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So I am a bit confused as to how the standard scholarship application works (North America, mainly Canada). When applying to a masters program, most schools ask me if I have applied to any scholarships and to list them. However, when looking to apply to any scholarships, one of the prerequisites for most is to have already been accepted to an academic program.

This is confusing to me, should I apply to scholarships before applying to my masters, should I apply after receiving a positive reply from at least one institution?

I understand that specific scholarships will have their own details, but this is a general question. How do I approach not starving if I get accepted to a masters?

  • schools ask me if I have applied to any scholarships and to list them. However, [...] one of the prerequisites for most [scholarships] is to have already been accepted --- There might be a reasonable explanation for this, but I have to admit I found this funny (in a sad way). It reminds me of the "catch 22" situation with many entry level jobs, something that used to be a problem for me 30-40 years ago, although now I mainly have the opposite problem. – Dave L Renfro Oct 28 '19 at 15:10
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I'm guessing that the intent of this is to determine if you are in the somewhat rare case of not needing funding. If you can say that you will be funded from other sources (scholarships from another country, for example) then funding is one factor the committee need not consider. But if you need funding, then they also need to find ways to provide it if you are accepted. Or at least think about that, since if you are accepted without any funding, then there is a higher chance that you won't actually come.

So, follow the rules of any scholarship application, of course, and answer this question honestly. Apply when you meet the criteria.

I doubt that they expect you to have funding already arranged. But they would consider it a plus if you do.

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Depending on your program, most if not all recommend applying for external scholarships prior to acceptance into the program (as if you are already going to attend). For the big government scholarships, the application date for study beginning next Fall has already past, but provincial awards (such as OGS in Ontario) are open until early December. Internal awards are decided during the application process usually. It doesn't look great if you apply to a program without attempting to get any external funding, but it's not absolutely necessary.

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