How to Win the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership

The TD Scholarship for Community Leadership is one of the top scholarships in Canada. Awarded to 20 students across Canada, this award is your ticket to graduating debt-free! Valued at $70,000 it covers your tuition as well as provides living stipends, summer employment opportunities, and access to a network of leaders across Canada. Here at GrantMe, we’ve helped students to win up to $150,000 in scholarships—including the TD Scholarship. Watch the video below or continue reading for our top advice to help you win the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership. 

The Application

Your application is critical to your success. It’s the first impression that the committee has of you and will help you to advance in the process. 

Organizing Your Essay

You first want to think critically about how you will organize your essay around the prompt. The limit for this application is 600 words—which actually isn’t very much at all! You may have a hard time trying to fit everything you want to say into such a limit. That’s why your essay structure is important. 

Start with a short intro. This should be 2-3 sentences that help to introduce who you are and what motivates you to be a leader. 

Next, you want to have a few body paragraphs. We recommend you discuss 2-3 volunteer initiatives in your essay and create a body paragraph for each one. 

You want to make sure that you include your most impactful involvements in your essay. Be sure to highlight your initiator roles first. These are volunteer roles in which you started an initiative like a new club or project. Then highlight any leader roles you have. These are a step down from initiator roles like being a coach or a camp counsellor. Lastly, include any member roles in which you volunteered as part of a team. For more help on choosing which involvements to highlight, check out our article here!

Finally, you want to end with a short conclusion that reflects on your impact or looks to your future goals. 

Start Strong!

The TD Scholarship receives thousands of applications each year. As such, you want to make sure that you stand out from the crowd right away. Do this by beginning your introduction with a hook! A hook is one to two sentences at the start of your essay that capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to keep reading. A great way to write a hook is to use a personal story or a powerful statement! Tell them your story and give a snapshot of your character. What specific event, person, or experience motivated you to be who you are today? For more on hooks, check out our article here!

Writing Your Content

The TD Scholarship essay prompt is unique from other scholarships. It reads as follows:

Please write an essay of up to 600 words describing your community leadership. Tell us:

  • whether and how your involvement has made your community more inclusive and sustainable,
  • whether and how your involvement shows initiative and innovation,
  • the way your efforts have strengthened others,
  • how long you have been involved,
  • what you think the long-term impact will be,
  • how your community has affected you.

In addition, include a brief description of the range of your other community activities.

This can feel overwhelming to try to tackle. That’s why you want to use STAR structure to make sure you’re crafting strong body paragraphs! STAR is a 4-part acronym that will help you craft a strong paragraph describing a specific volunteer or extracurricular experience. 

  • S — Situation (who, what, when, where)
  • T — Task (your objective)
  • A — Actions (what you did, how you did it, skills you used)
  • R — Result (qualitative or quantitative proof of your success) 

Repeat this structure in every body paragraph! Using this will not only make your writing powerful and easy to follow, but it also seamlessly answers the essay prompt. For example, when you describe your Situation, you answer how long you have been involved. When you describe your Actions, you answer how you showed initiative and innovation. For more help using STAR, check out our article here!

Simple graphic with text that reads: the TD Scholarship is due November 15. Apply today with GrantMe!

The Interview

If you submit a strong application, you may be invited to the interview process! This is your final chance to show them why you should win the TD Scholarship. Here are some notes to help you prepare!

1. Know Your Interview Committee

It’s important that you know a bit about the organization before you enter the interview! Do some research about them. What is the organization’s mission statement? What are their values? What’s their history?

2. Authentic Communication

You want to be open and honest in your TD Scholarship interview. At times, it may feel like you’re not providing the answer they want. However, they really just want to get to know you! This vulnerability is powerful and helps to create a connection between you and your interviewers. 

3. Ask Questions

You want to create a really conversational atmosphere. A great way to do this is to ask questions! Creating a conversation instead of a question-and-answer will really help them to get to know you and create a natural bias in your favour!

4. Confidence!

Don’t be afraid to be confident! Tell them how hard you worked in your volunteer initiatives. Show them that you’re proud of the work that you’ve done. Don’t downplay your achievements—celebrate them!

5. Emphasize Your Impact

Lastly, you want to make sure that you’re always emphasizing the impact that you created. How will your actions continue to affect your community once you’re no longer in high school? What future impact do you want to create? Show them why they should help you create this future impact by awarding you this scholarship! Check out this article for some tips on highlighting your impact. 

For more advice, check out our blog post on how to ace your scholarship interview!

Follow this advice and you’re sure to submit a strong application for the TD Scholarship or any other major scholarship!

If you want even more support, GrantMe can help you stand out. We provide personalized scholarship matches, essay editing, and mentorship from past winners to maximize your success. Complete our short scholarship eligibility quiz to learn more about how GrantMe can help you achieve your post-secondary goals. 

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