Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Schools Hoping For A Full Scholorship To A University

  1. Nov 6, 2006 #1
    I'm one year away from my final year in High School, and am hoping to get a full scholorship to one of the best Universities in Canada. I am hoping for Waterloo, but I'll probably go to whichever one will give me the most money.

    I haven't yet spoken with my guidance counsellor about specific scholorship opportunities, but I would like to know from you guys how easy it is to get one? How many people here have got a scholorship before, for how much, and what did you have to do to get it?

    I'd also like to know how much harder I need to work. I'm wondering if it matters more on the presentation of my application and letters of recommendation, then it does on getting a really high average. I'm also wondering how much awards and community service get considered when taking in to the account your eligibility of a scholorship.

    Another important question, is how much the results of winning reputable programming competitions would affect the impact of my application?

    I realise that my counsellor can answer all of these questions, but I was wondering what you guys have discovered from your experiences. Successes, failures? Please tell.

    By the way, here are the details of the matter. I'm hoping for a full scholorship to get a Masters or PhD in Computer Sciences. I have two medals in grade 11 for "Highest Grade In Communication Technologies", "Highest Grade In Computer Engineering". I have a medal in grade 10 for "High Honour Roll".

    I'm actually in grade 11, so I got those awards last year. The reason I got those grade 11 awards in grade 10 is because the courses didn't have prerequisites. I'm hoping I'll get some more this year to add to that collection. Then I've still got grade 12 to work really hard at.

    Out of the grade 12 courses I decided to take this year, I've got 100% in computer sciences (which I'll be getting the award for), and a 97% average.

    Then in terms of community service, I've helped out the community for about 50 hours without pay. I'll be getting another 50-100 before the end of grade 12.

    I think that's all. Advice? Direction? All comments are appreciated!

    - Sane
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2006 #2
    Hm....i'm not sure its that easy to get a FULL ride to a university just based on what you said but it may be different in Canada.

    I've gotten several scholarships, some I had to write essays for, some just came to be through good grades once your enrolled in the university. I pay for is housing and food the rest is paid for by scholarships/grants.

    Are you ranked #1 in your class? If you are, you may have a better chance of getting some scholarships that other class mates won't but again it doesn't mean you can get a full ride to the college even if you are #1.

    The uni is going to look at all applications, and if someone from another school is better than you, they will choose him/her for the reward.

    What you can hope to get is alot of little grants/scholarships that all add up to alot. But you should probably get writing now if you want to do that.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  4. Nov 6, 2006 #3
    There are books that list hundreds of scholarship programs

    try going to a bookstore and looking for some books like that
  5. Nov 6, 2006 #4
    Well, those awards that I listed are for getting the top grade in the class. And I still have the rest of grade 11 and 12 to top up on more awards (including the computer science award I'll be getting).

    Most scholorships don't just award once to the best applicant though, do they? I know there are an unlimited number of scholorships from York University for anyone who gets an average over 80. The higher your average, the more money they allocate to you. I'm not sure if I want to go that route though, it could only get me so far.

    And by a "full scholorship", I mean a scholorship that can be renewed yearly through retaining marks, and pays for my tuition and books (not necessarily residence or food).

    This Thursday I'll be going to an information session for the University of Waterloo. Hopefully I'll get a list of all the scholorships they're handing out there.
  6. Nov 6, 2006 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Step 1. Learn how to spell 'scholarship.'

    Step 2. Don't concern yourself with distant goals like a Master's or Ph.D. program -- scholarships are going to be for your undergraduate education only.

    Step 3. Get your hands on as many scholarship leads as you can, and participate in them. Often you need only write an essay to be considered.

    Step 4. Try to get as broad an education as possible. Pursue internships, college-level classes, community service, and other "horizon widening" experiences.

    Step 5. Attend the school you want to attend, regardless of scholarships. You will be much happier that way.

    - Warren
  7. Nov 6, 2006 #6
    Oh my god! Hahah. I knew there was something finicky about the way I was spelling scholarship. Thanks for pointing that out.

    So scholarships can only cover something like a Bachelor's degree? Yikes! I guess by the time I've got a degree, I'll either be teaching, or have the time and abilities to start making some real money. It shouldn't be a problem.

    Hmm, "horizon widening" experiences. I hope things like programming competitions and science olympics can do me well in that respect. I hear Waterloo highly recognizes achievement in their annual programming competitions, however I'm not entirely confident in my ability to perform well there... Would be worth the experience.

    I like the advice about attending a school I want, reglardless of scholarships, but I'm not sure if that will even be possible. If I'm paying for residence, while trying to get the best out of my education, I might be in debt for a while. I hope I can get the best out of my high-risk RVSP in the mean time.

    Thanks for the replies and advice. :)
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  8. Nov 6, 2006 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You can get "scholarships" to attend graduate school, also, but it's an entirely different sort of system. Generally, graduate school is "free" -- you work as a teaching assistant, for example, in return for tuition.

    Absolutely! Anything you can do that sets you apart from other students will work in your favor. Entering such a competition looks good; placing in it looks even better.

    Education is the best investment you'll ever make, even if you have to pay for every dollar of it out of your own pocket. Certainly, try for the scholarships -- but don't pass on a school you really want to attend just because you're afraid of the bill. Your increased earning potential after school will pay for your education many times over.

    - Warren
  9. Nov 7, 2006 #8
    if you're looking at going to UWaterloo for math, take the Euclid math contest seriously and look at getting involved in math seminars, clubs and whatnot. There's a number of scholarships from the math faculty for people who place high in the euclid as well as participating in extracurricular math-related activities. Also, I think that there's a similar contest for Physics run by the physics department, but I'm not sure about how the awards work for that.

    In general, try to keep your grades up but also remember that for the top scholarships, you're competing against other top students with very high grades, and when it comes down to it, the extracurricular activities end up being a major deciding factor. The thing is though, simply volunteering an X number of hours around the community isn't necessarily all that impressive. Ideally, when it comes down to extracurriculars, what they usually look for is leadership.

    Also, like the others mentioned, try to look ahead and make sure to consider your options with things other than money in mind. Remember that you're going to be going to this school for the next 4 or 5 years, and consider things like location, student population, and the variety of academic programs that are offered in your area of interest.
  10. Nov 7, 2006 #9
    Hmm, very good point. You've managed to sway my view on the matter to some degree. I'll have to see where my opportunities lead me ...

    Well, not sure if you missed it, but I said that it will most likely be Computer Science. Luckily, they do have a programming competition. I have to check with my programming teacher about that as soon as possible.

    Yeah, that's the very thing that I'm afraid of. I'm a top student, but not necessarily the top student all around. I'm not sure if a 97-98% average will cut it ...

    Yikes! Well ... if they looked closely enough at my community service, they would discover that I am a basketball coach. Would they see this? Or is that something I should definitely mention on my scholarship application? Otherwise, I'm not sure how else I could present myself as "leader-material", even though I definitely view myself in that light.

    Thank you very much for the advice! :)
  11. Nov 7, 2006 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    you should be asking these questions of the people at waterloo.

    full ride academic schoalrships were available in the 1960's to the college of your chopice if you finished high enough on the sat and got a merit scholarship from the merit scholar corporatioon.

    those schoalrships are worth comparatively little today, but they have been supplemented by some colleges who use the supplements to attract top students. the difference is you have to go to these lower ranked colleges which offer these schoalrships. top schools do not have to o this to get good studnts.

    for example universitty of georgia offers rather good "foundation fellowships" to people at the level of merit scholars. but you have to go to uga. one of the universities of alabama used to also offer them.

    some of these schools actually offer a very good education, since good students are appreciated there. but you will not find the stimlalting environment of a top school, where the whole student body is highly motivated and interesting, and the faculty are famous.

    on tyhe other hand, if you do well even at one of the mid level colleges, you can still get into a top grad school, where as warren has said, the tuition is usually free or at least supplemented, for those willing to do some teaching.
  12. Nov 8, 2006 #11
    I had a very similar situation four years ago, though I was applying to Software Engineering at University of Waterloo and Engineering Science at University of Toronto. Quite a few more volunteer hours than you spent coordinating a bunch of other students to train people in Computer & Internet use, did very well on the Waterloo contests (especially the CCC, their computing contest, where I went on to an International competition), and got the Governor General's Academic medal (aka graduated #1 grade in my school).

    Neither U of T nor U of W offered me anything. Nada. McMaster, which I only applied to because you get to apply to three for the same price as one, offered me $5000 / year assuming I could maintain an 80 average -- which I'm almost certain I could have, because I did it at U of T -- which is almost a full ride. But I didn't want to go to McMaster.

