What Makes a Winning Application?

Three simple tips to help you land that coveted scholarship.


Make the application look good. Read the Application Guidelines and take them seriously. Follow all rules concerning font size, line spacing, margins, page limits, etc. Pages that exceed the specified limit may be discarded. Break up the text into paragraphs and white space. Vary the appearance of the printed page by using boldface type, underlining, subheadings and indentations, where appropriate.

Make the application read well. Your writing must be clear and concise. Selection committee members may not have a specialized knowledge of your area of research. Avoid jargon and technical language. Be sure to define any acronyms or abbreviations the first time they are used. Use short sentences. Do not use a big word where a smaller word will do.

Make yourself sound great. Generally, your application will be evaluated in the following three areas: achievements and activities, academic performance, and characteristics and abilities. Your personal attributes will be assessed based on reports provided by referees. Choose individuals who know you and who are in a position to assess your abilities. Provide them with a copy of your proposal and CV and detailed instructions.

Qualities that should be emphasized in your letters of support: critical thinking; independence; perseverance; originality; organizational skills; interpersonal and leadership abilities; interest in discovery; and research ability or potential.

At UBC, there are lots of great funding opportunities for both master?s and doctoral students, domestic and international. Compared to other Canadian institutions, UBC doctoral students for example are among the most successful in obtaining federal scholarships.

Review the award opportunities available to graduate students. Speak with your supervisor, departmental graduate advisor and your peers about the various awards programs open to students in your particular field of study.