What issues will the research address?
  • Why is this issue important?
  • What is already known about the issue?
  • How is your approach innovative? How will it advance knowledge in the field?
  • Why are you qualified to carry out the research?

For most fields of research, you should provide a testable hypothesis (i.e. one overriding great idea) and then outline the specific objectives, methodologies and/or theoretical approaches (how will it be done).

Avoid jargon and technical language; write your proposal for a general audience. Be sure to define any acronyms or abbreviations the first time they are used. Reviewers do not want to read about a "TNS" device seven times in a proposal an not know what it means!

  • Use short sentences whenever possible.
  • Vary sentence length within paragraphs to avoid monotony.
  • Do not use a big word where a smaller word will do.

Transcripts

  • Submit all post secondary transcripts (whether you completed the program or not).
  • In some instances unofficial transcripts are accepted. If you're unsure, it is best to obtain an official transcript.

References

  • Choose wisely: read the guidelines for selecting references (if available) and ask prospective references if they are able to provide you with a good reference for your scholarship application. A strong letter of support provides concrete, behaviour-based examples of your strengths and personal attributes and addresses the selection criteria. To assist individuals who are writing your references, provide them with a copy of your application, guidelines for references (if available) CV, transcripts and samples of previous work.
  • Advise them on how they are to submit their reference. Will they receive an e-mail requesting that they complete a form or do they need to provide you with a letter? If they are to provide you with a letter how is it to be submitted?
  • Give your references lots of time – you don’t want them writing letters at the last minute.
  • Check with your references about a week before the deadline to ensure that they have not forgotten.

Evaluation Criteria (some awards may have additional criteria specific to the award)

  • Academic Excellence – as demonstrated by academic transcripts, awards and distinctions. Reviewers tend to give credit for steadily improving or consistently good performance.
  • Research Ability & Potential – quality of analytical skills, ability to think critically, ability to apply skills and knowledge, judgment, originality, initiative and autonomy, determination and ability to complete projects within an appropriate time period – as demonstrated in the description of the program of study, work experience, research contributions, reference forms/letters and the departmental appraisal.
  • Interpersonal, leadership and communication skills – reviewers will assess evidence of leadership both within university and outside; communication skills as evidenced by publications, presentations; and interpersonal skills as evidenced by reference letters and other work experience.

Remember: Reviewers only know what they see on paper. If you want the reviewers to know something about you, it needs to show up somewhere in the application. Reviewers will evaluate your achievement relative to their expectations for someone at your stage of training.

Common Scholarship Application Mistakes

The following are some common mistakes students have made; however they have drastic consequences, mostly resulting in disqualification for the scholarship or award they're applying for. Please review this list before submitting your application!

    Application
    Free-Form Pages
    Transcripts
    Reference Letters
    General
    • Student signature is missing, if applicable
    • Too many pages
    • Sections missing
    • Font is too small
    • Margins are too small *
    • Missing transcripts
    • Only submitted one reference
    • Not on proper form
    • Too many pages
    • Spelling/grammar mistakes
    • Not following instructions

Updated: September 19, 2016