With the costs of college and veterinary education increasing almost every year, it is important to apply to as many scholarships as possible to try to offset these costs. Please know that some of the links below are affiliate links.
Remember that the fewer loans you have to take out, the less compounded interest you’ll have over the years. So start collecting scholarships in high school that can help you out with undergraduate debt, and continue applying to scholarships throughout college and veterinary school. With many vet students graduating with $250,000 or more in debt, these steps can help you out in the future.
Our goal is to help you get as many scholarships as possible! We’ll show you how you can search for them, as well as provide a list of scholarships we’ve already looked into!
The first step is to create a spreadsheet of the scholarships you’re interested in and/or that apply to you so that you can add and find information easily. Keep it somewhat simple: Name, deadline, how much it awards, if you’ve applied to it or not, and a notes section where, among other things, you can add a hyperlink or the physical book where you found it and the application requirements. Subscribe and we’ll send you our own spreadsheet!
Now that you’re organized, let’s get started!
1. How to find scholarships
Make sure to search both online and in physical books. Remember, the more you find and apply to, greater the potential reward!
You can start with our compilation of scholarships for veterinary students on our resources page. We try to keep it up to date and add more as we find them!
Then move on to books dedicated to listing scholarships. Examples include Scholarships, Grants & Prizes 2019, The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2019, Scholarship Handbook 2018 (wait for the 2019 edition), and if applicable, Ontario Scholarships – 2019 Edition. And don’t forget to check your local library as well!
Plus, if you’re applying to college, make sure to check your high school career center! You should also check out resources available to you based on your cultural background, as well as ask your friends and family. You never know what opportunities are out there!
It is unlikely that you’ll score a scholarship that will completely cover the entire cost associated with college or vet school. However, multiple smaller scholarships can go a long way! Apply to every applicable scholarship and don’t be bummed out if you don’t get it – the more applications you send out, the more likely it is that you will get one!
3. Letters of recommendation/reference
As you’ll find out later in your veterinary career, letters of recommendation are essential. And no matter where you are in your career, it will always be awkward to ask someone to write you a letter.
The main goal is to have really strong letters that demonstrate your own brand of excellence. Most of your high school teachers or college/vet school professors will be happy to provide you with one, assuming you have a good relationship with them and are a good student.
Provide your references with important information such as your overall goals; a copy of your CV/resume, since this will allow them to write a more personal letter, and specific information that the scholarship requires them to comment on.
The easier you make it for them, the better the letter will be and you’ll get it back faster as well! This brings me to the next point – give your references plenty of time to write them. You do not want letters to be written in a rush. Always let your references know when the deadline is, and you can always check in by simply asking if there’s any additional information you can provide to help them with the letter. This achieves two things: reminds them they have a letter to write, and shows that you are serious about this endeavor.
4. Writing the essays
In order to get a scholarship, your essay needs to stand out (in a good way, obviously!). If every single one of the 900 applicants writes about the same thing, how are they supposed to decide who gets the scholarship? You’ll just end up on the “no” pile.
You’ll have to figure out how to be unique. Start by writing down notes on what most people will write about, and then write about something clever, unique and different from everyone else. Make sure it’s personal and meaningful to you!
As with other application processes, make sure these things happen:
– Before submitting your applications, confirm that you have met and completed all the requirements
– Have other people proofread your essays. This can include professors, friends or your parents. Two to three people will suffice.
5. Repeat – every year!
After all, the more scholarships you get, the less debt you’ll have after you finish college and/or vet school. Yes, it takes a bit more effort to apply, but it can definitely pay off in the end!
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Plus, you’ll get a spreadsheet that’ll help you keep track of all the scholarships you’ll be applying to!