Five Insider Tips to Secure Graduate Funding

By Concordia University - School of Graduate Studies Modified on January 16, 2018

Avoid common pitfalls and develop habits that will help you write a winning application.


Graduate awards not only provide students with funding to focus on their research, they also recognize winners for their outstanding achievements and look great on a CV.

Cynthia Raso, Manager of Graduate Awards and Postdoctoral Studies at Concordia University, offers five insider tips to help you stand out from the crowd and secure funding for your studies.

  1. 1. START EARLY Reach out to your referees well before the application deadline to give them enough time to write a strong letter of recommendation. Waiting until the last minute might result in a weak reference or missing the deadline to submit.
  2. 2. GET OTHERS TO READ YOUR SUBMISSION Always have a number of people review your application, especially the research component. Non-experts can also provide valuable feedback and identify areas that will be too confusing for a generalized review committee.
  3. 3. USE THE SPACE PROVIDED If you are given one page to write about your research project, don’t just write a paragraph or two. Also, make sure to correct all spelling and grammatical mistakes before submitting your application.
  4. 4. SUBMIT BEFORE THE OFFICIAL DEADLINE DATE Most students who apply for federal and provincial awards submit their applications on the day they are due. Give yourself a day or two before the actual deadline date so you avoid any errors or problems with the submissions process.
  5. 5. CONTACT YOUR DEPARTMENT Internal awards are often administered by departments or programs. Get in touch with your department to ask about their nomination processes and what awards you are eligible to apply for.

Writing a successful award application is hard work and may take a few tries before you get it right. Just remember that it’s always better to get rejected than to miss out on an award you could have won.

Find out more about Concordia University’s graduate programs and funding opportunities.