How GrantMe helped me receive $37,000 in scholarship offers

By Ciara Browne

Despite putting in the work to be an outstanding student and community member for years, I struggled to communicate why universities and scholarship providers should invest in me.

On top of various athletic and academic achievements, I filled multiple leadership and mentorship roles in high school. Through coaching youth in Karate, leading the host team at my restaurant job, and tutoring my peers in calculus, I found purpose and enjoyment. However, it was difficult for me to articulate my strengths in a meaningful way. I found community involvement fulfilling to the extreme, but didn’t have the tools required to effectively market the abilities I had gained from it.

Even though I loved what I did, I was beginning to feel as if it had all been for nothing.

Things got worse when I realized that I lacked the capacity to continue my community involvement as much during grade 12. A fierce dedication to academic and athletic excellence overruled my innate desire to contribute to others’ successes, and I was left with no gaps in my schedule. This resulted in the majority of my altruistic initiatives fizzling out towards the end of my Grade 11 year. I was dissatisfied with my declining contributions, but didn’t know how to balance my commitments. I desperately needed someone to light a fire under me.

GrantMe provided that spark, in more ways than I ever expected. I discovered the company in June 2023, just before the beginning of my Grade 12 year. Previously, scholarships were never on my radar, and I had resigned myself to decades of student loan payments after university. GrantMe made it impossible for anyone—even myself—to ignore my potential.

Upon enrolling in the program, I was shown how to communicate my experiences, reflections, and strengths meaningfully. GrantMe nurtured my previous writing style—which could be generously described as “highly metaphorical”—into a sharp tool for self-marketing. I learned how to speak effectively about my experiences, and utilized my developing skills in countless applications and interviews. Constructive feedback became my new best friend.

Most importantly, I was given the tools required to return to my passion for mentorship-based community action. GrantMe showed me how to structure my initiatives around my interests, to ensure that my impact was both meaningful and joyful. With GrantMe’s guidance, I developed a program that introduced engineering concepts to over 200 middle school students in my community. Through inquiry-based STEM outreach, I supported those who had previously been beyond my reach.

My drive to succeed was exponentially amplified and enabled by GrantMe’s services. Although the initial investment was one of the largest risks I have ever taken, GrantMe exceeded my standards many times over. The abundant resources and intricate support system completely satisfied my needs as a scholarship and university applicant.

With GrantMe’s help, I have received $37,000 in scholarships. I am confident that there is much more to come. On top of receiving admission offers from some of Canada’s top engineering programs, I have earned a substantial amount of funding to cover my educational costs. My future outlook is nothing but positive, now that I have all the resources required to excel in my career alongside the financial security to remain involved in my community. I am excited for upcoming opportunities, and feel assured that GrantMe will be there to help me every step of the way. It’s been hard work, but it was 100% worth it.

Ciara Browne smiles in a headshot as a grade 12 student with brown hair wearing a white and black shirt who participated in GrantMe's program.

For me, the GrantMe program was an exceptional opportunity for personal growth and professional development. It showed me what I could accomplish with honest dedication and exceptional time management. Although my time with GrantMe was not without struggle, I was able to overcome each obstacle because I was always supported by their team.

– Ciara Browne

Because of GrantMe, my future is brighter than ever. As I near post-secondary, my excitement for what I will accomplish only grows. GrantMe helped me become holistically prepared for any application-based challenges that may come my way. My confidence in my abilities has grown significantly, and I feel empowered to take on any kind of challenge that may have previously dimmed my spirit.

Moving forward, I intend to continue developing the skills that I have gained through GrantMe’s program, in an effort to unleash my professional and personal impact on the world.

The bottom line: do not resign yourself to the idea of student loans and a full-time job on top of full-time studies. Take action to set yourself up for success—trust me, you will thank yourself later.

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