CUSA introduces personal scholarship advice

Zuberi Attard, the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) scholarship co-ordinator, held a scholarship workshop for the Humanitarian Organization of Latin American Students (HOLAS) on Nov. 24.

The workshop is part of an ongoing campaign to give students tips and tools to make their applications more effective, and to spread the word about “ScholarPro.” ScholarPro is a new scholarship aid service that CUSA has recently begun offering to students.

“It’s extra money, it’s fast money, and it’s free money. You don’t have to pay any of this money back, which is amazing,” Attard said.

According to him, scholarships also provide students with networking opportunities, and recognition that can be critical to success in a competitive job market.

“I’ve seen students get jobs, internships through scholarships. It’s unbelievable,” Attard said.

In his presentation to HOLAS, Attard said that roughly $15 million in scholarships go unclaimed every year in Canada. According to him, one of the main reasons students are hesitant to apply for scholarships is because they are perceived to be reserved for community-involved achievers with high grades.

“The stigma around trying to apply for a scholarship is that students think that they’re super competitive,” Attard said. “That’s just not true.”

He said ScholarPro works to address both the student stigma towards scholarships, and bridge the gap between students and scholarship institutions.

For a fee of $55, Attard provides students with a personalized list of scholarships that they are eligible for, and a 50-page consulting booklet with essay templates, and scholarship application tips. As part of the service, Attard provides one-on-one consultations with students to help them with their applications. 

Attard experimented with the service for six to nine months before he partnered with CUSA in September to launch the program in earnest, and create the scholarship co-ordinator position.

According to CUSA president Zameer Masjedee, Attard has consulted with 130 students to date, and is on track to consult with 70 students in November.

So far, Attard said he has helped Carleton students earn more than $5,000 in scholarships. Ndutta Njoroge, a student who won $1,000 with the help of ScholarPro, said she believes that she would not have found these awards without the service. 

“Many people don’t know about scholarships, because number one, they don’t look, and number two, they don’t know where to look . . . We don’t know what we qualify for,” Njoroge said. “By having [ScholarPro] there, it simplifies the whole process.”

“I want every student I work with to get a scholarship, that’s it . . . that’s what gets me excited,” Attard said.

Photo by Aaron Hemens