TD scholarships are private offered by the financial institution to help all undergraduate students achieve their academic dreams. TD is also one of the , but TD scholarships are exclusively for high school students who want to attend the or the or the best schools for music, the arts, and humanities. TD scholarships also include awards for Indigenous students, which we’ll also discuss, along with giving you essay examples, eligibility criteria and more!
TD scholarships are some of the most prestigious and high-value university scholarships in Canada. Every year, close to 4,000 high school students across Canada apply; only 20 students are awarded the prizes. The reasons TD scholarships are so valued are because they do not only award financial assistance.
As a TD scholar, you will automatically be entered into TD Scholar’s Alumni Network, which is a life-long association that comes with several benefits and opportunities, including invitations to TD scholars networking events, or sitting on advisory councils that help pick future TD scholarship winners. You’ll also be given an offer of employment every summer to work with TD, but you do not have to accept it if you’re not interested.
Want to know how to make your college essay stand out? Watch this video:
There are two TD scholarships available to Canadian students – international students are not eligible; all applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or have protected person status in Canada. The scholarships are:
- TD Scholarship for Community Leadership
- TD Scholarship for Indigenous Peoples
The TD Scholarship for Community Leadership is open to all Canadian citizens who are in their final year of high school, or, for Quebec residents, the final year of their CEGEP degree. You must also be planning to attend , as Canadian students who want to attend are not eligible, but we’ll talk more about the eligibility requirements later. While you must write several for the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership, the Indigenous scholarships is touted as a , although you must sit for an interview, which is also a condition of the application process for the Community Leadership scholarship.
The TD Scholarship for Community Leadership is open to any:
- Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person in Canada
- Students in their final year of study at a Canadian high school, or a CEGEP program in Quebec
You must also either be enrolled, in the process of enrolling, or planning to enroll in an “Approved School” in Canada, which are not limited only to universities. TD scholarships are also applicable to students who want to enter colleges, trades or vocational schools. There are no academic requirements associated with winning this TD scholarship, although, if you are chosen, there are some academic requirements associated with retaining it, such as never failing a class.
Some other requirements include taking your chosen program of study full-time; it must also last for a minimum of two years. You can apply for the Community Leadership scholarship while you’re still in high school, but you should make sure that you will be accepted into your post-secondary program.
If you are chosen for the TD scholarship, but are not admitted into your program, it could jeopardize your eligibility for the scholarship. However, if you are awarded the scholarship, and you decide to defer admission into your program for whatever reason, you will still retain the award, as long as you are readmitted into the same or similar program the following year.
Award Amount: $70,000 paid out over four years ($10,000 per year)/$7,500 per year for living expenses
Applicant Criteria: Canadian citizens, permanent residents or protected persons; high school, or CEGEP, students in final year of study
Application Process: completed application, scholarship essays, scholarship interview
You can apply for the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership on your own; there is no nomination process or third-party involvement. But this also means you’re responsible for writing the various essays as part of your application. You can try using a or to help you brainstorm ideas and review drafts of your essay.
There are two essays you have to submit as part of your application; one essay is required; the other is optional. You must also submit other materials such as your official transcripts, and three one from your school (teacher, guidance counselor or principal), and two from community leaders you have worked with. We didn’t mention that in addition to the essays, and three letters of recommendation, you also have to submit a list of your most recent community activities, which will probably come up in your interview.
Your required essay should be 600-words in length and outline your contributions to a community, whether you identify as a member or not, which can take various forms, from how you’ve made your community more “inclusive and sustainable” to “what your community means to you”. These are only a few of the topics that you can cover in your essay, but they all involve what’s alluded to in the name of the scholarship, “community leadership”. We’ll present some sample essays to give you an idea of what kinds of you can talk about, as well as the way you should format and write your essay.
