Guide to US Applications • Undergraduate

What are School-Nominated Scholarships in the US and Canada

POSTED ON 10/04/2022 BY The Red Pen

What are School-Nominated Scholarships in the US and Canada? | The Red Pen

When thinking about studying abroad, you will look at many factors. One of the main things that can drive your decision is cost. While each university has its own tuition fees, which are dependent on many factors, it is possible to ballpark these figures.

In the US, the average yearly out-of-state tuition fees at public four-year institutions were USD 24,930 in 2016-2017 and USD 33,480 at private non-profit four-year institutions for the same time period. In Canada, the cost per year can be CAD 6,463

For those who require financial assistance, there are various funding options available, including loans, grants, financial aid and scholarships. While there are ways that you can apply for these, however, there is a range of scholarships for which only your school counsellor or your school principal can nominate.

What are the most popular school-nominated scholarships for international students?

Here is a list of the most prestigious and popular scholarships in Canada:


Name of University Name of Scholarship Amount Total number awarded
University of Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships It covers tuition, books, incidental fees and full residence support for four years, awarded 37
University of British Columbia International Scholars Program Awards:

  • Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award
  • Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award
  • International Impact Award
  • Vantage One Excellence Award
It covers the full cost of a student’s academic programme and living expenses 50
McMaster University Provost Entrance Scholarship for International Students A total value of CAD 7500 5
McGill University Major Entrance Scholarships CAD 3,000, CAD 5,000 or CAD 10,000 that’s renewable every year
Huron at Western University International Presidential Scholarships It covers 50% of tuition fees annually 10

Here is a list of the most prestigious and popular scholarships in the US:


Name of University Name of Scholarship Amount Total number awarded
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Morehead-Cain Scholarship  It covers full tuition, student fees, housing, meals, books, supplies and miscellaneous expenses  50 to 75
Washington University Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program It covers:

  • Multiple full-tuition scholarships with $2,500 stipends
  • Multiple partial-tuition scholarships which are renewable annually
University of Virginia Jefferson and Walentas Scholarships It covers:

  • The entire cost of attendance for four years
  • Coverage for supplemental enrichment experiences
University of Notre Dame Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program A maximum of USD 25,000 a year 20
University of Rochester Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship It covers:

  • Full-tuition
  • USD 5,000 for academic or professional enrichment
Davidson College John M. Belk Scholarship IIt covers comprehensive costs plus two special opportunity stipends of USD 3,000 each 8
Villanova University Presidential Scholarship It covers full tuition, room, board the general fee and the cost of textbooks 25
Indiana University Bloomington Wells Scholars Program It covers the full cost of attendance 18
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute The Rensselaer Medal A maximum of USD 120,000 for outstanding math and science students

What do these Canadian scholarships look for in a student? What else do I need to be eligible to apply?

1) Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships:

Counsellors can nominate students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and creativity along with leadership qualities. The counsellor will have to show that the student has had a positive impact on the school and community, along with the potential to contribute positively to the global community.

To be eligible for the Pearson International Scholarship, the student must be:

  • An international student
  • In grade 12 or have graduated no earlier than June 2021
  • An incoming student in 2023

2) International Scholars Program Awards:

There are four need-and-merit-based awards. Students will not be allowed to select which award they receive. These awards are:

  • Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award
    This scholarship is ideal for academically excellent students who have demonstrated leadership skills, involvement in student affairs and community service and have been recognised in other key areas.
  • Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award
    This award recognises outstanding international students who come from impoverished or war-torn areas. These students have achieved academic excellence under challenging circumstances and can not attend university without significant financial assistance.
  • International Impact Award
    Based on their commitment to and solutions for social justice issues, climate change, equity and inclusion, societal health and wellness, and freedom of expression, students will be considered for this award.
  • Vantage One Excellence Award
    Offered by UBC Vantage College, this award is for international students who are outstanding academically, but who do not yet meet the English Language Admission Standard for direct admission.

To be eligible for the International Scholars Program Awards, the student must be:

  • An international student
  • Entering UBC from a recognised secondary school, or transferring from your first year at university.
  • Graduated from high school no earlier than the month of June two years prior to the academic year you are applying to
  • Applying for your first undergraduate degree
  • Demonstrate superior academic achievement
  • Demonstrate a level of financial need
  • Meet UBC’s admission requirements, including general and degree-specific requirements and the English Language Admission Standard.

3) Provost Entrance Scholarship for International Students:

For this award, students must have demonstrated both academic merit and involvement in the community, leadership or other non-academic activities.

To be eligible for the Provost Entrance Scholarship for International Students, the student must be:

  • An international student,
  • Currently studying at a high school
  • Entering their first baccalaureate degree programme

4) Major Entrance Scholarships:

These scholarships are determined by selection committees and are awarded to students who have shown superior academic skills and outstanding leadership in school or community activities.

To be eligible for the Major Entrance Scholarships, the student must be:

  • A first-time university student
  • Entering a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • Neither of the following: A transfer, mature, diploma, exchange, special, part-time or visiting student

5) International Presidential Scholarships:

For this scholarship, the student needs to demonstrate heart and mind. It is for students who are committed to the community and want to use their minds to make it better.

To be eligible for the International Presidential Scholarships, the student must:

  • Be an international student
  • Have a predicted grade of 90% or 35 or A or A* in grade 12
  • Demonstrate notable leadership or community service achievements

What do US scholarships look for in a student? What else do I need to be eligible to apply?

1) Morehead-Cain Scholarship:

This scholarship is looking for people who have demonstrated leadership and an authentic love of learning.

To be eligible for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, the student must be:

  • Graduating high school in the spring
  • A competitive applicant to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Demonstrate excellent grades in their overall academic performance

2) Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program:

Students who demonstrate academic and leadership achievements, as well as a passion for community service, can be nominated for this scholarship. They should also demonstrate their commitment to, or a history of, bringing diverse groups together and celebrating the cultures of different people.

To be eligible for the Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program, the student will need to:

  • Be an international student
  • A first-time university student

3) Jefferson and Walentas Scholarships:

Two similar, yet distinct scholarships, The Jefferson and Walentas Scholarships are looking for students who are accomplished both inside and outside the classroom and understand their community.

To be eligible for the Jefferson and Walentas Scholarships, students need:

  • To be an international student
  • Exceptional leadership talents, citizenship and scholarship

4) Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program:

Through the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, the University of Notre Dame is looking for students who will not only fit into the University but also have a transformational effect Church and the world.

To be eligible for the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, students must have demonstrated:

  • Distinguished academic accomplishment
  • Exemplary moral character
  • Exceptional leadership abilities
  • Sincere commitment to service

5) Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship:

To be considered for the Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship, students should have demonstrated outstanding academics. In addition, they need to have the potential to be a future leader, along with the ability to meet and overcome complex challenges.

To be eligible for the Alan and Jane Handler Endowed Scholarship, students must be:

  • Academically qualified
  • Able to demonstrate financial need

6)  John M. Belk Scholarship:

To be a Belk scholar, students are expected to be intellectual explorers with experiences that reflect various interests, talents and achievements. They also need to be servant leaders and change agents.

To be eligible for the John M. Belk Scholarship, students need to:

  • Demonstrate academic excellence
  • Have purposeful engagement beyond the classroom
  • Exhibit intellectual curiosity
  • Be committed to their local and global communities

7) Presidential Scholarship:

The Presidential Scholarship is looking for students who come from diverse intellectual, social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. These students are transformational leaders inside and outside of the classroom and are committed to learning and community service.

To be eligible for the Presidential Scholarship, students need to demonstrate:

  • Academic achievement, indicated through their high school course selection and GPA, as well as high scores on the SAT or ACT
  • Civic engagement, both inside and outside of school
  • Expertise in their field, capacity for creative expression and a willingness to engage in new ideas
  • Leadership and the ability to effect change
  • Resiliency and the ability to handle challenges

8) Wells Scholars Program:

This scholarship looks beyond the student’s career trajectory. They are looking for students who can contribute and impact their community and beyond.

To be eligible for the Wells Scholars Program, students must have:

  • Shown exceptional qualities of character and leadership
  • Been significantly involved in extracurricular activities
  • Demonstrated concern for their community
  • Excelled in terms of class rank, GPA, and/or standardised test scores
  • Expressed interest in joining a community of scholarly individuals with diverse interests beyond a pre-professional track

9) The Rensselaer Medal:

The Rensselaer Medal scholarship is only awarded to students who have excelled in mathematics and science, to motivate careers in science, engineering and technology.

To be eligible for The Rensselaer Medal, students must:

  • Be a junior ranked within the top 10% of their class
  • Demonstrate potential success in a challenging academic setting
  • Excel in advanced math and science courses
  • Exhibit significant involvement in extracurricular activities

How can my school nominate me for a scholarship?

First, your school counsellor or principal must reach out to the university to secure or register for a nomination form. They may need to submit an application to be a part of the university’s scholarship programme. Once this is done, they can nominate you by filling in a nomination form.

What documents does my school need to submit?

Each university has its requirements, but broadly, your school counsellor or principal may need to submit:

  • A letter of recommendation that highlights your fit for the scholarship, your academic achievements, character, community service and leadership potential
  • Your transcripts
  • Your resume

Do I need to provide any additional documents?

The scholarship application process varies for all universities. Some universities shortlist and invite you to a selection weekend on campus, while other universities may require specific essays. Some of the common requirements that students need to fulfill are:

  • A special form
  • Additional essays or short questions
  • An interview

Usually, you will receive these instructions once your school counsellor submits the nomination form.

What is the deadline for scholarship nominations?

Each university has its own deadline, usually around the same time as your undergraduate application is due, so ensure that your school counsellor is aware of them. In the US, you may have to indicate that you are being nominated for a scholarship and fill in the additional details on the Common App form. For Canada, these deadlines usually fall between November and February, depending on the university. Most universities release the scholarship decisions by March or April.

How many students can my school nominate?

Usually, schools can nominate one student per year per scholarship. You need to speak with your counsellor in advance and indicate to them that you would like to be considered.

School-nominate scholarships can be confusing. However, ensure that you spend time with your school counsellor or principal to ensure that you all are aware of the deadlines and requirements.

If you are applying for other types of scholarships and financial aid, get in touch with us to learn about how you can apply for these and the various strategies available that can help ease the process. We can also help you answer questions about your undergraduate application, or watch this video if you want to know how to build your resume.