What’s the difference between Fellowships, Scholarships, and Full Admission Funding to Study in Canada?
The objective of this blog is to explain the differences between the four buckets of funding available to Canadian and International Students wanting to study in Canada and explain the pros and cons of each category so that you can choose the bucket that best suits your needs and plan accordingly from there.
There are four categories, or what I like to call “buckets” of funding for grad students. These four buckets consist of:
- Graduate Fellowships,
- Graduate Scholarships,
- Admission (full) Funding Packages, and
- what I like to call “Follow the Stars” Strategy.
What is a Fellowship?
A Fellowship is a research project that has been initiated or triggered by a professor or research institution when funding is available and when one specific research objective has to be met.
It’s immediate: when a fellowship position is posted, it means funding is available and the professor is looking for someone NOW (or in the very near future).
It’s straightforward: The professor or person posting the opening is usually the main decision maker. So when you submit your application, you can expect that the decision process to be relatively straight forward, aka your application won’t have to go through a big committee before you find out whether you are chosen or not.
Time consuming: Fellowships can take more of your time because you have to customize your application for each specific project. This is because professors are looking for someone who can hit the ground running on their project. You applications must meet all of their individual criteria.
What is a Scholarship?
A scholarship is a pre-determined sum of money that is offered or granted by a university, or institution (could be public or private) towards a broad research topic or specialty.
Predictable. Scholarships are offered pretty regularly. There are specific dates and you know your exact deadlines. Procedures are pretty clear and the application process is very straightforward.
Broader Scope. Scholarships aren’t overly specific so you have a little more freedom concerning the area of focus you are applying for. Here at Studdys, we’ve done our best to list only the scholarships that offer students a generous amount. This means the Studdys listed scholarships are worthwhile to apply for as they offer a pretty large chunk of change.
Competitive. Scholarships are generally known and relatively well marketed. This makes for fierce competition.
Long application approval process. The application approval process can be a little bit long because scholarships have a committee based selection process. This means that in order to be awarded a scholarship, many committee members with different scientific or academic backgrounds have to agree that your application is the most qualified of all other applications received, and this can take a really long time. There can be a lot of conflict between experts while reviewing scholarship applications, so your application must appeal to everyone’s unique requirements.
What is a Funding Package?
This is a secret that is, unfortunately, not known to many students. Here’s the deal: 70-80% of universities offer funding packages to pay tuition and board automatically upon admission. As soon as you are admitted, the university guarantees you will receive funding.
Some graduate programs guarantee funding for tuition and board while others guarantee employment for 2- 12 hours per week making anywhere from $20-$30 per hour.
Flexible. You can find or apply for any graduate program you are interested in and work with any university researcher or professor. It is less restrictive compared to a fellowship where you are tied to a very specific research project. In this case, you just need to find a professor that suits your graduate study interest. The professor that you approach will usually be more amicable to accepting your application since he or she is not “burdened” to find funding for you.
Time Consuming. Sometimes approaching these professors can be time consuming because they aren’t responsive. It can take some time and you to find a professor that will suit your needs as a research director. It is a little leg work but you well worth it!
What is “Follow the Stars?”
I came up with the term “Follow the Stars” because in academia, there are “stars” of the research community. These “stars” are researchers and professors who are well known for providing influential research in their field. These researchers and professors are granted large sums of money from granting agencies to conduct further research in the area of their expertise. In each university, there are 5 or 6 of these “stars” and they have huge projects.
Funding is there. Professors are granted huge sums of moneys and run research project that require large groups of researchers. Because these “stars” are required to write endless number of reports and consistently publish their research, they end up becoming more like an administrator than a researcher. They therefore require a lot of students to conduct the research so they are always on the lookout for new a graduate students (which is great news for you!)
Can be easy. If you know how to approach them and you know where to find them… it is extremely easy to hop on these projects and get the funding that goes with it.
Flexibility. The professors and researchers are flexible and allow you to research an area you are interested in as long as your area of interest helps them reach their final research objective
Quick turnaround. They are very quick to say yes or no. These people are all about getting things done. This means that they are pretty straightforward and relatively easy to approach, provided you use the right approach.
Can be hard to find. Because these stars are very busy and they are constantly running these huge groups of research, they don’t always take the time to update their webpage with openings or funding availability. So finding available research groups can become very difficult, and because of that, there are a lot of missed opportunities.
At Studdys, we have scoured every of these Canadian experts pages, and uncovered all these gold nuggets. We’ve compiled a unique database of professors who have funding available and are looking for students to join their research group. So now you can focus on securing grad school funding rather than searching endlessly for these hidden opportunities.
As you can see, each of these funding options will require a very specific strategy. As soon as you understand the pros and cons of each bucket, and decide which bucket works best for you, you can customize your strategy to meet your objective.
Studdys is here to help make the process of finding available funding easy, whether you decide to apply for a Fellowship, Scholarship, Funding Package or you want to Reach for the Stars. So take a look around, you are one step closer to affording grad school!