The topics for the optional essay are focused on two areas. Along with the required essay you can choose to submit a 250-word essay detailing either your:
- Family, background, or any experiences that you feel make you a competitive candidate
- Reasons for taking a year off from either high school or CEGEP (before your final year, not after you’ve graduated)
Even though it is optional, you should write it and submit it with your application. While you do have to submit your transcripts and recommendation letters, academic achievement is not an important selection factor, as nearly all applicants will have impressive grades. But a personal and memorable essay will make the difference as the scholarship selection committee sifts through the thousands of applications submitted every year.
essay has a specific focus – your achievements/experience in community leadership. The optional essay, similar to or a gives you more room to talk about yourself and your unique story, which is something that no one else can write about, even though everyone has a story to tell.
Sample Essay #1
Growing up in Moncton, New Brunswick, I was instilled with a sense of community responsibility from an early age. My journey into volunteerism started when a pastor at our local church informed me about an opportunity to assist in the kitchen of Harvest House Atlantic, a center dedicated to supporting those in need. Eager to contribute, I began my volunteer work in the kitchen, where I quickly learned the value of teamwork and compassion.
One transformative experience occurred when I met a Canadian veteran at a community event. Listening to his stories, I became acutely aware of the challenges faced by our veterans and their contributions to our nation. Inspired, I decided to extend my volunteering efforts to the local legion. Here, I brainstormed an initiative aimed at revitalizing the legion hall, which had been a cornerstone of our community for decades. My idea was to host events featuring local artists and musicians, generating revenue to fund much-needed repairs and renovations. Through meticulous planning and dedicated teamwork, we organized successful events that not only brought the community together but also injected vital funds into the legion's coffers.
My connection to the sea, a profound aspect of Maritime culture, led me to explore opportunities beyond the legion. Keen on marine research, I collaborated with local fishermen associations like the Eastern Shore Protective Fishermen’s Association. Together, we undertook marine research projects, studying the intricate ecosystems off our coast. Engaging in hands-on research, I learned about the delicate balance of our marine environment and the pressing need for sustainable practices.
Embracing my Maritime heritage, I found purpose in my interactions with the sea, envisioning a future where my passion for research and seafaring aligns seamlessly with a career in the Canadian Navy. I aspire to contribute to the safeguarding of our coastal waters while delving deeper into marine research, bridging the gap between academia and practical application. My experiences with the fishermen's associations solidified my commitment to marine conservation and bolstered my resolve to pursue a future in naval research.
These diverse volunteer and leadership experiences have not only enriched my understanding of community dynamics but have also shaped my aspirations for the future. The kitchen of Harvest House Atlantic taught me the power of empathy and cooperation, while the legion events underscored the potential of community-driven initiatives to bring about tangible change. Collaborating with local fishermen illuminated the intricate complexities of marine ecosystems, reinforcing my dedication to environmental conservation.
Looking ahead, I am determined to leverage these experiences in my pursuit of a career that merges my passion for the sea, research, and community service. Armed with a deep sense of responsibility and a newfound understanding of the complexities of our world, I embark on the next chapter of my academic and professional journey, driven by the belief that positive change is not just a possibility but an imminent reality within our grasp.
Sample Essay #2
Driven by a profound personal connection, my journey in volunteering and leadership initiatives began with a simple yet compelling desire: to communicate with my grandfather, who had lost his ability to speak due to a stroke, despite his intact cognitive faculties. Witnessing his frustration and the challenges faced by individuals like him ignited my passion for melding neuroscience and engineering. I wondered if technology could bridge the communication gap for people suffering from cognitive, motor, or neurodivergent disorders, providing them with a voice to connect with their loved ones and caregivers.
To delve deeper into the lives of those affected by neurological disorders, I sought firsthand experience. Volunteering with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, I stepped into the world of healthcare, shadowing professionals as they interacted with patients, not limited to stroke victims. This immersive experience not only sharpened my resolve but also broadened my understanding of the diverse challenges faced by individuals in our community.
During my shadowing stint, I encountered a displaced couple, recent refugees from a conflict zone, struggling to rebuild their lives. This encounter stirred my compassion and ignited a desire to do more. I became actively involved with the Regina Open Door Society, a refugee resettlement agency. Working closely with them, I contributed to the process of helping families navigate the complexities of starting anew, from finding shelter to understanding local customs.
Recognizing the significance of effective communication, I enrolled in Spanish-language classes, aiming to break language barriers and foster connections with Spanish-speaking community members. This endeavor not only enhanced my language skills but also revealed a new avenue for my engineering interests: the creation of devices to facilitate multilingual communication. The prospect of building tools that transcend language barriers fascinated me, aligning seamlessly with my passion for engineering.
Within the realm of my academic pursuits, mechanical and biomedical engineering emerged as my focal points. The prospect of applying engineering principles to enhance healthcare devices resonated deeply. With a clear vision for my future in biomedical engineering, I aspire to participate in summer undergraduate research programs during my university years, driven by a desire to transform innovative ideas into tangible solutions.
In essence, my journey from a high school student in Regina, Saskatchewan, to a budding engineer and advocate for effective communication has been rooted in the experiences and encounters that have shaped my path. The simplicity of my initial goal—to communicate with my grandfather—has blossomed into a profound commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of our community. Through volunteering, language learning, and engineering endeavors, I am driven by the belief that meaningful, impactful change can begin with the fusion of innovation, empathy, and a resolute determination to create a better world for all.
Sample Optional Essay #1
My life has been a rollercoaster of uncertainty and challenges. Homelessness became a recurring theme, forcing my family to hop between motels and relatives' houses in and around Thunder Bay. My mother, in search of work, often had to leave us behind while she sought opportunities in different cities and provinces. In those moments, school emerged as my anchor, providing stability amidst the chaos.
Education wasn't just a priority; it was my escape. The classroom was where I found solace, a place where my ambitions could thrive despite the struggles at home. To avoid returning to our cramped living conditions, I immersed myself in school activities. Student government, sports, and dance became not just hobbies, but lifelines – avenues through which I could escape the confines of my challenging circumstances.
In the midst of these hardships, I discovered my passion for medicine, social work, and public policy research. These experiences ignited a fire within me, a determination to rise above my circumstances and make a difference. Through my academic achievements and extracurricular engagements, I aim to break the cycle of adversity, not just for myself, but for others who face similar challenges.
Despite the hurdles, I am driven by hope and resilience. Education has been my ticket to a better future, a future where I can advocate for change and provide support to those in need. As a high school student, I am not just dreaming of a better tomorrow; I am actively working towards it, one step at a time.
Sample Optional Essay #2
In my second year of high school in Coquitlam, British Columbia, my family faced a life-altering experience – a devastating wildfire that ravaged our extended family's homes. Witnessing the destruction firsthand, I chose to temporarily step away from school and dedicate my time to help rebuild not only our own properties but also to extend assistance to others affected by the wildfires.
Engaging in this hands-on rebuilding effort, and volunteering to deliver essential supplies to families displaced by the disaster, provided me with a profound education beyond the classroom. The resilience of communities facing adversity became a powerful lesson in human strength and unity.
Moreover, these experiences profoundly influenced my academic interests. Observing the destructive force of nature sparked my fascination with environmental science and sustainability. The urgency of understanding ecological systems and finding sustainable solutions became glaringly evident in the face of such natural disasters.
This period of volunteering and witnessing the aftermath of the wildfire served as a catalyst for my passion. It inspired me to explore environmental science at a deeper level, aiming to comprehend the intricacies of our environment and contribute meaningfully to its preservation. As I approach graduation, these experiences have solidified my commitment to environmental conservation, propelling me toward a future dedicated to creating a more sustainable world.
After you complete the online application, the next step is to interview. You’ll be notified whether you made it to the interview stage by the end of February. The interviews for the TD scholarships are held in-person, and you’ll meet with a panel of interviewees that will consist of the director of the TD scholarship program, past TD scholars, and several community leaders. The interview is open-file so you’ll mostly be asked questions about your application materials, including your essays, and letter of recommendation.
According to past TD scholars, the interview questions are not that different from common . However, you should not expect to be asked usual interview questions such as “” or “what makes a great leader?’, as the panel has enough information about you to answer these questions. They’ll most likely ask you about your application and ask you to go into further detail about your experiences and leadership roles. You might think these are easy questions to answer, but to prepare you should go over your application and make notes about each of the experiences you listed on your application.
You should jot down notes about what you did at each of these community activities and these points, but not to the point where you answer is rehearsed. Just remember the main points of what you did at these activities and what they taught you.
Still working on your university applications?
Award Amount: $60,000 paid out over four years ($10,000 per year)/$5,000 per year for living expenses
Applicant Criteria: First Nations, Metis and Inuit who are members/citizens of a First Nation, Metis or Inuit community, Canadian citizens; high school, or CEGEP, students in final year of study
Application Process: completed application, scholarship interview
The TD Scholarship for Indigenous Leadership is the sister program to the Community Leadership award. It is intended solely for Canadian high school students who are members of a recognized First Nation, Metis, or Inuit community, and also meet the requirements of:
- Planning to enroll in a minimum two-year post-secondary program in Canada
- Already enrolled full-time in a minimum two-year post-secondary program in Canada
There are no essays or other documentation associated with the Indigenous Leadership scholarship, but there is an interview that you will have to do if you are short-listed for the award. The Indigenous Leadership scholarship is sponsored in part by the (Aboriginal Financial Officers Association), and the latter organization is the one that conducts the interviews and ultimately selects the winners. However, if you are awarded the scholarship, you will also be offered a summer work opportunity at TD, which you can refuse without endangering your scholarship.
You can apply directly to the AFOA Canada for the TD Scholarship for Indigenous People. You can also complete a paper application and mail your materials directly to the organization, which is based in Ottawa. As we mentioned, the TD scholarship for Indigenous People does not require any essays, letters of reference or your official transcripts. However, if you are awarded the TD scholarship you must provide TD with transcripts every year as proof of your attendance and academic record.
You will be asked to submit to an interview if you are short-listed for the award, which takes place in Ottawa. But other than that step, the TD Scholarship for Indigenous People is one of the to get, which is by design. The award was created to help Indigenous people access funds necessary to enter post-secondary education. The application process was left deliberately hassle-free to make it easier for Indigenous students to apply for the scholarship.
1. Pick Community Activities That Demonstrate Leadership
It’s no secret that community involvement is a large part of getting the TD Scholarships for Community Leadership, so you should select community activities that genuinely ignite your passion and demonstrate leadership. Choose causes or projects close to your heart, as your genuine enthusiasm will shine through in your application. And choose more than one. Many of the past recipients of the TD Scholarship were involved in , meaning you need to spread out your time and efforts, as long as it is something you’re genuinely interested in. Whether it’s volunteering at local shelters and coming up with ways to improve access to services for the needy, initiating environmental projects using new methods or inventions, running for student government and instituting meaningful change for your fellow students (creating new student associations, or addressing cultural needs of your community), or organizing community events, your dedication and leadership of various meaningful causes will make your application stand out.
2. Write Excellent Essays and Letters
While essays are not a part of the Indigenous People scholarships, you must write compelling essays and letters tailored to the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership. If you have the requisite community experiences and leadership roles, then this part should be easy. You have the essay content requirements available to you so you should remember to cover each of the points in your essay. But remember to address the prompts thoughtfully by providing specific examples of your contributions, and not just general descriptions of what your responsibilities were. Use these essays to demonstrate actions and experiences that affected your community and show how the lessons you learned from these experiences have impacted your own growth. You should write essays that show your initiative and leadership, which led to real change in your community, great and small. You should also use the opportunity to write the optional essays, as they can color your main essay with more personal detail. Your essays should convey your unique experiences, challenges overcome, and the difference you’ve made in your community.
3. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation
You have to submit a total of three letters for the Community Leadership scholarships, so you should choose individuals who have seen your good works up-close and can testify to the unique contributions you made to the community through your leadership. You should ask teachers, or other mentors who can genuinely vouch for your character, leadership, and community involvement. You can bolster your chances by providing your application materials, such as your essays or list of different experiences to help them write compelling recommendations. A heartfelt and detailed recommendation can bolster your application significantly, which is what the selection committee is looking for in all applicants to the Community Leadership scholarship.
4. Practice Your Interview Skills
Your interview is the final step to getting either the Community Leadership or the Indigenous People scholarship. You can prepare for your TD Scholarship interview by practicing common interview questions and refining your responses. Reflect on your experiences and the lessons learned, emphasizing personal growth and community impact and how those lessons align with TD’s values. Additionally, you can engage in mock interviews with friends, family, or mentors to enhance your communication skills. During the interview, express your passion, commitment, and future aspirations clearly. Be confident, maintain eye contact, and actively participate in the conversation. You should also remember to dress the part and wear business casual clothes to convey your professionalism and confidence.
The TD Scholarships for Community Leadership and Indigenous People are two of the most lucrative scholarships for entering undergraduate students in Canada. They are both community-based scholarships, meaning your involvement in several community service projects is more important than academic performance, although that is important as well. Writing good essays and performing well during your interviews are key to getting these scholarships, so make sure to prepare well in advance before you submit your application.
1. What are the TD scholarships?
TD scholarships are lucrative academic scholarships in Canada for high school and Indigenous students that offer full-tuition awards, as well as yearly stipends to cover living expenses for all four years of your program of study.
2. Who is eligible for TD scholarships?
There are two different TD scholarships; one, the Community Leadership scholarship is open to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents; the second, the Indigenous People scholarship, is only open to high school students who are members of a First Nation, Metis, or Inuit community, who are plan on attending a post-secondary institution in Canada.
3. What is the application process for the TD scholarship?
The Community Leadership scholarship has an online application that you must submit, along with writing several essays detailing your community leadership activities. You must also submit three letters of recommendation and submit to a finalist interview. The Indigenous People scholarship is no-essay, and you only have to complete the application either online, or on paper, and submit it to the AFOA Canada office.
4. When and how are the TD scholarships awarded?
The deadline for the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership is November 15; the interviews begin in March, and winners are notified in the spring from April to June. The tuition portion of the TD scholarship is awarded directly to your post-secondary institution, but the annual stiped is credited directly to your account.
5. Who can be my letter writer for my reference letter?
The Community Leadership scholarship asks for three letters from three specific sources. Two letters must be from people associated with your school, be they your former teachers, principals, guidance counselors, or coaches. The third letter must come from a community leader who can attest to your leadership in the community.
6. What are some of the other responsibilities of winning a TD scholarship?
If you are awarded either the Community Leadership or Indigenous People scholarship you will be offered employment at TD at the end of every year except your last. You can refuse the work offer without your scholarship being rescinded. But you must also remain in good academic standing; even failing one class or course could get your scholarship revoked.
7. Can I combine the TD scholarships with other awards?
You can receive other financial assistance from other sources and receive the TD scholarship so long as the other scholarships do not amount to more than $50,000 over four years, or any scholarship that is sponsored by another financial institution in Canada.
8. Is it hard to get a TD scholarship?
Yes, TD scholarships are among the hardest scholarships to get in Canada for incoming undergraduate students. The competition is fierce and there are thousands of applicants each year. You have to have a long-term relationship with a lot of different community organizations, especially at the leadership level, but you also need to write great essays, and perform well at the interview to have a chance.