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How to Apply for Student Awards

You can view and apply for student awards twice a year:

Spring (March – July): for students enrolled in programs in the upcoming academic year

Fall (September – October): for students enrolled in programs in the current academic year

When our application is live, you will see a list of student awards on our main student awards page.

The application requirements for student awards can differ depending on student award criteria selected by our donors. However, our student awards process is streamlined and consists of many common requirements so that you can complete them in a reasonable timeframe and begin to prepare your application in advance.

Consider the tips below to ensure your application stands out to our selections committees.


Student Awards Application Video Tutorial (open in Internet Explorer)

Student Awards Application Tutorial – Print Version (PDF 1.34MB)


Many of our student awards require the completion of essay questions. The following are examples of questions that may be asked on your student award application. Take some time to reflect on each of these questions and begin making some notes to prepare.

  • Provide us with an overview of: Why you chose your program/field of study; your career aspirations and educational goals and how an NSCC education and previous experience has prepared you for this career; and why you believe you will succeed in your chosen profession upon graduation.
  • Provide a summary of your participation in extra-curricular activities and/or volunteer work /community involvement. Please include the names of organizations, the time periods in which you were involved, and a description of your duties for each activity.
  • Outline, in a brief essay, the challenges and obstacles you have overcome in order to obtain your education. How has being an NSCC student reshaped the direction of your life? How will this award make a significant impact on your goals?

Financial Needs Assessment

Financial need is a common criteria for many student awards and to help determine your unmet need you will be asked to complete a detailed financial section of the application. To help you prepare, take a look at our needs assessment (XLS 24KB) and start documenting your expenses and resources for the academic year. Make sure to read this section carefully and review your numbers to ensure they are accurate.


Depending on the student awards you apply for, you may be asked to complete references to support your application. In total, there are three possible reference types you might be asked to provide. Preview the reference information below and make special note of who you will approach, should you be required to submit reference(s) with your awards application.

  1. Reference Letter – the student award description will state specifically who should complete the reference letter and what qualities and/or experiences to address.
  2. General Reference Questionnaire (PDF 96KB) – standardized form to be completed by an individual who has provided supervision to you in the past. Preferred parties include faculty, teacher, employer/supervisor, community organization.
  3. Community Service Reference Questionnaire (PDF 92KB) – standardized form to be completed by a member of a community organization who has provided supervision over volunteer activities.

Common Mistakes

The following are some common student award application mistakes. To ensure your application isn't considered void or incomplete, review these tips carefully.

  • Incorrect reference types are submitted. Take the time to double check the type of reference required for the award as well as who specifically can and can't complete it. If references are incorrect, your student awards application will not be considered.
  • Applying for student awards you are not eligible for. Read the student award posting carefully before applying. Make sure to take a moment to read over the eligibility sections of the  posting. You don't want to put time and effort into an application, only to find out you will not be considered because you don't meet all of the requirements.
  • Mistakes with financial section. Adding an additional '0' or missing a field can have a big impact on your calculation for financial need. Be sure to review this section thoroughly before submitting – read all the descriptions carefully to ensure you are providing the correct information needed.

Tips from Past Awards Recipients

We asked some of our past recipients to share their tips in creating a successful student awards application, based on their experience.

  • You need to be able to toot your own horn. Be confident about your achievements and proud of what you are doing to further your education.
  • The best course of action when completing your application is to take your time, be honest, and explain what the award would mean to you.
  • Don't just apply for student awards that you think you stand the best chance at winning, or ones that do not have many application requirements. Taking the time to apply for all awards you are eligible for will only increase your chances of receiving one.

Where to go for help

There are many places to go for assistance with your student awards application: