We've all heard about the news report: University tuition is skyrocketing and students are graduating with a heavy debt of student loans. Luckily there are plenty of generous donors and organizations out there who fund numerous scholarships, and all you have to do is to apply. The deadlines of some of the most prestigious Canadian scholarships are fast approaching; interested students should allocate time to search and apply for suitable scholarships.

Scholarship applications should not be left to the last minute, especially those that require a nomination from your school. The Loran Scholar Program, for example, has two routes for applicants: The sponsored pool or direct pool. Each high school may sponsor 3 students and CEGEPs (for Quebec students) may sponsor 5 students. The sponsored applications have in-person interview, whereas the direct applicants have a telephone interview. Students must determine which interview style and application route they think is best for themselves. However, it is also important to take into consideration that in the past, more sponsored students has received the Loran Award and made to the semi-finals than direct pool student recipients. Another upcoming scholarship that requires a school nomination is the Schulich Leader Scholarship. Each high school may sponsor 1 student and CEGEPs may sponsor 2 students. Students must be sponsored in order to be eligible for the scholarship, meaning there is no direct pool. Each school has its own set of guidelines as to how the sponsored candidate will be chosen. The best way to secure your chances of becoming the sponsored candidate is to talk to your guidance counsellors (or the selection committee) and find out the exact criteria and nominee selection process. In our 2014 Young Scholar Seminar, two Schulich Leaders and a Loran Scholar shared their experiences and tips in applying for these prestigious scholarships.

When it comes to scholarship applications, practice makes perfect. For every application you complete, you will become more experienced and aware of any mistake you may have made in the previous applications. Students who win the most prestigious scholarships may not have as many accomplishments as you, but they will still win. Why? These students are able to market themselves and persuade the scholarship committee that they deserve this scholarship. All winning applications leave a memorable impression on the scholarship committee that makes them stand out from the crowd.

After an in-depth discussion with past successful scholarship recipients and scholarship selection committee professionals about their thought process when analyzing an application, the 3P's (Plan, Prepare, Prosper) was established. The 3P's is designed to act as a starting point and guideline for students. The following strategy will help you think, plan, and write your application like a scholarship winner.