How to Find Money to go to College or University

May 28, 2021 | TPL Staff

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Are you thinking of applying to college, university or an apprenticeship but wondering how to find money to pay the costs of education or training programs?

Scholarships, grants, awards and bursaries are a great way to gain financial support and to fund your educational plans. This can be in the form of direct tuition fees support, covering textbook costs, costs of technology or equipment, transportation or many other costs.


Myth: Scholarships, grants and bursaries are only awarded to students with the highest grades.

Truth: Scholarships, grants or awards criteria vary from place to place. They could include volunteer experience, community involvement, extra curricular activities, academic performance, age, disability, household income, financial need or many other factors.

When I had first thought of applying to scholarships or bursaries in grade 12, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of information and the varying deadlines. Hence, I began to narrow them down by key requirements and deadlines. Then, I made a list of the ones that were a good fit for my own situation and needs.


Here are some tips to apply and secure scholarships, awards or grants:

  1. Highlight and identify your strengths and capabilities.
  2. Make sure to keep track of deadlines – deadlines for scholarships, grants and awards vary from place to place. The most common deadlines fall in between spring and summer.
  3. Search and narrow down – look for awards and narrow them down based on your own personal situation, needs and deadline.
  4. Try your local area and personal affiliations– look for awards that are specific to a local school, college, university, or community that you a part of.
  5. Look out for scholarship scams, membership fees or fake websites - ensure the information listed is accurate, current and does not ask for payment. If you are unsure, double-check with someone.
  6. Proof-read your applications – read, write, and carefully re-read! Ask someone you trust to help give you feed back on your applications.
  7. Get trustworthy references
  8. Reach out and ask for help – get help from your teacher, local library staff, school guidance counsellors, family member, mentor, or someone you trust.


Listed below are some resources on awards, scholarships, grants or bursaries:


Note: These are only suggestions and doesn't encompass the many other student financial aid opportunities available. Be sure to verify all the details and dates before applying. 


E-books at Toronto Public Library


Print Books at Toronto Public Library

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

Complete Guide to College Application Essays

Complete Guide to College Application Essays

Ontario Scholarships 2019

Ontario Scholarships

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50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays




Written by Karim, Youth Services Librarian.