9 tips to cash in with the CPA Education Foundation
We’ve compiled these nine tips to help you navigate the tricky road to scholarship glory. Past recipients of the Foundation’s scholarship program also weighed in with their words of wisdom to help you find your competitive edge:
- Exhaust your resources. Take a little time to do online research on available scholarships, meet with academic advisors and career centres, and keep an eye out at sponsored events (especially those put on by CPA Alberta!). “I learned about Foundation scholarships from the CPA Alberta Get Connected Event I attended in January, as well as from the University of Alberta Accounting Club newsletter,” says Molly Moore, 2016 recipient of the James C. Miller FCA Bursary in Accounting.
- Make note of deadlines. Scholarship applications require time and we know how short-on-time students tend to feel! However, an application that arrives before the deadline really attests to a student’s work ethic, which works in your favour when the review committee considers your application.
- Apply for the scholarships that are right for you. Christina Figueora, recipient of the 2016 Peter Kruczko CPA, CA Award in Memory of Gordon Woodman FCA, advises that being selective can strengthen your application: “I applied knowing that I’d be entering a competitive pool of qualified and accomplished students. So, I chose a scholarship that spoke to my own strengths so I could devote time to making sure I stood out from the crowd.”
- Read the application requirements carefully. Foundation scholarships are awarded on a points system based on application specifications. So, double check to make sure you’ve completed all the tasks set out in the criteria and that you included all necessary elements in your application package.
- Go ahead and brag. Your scholarship application is your opportunity to sell yourself, so don’t be shy about your accomplishments and goals. You want us to remember you, so be confident. Pinder Sangha, 2015 recipient of the Richard Schulli CA Memorial Scholarship, says: “Never let uncertainty cloud your mind. Show the adjudicators that you have taken the time to invest in your education. The CPA Education Foundation is here to help you bring out the best in yourself.”
- Make the most out of recommendation letters. The Foundation makes it easy for students: you can use the same recommendation letter for multiple scholarship applications. However, make sure your references know which scholarships you’re applying for and consider offering your reference a list of accomplishments to help them personalize your letter. We want to know how you’re an exceptional person.
- If you have a financial need, tell us about it. It’s not always a defining factor we look for but we know every little bit helps to fund your educational goals. “The money you can receive makes a noticeable difference and alleviates stress,” confirms Anson Leung, 2014 recipient of the Douglas R. Hagerman FCA Entrance Scholarship. So if you have a financial need, take a sentence or two to let us know.
- Proofread. We recognize that writing might not be your forté, but we appreciate students who take the time to put together a well-formulated application package that is polished to the best of their abilities.
- Just go for it. Don’t let the fear of competition or burden of putting together an application prevent you from applying. We love individualism and Foundation scholarships emphasize a variety of talents, regardless of whether your interests lie in volunteering, leadership, academic excellence, or community building. Andrew Min, 2016 Recipient of the Young Emerging Professionals High School Award, knows what it’s like to get over that hump. “I was reluctant to apply initially,” he says, “but from looking at the required contents of the application, I realized that the scholarship was suitable for me and I had nothing to lose by applying.”
For a full list of scholarships from the CPA Education Foundation, go here: http://www.cpaalberta.ca/Foundation/Support-Programs/Scholarships