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Looking for ways to fund your studies? Apply for an external award!

There are prizes for students in every discipline — here’s how to find them
October 6, 2020
By Kathryn Jezer-Morton

Books on a desk, with a fountain pen, and a shelf of books in the background. | Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash Stephanie Sarik: “Take your chance and apply. If you don’t try, you certainly won’t win.” | Photo: Aaron Burden.

Funding your education often requires patience, diligence and hard work — but it also helps to know where to look for help. External awards are granted by foundations, companies and other entities outside Concordia, and there are awards out there for students — undergraduate and graduate — in every discipline.

Unlike scholarship and loan programs offered by governments, the requirements and deadlines for external awards vary widely. So it’s worthwhile to conduct a search every few months to see if any new deadlines are coming up.

Start by searching for external awards that might be a good fit for you. There are award opportunities for all types of students, with eligibility based on your field of study, country of origin, heritage or research interests, among many other criteria.

To find awards for candidates that match your profile, you can create a customized search on Concordia’s external awards page and access some of the external awards that the Financial Aid and Awards team have already identified. You can also use an external search engine to create a custom search and find awards administered from all over Canada.

Award amounts vary widely. Stephanie Sarik, director of Concordia’s Financial Aid and Awards Office, encourages students to try for both big and small. “There’s a wide variety of requirements within award applications,” she says. “If you can receive $500 for doing something relatively undemanding, like writing a short essay, why not try?”

Sarik also reminds students to ensure that their own interests align with the funders of the awards they apply for. Read beyond the award amount and required application materials, and find out a bit about what the funding entity works on and what kind of impact they’re hoping to make. The information should be included in the award description. Knowing this can help you improve your application and assist you in deciding which awards might be a better fit than others.

Above all, external awards are opportunities that are lying in wait for students who take the time to diligently search through them.

“Take your chance and apply,” Sarik adds. “You never know who else is going to be competing. Sometimes awards go unfilled, because too many people think that they wouldn’t have a chance at winning. And if you don’t try, you certainly won’t win.”

Check out
Concordia’s external awards page and find the funding that’s right for you.




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