    It's not merely the numbers as you see them on your report card. Mine was a 94% average. But different high schools measure this differently. I'm told I was actually rate-adjusted to 102% for the purposes of admissions (I should like to know what their formula is that allows me past 100%), but that too few people from my school had received scholarships for them to be able to adjust my grade for scholarship consideration, so that remained 94%. A lot of schools in downtown Toronto will adjust things downward, because grade inflation is more rampant there.

    Take the Euclid too. Math is important to computer science and they will look at it. Even if you were going to something where math is barely relevant, that one could impress them.

    Go for it. You have not much to lose, and much to gain. But don't sweat it too much if you don't get the full ride. I think I should have been a serious contender, and I got nothing from my schools of choice. It is sort of like missing out on a small lottery by one number, but this is the sort of thing you should be uncompromising about.
  13. Nov 8, 2006 #12
    That's very unfortunate. It's sad to say, but I'm hoping that the same doesn't happen to me. Mad props on getting to the internationals for the CCC. That's my goal. I'll be able to do it if I don't crack up.

    About the Euclid, I'm afraid it won't help much. I'm an above average thinker, but I don't have the discipline in Math to try to achieve an impressive ranking in a Mathematics contest. I'm a dedicated and hard worker, to the things I enjoy doing. That applies to programming. I've placed high in my school, previously in the Cayley and Pascal, but not the top 3.

    On the other hand, my high school's program only accepts people who have been psycholigically identified as gifted, so we have much greater standards. Our school placed in the top 40 out of all of Canada (thousands of schools) in the Euclid, for average score, last year I believe? As well, I have the next two years to prepare for the Euclid, which I already have education in Introductory and Advanced Functions, Introductory and Advanced Calculus, and Discrete Mathematics background for ... I'm still not looking too hopeful about it.
  14. Nov 8, 2006 #13
    You have to do math contests. Everyone does math contests. Who cares if you don't think you'll do well? Do it and see.

    Also look into doing http://oldweb.uwp.edu/academic/mathematics/usaco/" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  15. Nov 8, 2006 #14
    Well, I just said I have already twice (Cayley and Pascal), and plan to do the next two (Fermat and Euclid). Just not getting my hopes up. It should be enjoyable, though. I think my ability to cheat with Calculus will help a fair bit.
  16. Nov 8, 2006 #15

    Don't be so quick to dismiss the Euclid contest. The school of computer science is a part of the Faculty of Mathematics, so you're actually eligible to receive entrance scholarships from the faculty of math (and like I mentioned before, the big ones depend a lot on the Euclid)
    More importantly, preparing for the Euclid will help you prepare for your first year more than any of your highschool math courses will.

    Also, your first year schedule will pretty much be identical to that of an honours math student, which means that you'll be taking one CS course per term for your first year, along with two math courses (algebra, and calculus) each term, so right now, try and get out of the mindset that math isn't that big of a deal for you since you're going into CS.
  17. Nov 8, 2006 #16
    I never said anything about not considering it a big deal. I enjoy Math. I've taken 3 more Math courses than my high school requires me to graduate, and I haven't even reached the final year yet. All I said is I'm not looking too hopefully, because I'm not the best in my school at it.

    I even have a credit for first year University Calculus (at the age of 15). I'm taking it again next year. And I still plan to take it even when I do get to University, regardless that I have got the credit twice already. Haha...
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006
  18. Nov 8, 2006 #17
    *coughoveracheivercough*:rofl: i could have done that if my shool would have offered it to me :cool: lol maybe not i'm only 14

    Maybe you should worry the most about actually getting accepted and then search for schoalrships afterwards
  19. Nov 8, 2006 #18
    That's a bad idea. Many scholarships are applicable to any university in the country. Also, the more the OP knows about the scholarships, the better the OP's chance of obtaining one. In the US, many students have a ton of scholarship money before even being accepted to a university.
  20. Nov 9, 2006 #19
    Damn it ... I missed the University session because I slept in ...

    @Ki Man : I'm not worried about getting accepted. If you have the money and grades, it's nothing difficult. Plus, I will probably need to start writing applications and getting letters of recommendation soon. Scholarships seem like more of a priority than actually applying at the moment. Heh.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook