Microscholarships

In 2016 the Faculties of Engineering and Mathematics joined a “microscholarships” platform in the U.S., launched by Raise.me in San Francisco.  A microscholarship is a small award for some achievement, for example $10 for getting an “A” in a course.  If a student with a bunch of achievements applies, is accepted, and attends the college offering the microscholarships, then they receive that award (or more, depending on other scholarships, etc.).  The Raise.me online platform provides a way for high school students to document their activities and achievements, and to search for colleges that might be a good fit.  It’s a social innovation that is meant to encourage students to think about post-secondary education and to see what various colleges offer and value in their applicants.

At this time it’s only available to US high school students, and we have a sign up page available where those students can see more about Waterloo.  Eventually Raise.me hopes to roll it out to Canada and other countries.  For us, it’s an interesting outreach tool and we already have several thousand “followers” on the platform.  We will continue to experiment with it and see what role it can play in matching us with good students.

Entrance Scholarships

For applicants to Waterloo Engineering, we have a selection of scholarships that range from ones based on only the admission marks (Merit and President’s Awards) to others that are based on both marks and extracurricular information.  For making these awards, we use the Admission Information Form (AIF) evaluation, so no other application is required for most of the internal Waterloo scholarships.  People seem to like that we keep it simple this way.

There is one exception to this, for one of our major awards:  the Suncor Energy Emerging Leaders Award, worth up to $10,000 for applicants to Chemical, Civil, Environmental or Mechanical Engineering.  From the awards website:  “These scholarships are funded by a generous donation from Suncor in recognition of the outstanding programs at the University of Waterloo and to meet the needs of the Canadian oil and gas industry through trained human resources capable of playing a leadership role in the sector.”

Aside from the money, this is quite a nice scholarship because it also includes other events and mentorship opportunities, such as an annual banquet on campus and possible work term employment.  Suncor is a major player in the Canadian energy sector, both petroleum and renewable energy.

The exception about this award is that a separate application is required.  In the past, this was a form to be filled out and submitted to us, but new this year is an online video interview process hosted by Kira Talent.  You can see more information about the interview system from this link.  The nice thing is that it can be done at a time that is convenient for you, and the interview is stored for later review by us.

We think that the interview will allow applicants for this scholarship to put forward a better case than the dry old paper form allowed.  So I would definitely encourage applicants to Chemical, Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering to give it a try and see if they can win this significant award.  Deadline for this year is March 18 2016.

A few other comments about scholarships in general:

  • There are no “full-ride” scholarships offered through Waterloo Engineering.  The $10,000 level is about the highest they go, although you may be able to find higher ones from external foundations using a scholarship database.
  • These entrance awards are not available to transfer applicants, only for those attending a post-secondary institution for the first time.
  • Waterloo is relatively young (established in 1957) and doesn’t have huge endowments for scholarships, so the amounts are relatively modest.  You might receive higher scholarship offers from other institutions, but remember that the paid co-op work experience can make up any difference, and then some.