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Academic Scholarships

As the USport Championshipsfinished up last week for swimming (Way to go Thunderbirds!) and pendants were handed out to the winners, there was a lot of discussion around our house regarding scholarships and Canadian Universities. So how does it all work? 

If a swimmer wants to be considered for a scholarship let alone offered one, the process starts two years earlier, when you go into Grade 11.  This is the year that you need to be fast and smart. Qualifying for the big meets helps, like OJI, Trials, Westerns/Easterns, CJC’s, or CSC’s. Showing that you are an “A” student helps even more.  

At the beginning of Grade 11, you need to do some research into what universities have to offer and really think about where you want to go, and what you want to do. Ideally, before Christmas, you have compiled a list of Universities you like and can start introducing yourself to the varsity coaches.

If the coaches like what they see, they may invite you to a recruiting weekend.  This is when universities bring out athletes of interest to see how they fit with the team. The itinerary for the visiting athletes is packed full of fun, swimming, food and team events. This is your chance to experience the culture of the university and try on the team. Do you like the coaching style, your potential teammates, the campus, the spirit, the facility, the classrooms, the dorms? By the end of the weekend, you will know if you want to be apart of the team or not.

As you receive your midterm and final marks or reach swimming goals through the year, let the varsity coaches know how well you are doing.  By the end of Grade 11, you now have an established relationship with prospective coaches and can have discussions with them about scholarships that are available to you. In the beginning of Grade 12, it's always good to have a short list of your top 3-5 universities that you can really see yourself going to. Try and stay in contact with the coaches by emailing them every two or three weeks and try and express your interests to them as much as possible. Varsity coaches can start offering scholarships as early as the start of Grade 12, but most are finalized in writing in the new year before spring.

How much?

In Canada, you can only be offered academic scholarships to attend Canadian Universities, not athletic scholarships.  These scholarships can vary in size, but don’t exceed the amount of your tuition. Part of the amount will be determined on how good of an “A” student you are. As a varsity athlete, you will be lavishly outfitted with team uniforms, swimsuits, equipment, and team travel.

Scholarships don't cover dorm rooms, food/personal items, personal travel or books.

There is one University that is the exception in Canada, Simon Fraser University can offer full academic and athletic scholarships. They are part of the NCAA which means they compete only with U.S.A. universities and are not governed by the rules that all the other Canadian universities have to follow.

Ready, Set, GO!

Study Hard!  Swim Faster!