Do It Now: Earn Money and Add an Accomplishment to Your Resume

Hello, friends at Ryerson. As a recent graduate (Woohoo, RTA Class of 2016!!) I’ve had some priceless experiences and opportunities at Ryerson. While maintaining a full course load throughout my four years of undergrad, I was fortunate to be able to work various rewarding jobs. It’s all about time management, just working hard at accomplishing what you need to do.

One of the best things I’ve done with all of my past work experiences (including volunteer positions and internships) is applying for grants, scholarships, and awards. Over the past four years, I’ve received over $40,000 just by applying for the money that is out there for students. This money wasn’t a loan,or any type of financial assistance. You can be in the same boat!

Since entering Ryerson University, I never stopped looking for ways to maximize my status as a student. Between the ages of 18-23, I believe that this is the ideal time to take advantage of the fact that society wants to invest in you. It might sound far-fetched, but you can get thousands of dollars over the summer months, just by dedicating a few hours a week. I want to share how I did it, and some resources that you should check out for yourself.

First and foremost, have a good resume. Almost all scholarships, internships, conferences—you name it—will require one from you. If you’re a current Ryerson student, you can book a 1:1 meeting with a Resume and Online Profile Advisor at Ryerson’s very own Career Centre. Within 30 minutes, you’ll get a professional look through your resume, with no cost. They’re located at the podium building, POD250. Here’s the link to book an appointment: Fun fact: alumni can use the Career Centre’s resources for up to five years after graduation, for free!

The Career Centre also offers other free services, such as getting your headshot taken, or meeting with a Career Consultant (there are dedicated consultants for every faculty or department at Ryerson).

Secondly, don’t be turned off by the need to write an essay. This is not a hard thing to do. Most essays will ask you WHY you are interested in going on a conference abroad, or why you deserve a particular scholarship. I know that it can seem daunting to have to write a 500 or 1,000 word essay while it’s sunny outside… but you’ll thank yourself (trust me, I’ve thanked myself countless times) when you’re on an all-expenses paid conference because of one little essay you wrote.

Thirdly, never be discouraged when your application is not accepted, or if you don’t land the scholarship. Time and time again, I find it unfortunate that students don’t apply to opportunities because they’re already discouraged. What if it’s not worthwhile? What if there are just too many other great students applying for the same thing? Well, you really do miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. It’s true that there are thousands of other students around the world who might be smarter, more experienced, or just plain old luckier. However, that should never be the reasons to stop you from being another applicant.

If you find that you don’t meet qualifications for a certain application, keep it on the back burner. Save it. My own way to keep watch on scholarships or conferences is to have a designated folder in one of my email accounts that has email drafts full of links.

Check out the websites below to find great opportunities for yourself:
Youth Opportunities

Whenever I visit this site, the amount of international opportunities that are FULLY PAID FOR astounds me. Yes, it’s competitive. However, who says that you’re not one of the top competitors? I encourage more and more Canadian students to apply for conferences and work positions abroad. In my personal experience, I was either the only Canadian or just one of a few Canadians at a conference or event. If you’re a minority, you tend to be more special, which is a good thing (well, at least I think) among young keeners and leaders from so many different backgrounds.

Opportunity Desk

I love this site for a few reasons. The top reason is that it’s updated regularly, and it immediately shows when the applications for scholarships, fellowships, conferences, and competitions are due or have passed. There are so many different types of opportunities all over the world. I visit this website often, and my eyes light up when I see very specific requirements for various conferences… because I know that if I can fit these requirements, my chances of going to the conference is higher. What’s more, the authors of these posts include lots of detail, aid direct links to submit applications.

Ryerson Scholarships and Awards

Ryerson offers a number of internal scholarships, and the ones you’re most likely familiar with are the entrance scholarships. If you did well in high school, these basic cash giveaways are easy to get. However, you should take a closer look at external scholarships, or special category scholarships. Our school has hundreds of thousands of dollars to award to deserving students. It could be you… only if you make yourself known.


Good luck!