Have you ever dreamed of studying at one of the world’s best universities in one of the world’s most multicultural cities? Have you ever wondered how to pursue your academic goals in Canada without worrying about tuition, books, fees, and living expenses? If you answered yes to these questions, then you might be interested in applying for the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship. This prestigious and generous award covers the full cost of studying at the University of Toronto for four years.
The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is named after Lester B. Pearson, a Canadian prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate widely regarded as the father of modern peacekeeping. Pearson was also a graduate of the University of Toronto, a public research university that ranks among the top in the world for its excellence in teaching, research, and innovation. The University of Toronto offers over 700 undergraduate and 200 graduate programs across three campuses in the Greater Toronto Area, a vibrant and diverse region that attracts students from over 170 countries.
The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is designed to recognize and reward outstanding international students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, creativity, leadership, and community involvement. The scholarship is open to students applying for their first undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and nominated by their high school or secondary school. Approximately 37 students are selected as Pearson Scholars each year, joining a unique and supportive community of learners and leaders.
In this article, we will provide tips and insights on applying for and winning the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship and making the most of your experience as a Pearson Scholar at the University of Toronto. We will also share some stories and testimonials from current and former Pearson Scholars, who will tell you about their challenges and achievements, passions and interests, and hopes and dreams.
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By the end of this article, we hope you will be inspired and motivated to pursue this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at the University of Toronto for free.
Eligibility and Application Process
The first step to apply for the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is to check your eligibility. To be eligible, you must:
- Be an international student (i.e., a non-Canadian requiring a study permit)
- Be in your final year of secondary school or have graduated no earlier than June 2023
- Be applying for your first undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto
- Intend to begin your studies in the fall of 2024 (students already attending post-secondary studies cannot be considered)
- Have an excellent academic record and meet the admission requirements for your chosen program
- Demonstrate strong leadership skills and involvement in extracurricular activities and community service
- Be nominated by your high school or secondary school (each school can nominate one student per year)
If you meet these criteria, you can proceed to the application process, which consists of two stages:
- Stage 1: School Nomination
- Stage 2: Online Application
Stage 1: School Nomination
The school nomination is the first and most important stage of the application process. It is your chance to showcase your academic and personal achievements and to convince your school that you are the best candidate for the scholarship. You will need to prepare the following documents and materials for your school nomination:
- A transcript of your academic record
- A personal statement that explains why you want to study at the University of Toronto and how you embody the values and qualities of a Pearson Scholar
- A resume or curriculum vitae that highlights your leadership and extracurricular activities, awards and honors, and work and volunteer experience
- Two letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, mentors, or community leaders who can attest to your academic and personal strengths
- Any other supporting documents or evidence that demonstrate your achievements and potential
You will need to submit these documents and materials to your school by the deadline set by your school, which is usually in November or December. Your school will then review your nomination and select one student to nominate for the scholarship. Your school will notify you of their decision and submit your nomination to the University of Toronto by January 15, 2024.
Stage 2: Online Application
The online application is the second and final stage of the application process. It is your opportunity to provide more information about yourself and your interest in the University of Toronto and the Pearson Scholarship. You will need to complete the following steps for your online application:
- Apply to the University of Toronto through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) by January 15, 2024. You must pay a non-refundable application fee of CAD 180 and choose up to three study programs at the University of Toronto. You must also submit your official transcripts and other required documents for your chosen programs.
- Receive an email from the University of Toronto with a link to the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship online application form by February 1, 2024. You must complete and submit the form by February 15, 2024. The form will ask you to provide some personal and academic information and answer some short essay questions about your goals, motivations, and experiences. You will also need to upload a copy of your passport or identity document and a recent photo of yourself.
- Wait for the scholarship selection process results, which will be announced by April 2024. The selection committee will review your online application and your school nomination and will select the final recipients of the scholarship based on their academic merit, leadership potential, and personal fit. You will receive an email from the University of Toronto informing you of the outcome of your application. If you are offered the scholarship, you will need to accept it by May 1, 2024.
Benefits and Responsibilities
The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is one of the most generous and prestigious scholarships in the world. It covers the full cost of studying at the University of Toronto for four years, including:
- Tuition fees
- Books and incidental fees
- Residence fees (including meal plan)
- Travel expenses (one return trip per year)
The total value of the scholarship is estimated to be over $200,000 CAD, depending on the program and campus of study. In addition to the financial support, the scholarship also provides the following benefits:
- Access to academic and personal support services, such as academic advising, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, and career development
- Participation in special events and activities, such as orientation, workshops, seminars, socials, and networking opportunities
- Membership in a diverse and dynamic community of Pearson Scholars, who share their passions, interests, and perspectives, and who support each other in their academic and personal growth
- Recognition and exposure as a Pearson Scholar, who represents the values and vision of Lester B. Pearson and the University of Toronto
As a Pearson Scholar, you will also have some responsibilities and expectations, such as:
- Maintaining a high academic standing and satisfactory progress in your program of study
- Engaging in leadership and extracurricular activities on campus and in the community
- Contributing to the Pearson Scholar community and the University of Toronto community
- Abiding by the rules and regulations of the University of Toronto and the Pearson Scholarship
- Reporting on your academic and personal achievements and challenges to the Pearson Scholarship office
Tips and Insights
Applying for and winning the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is not an easy task. It requires a lot of preparation, dedication, and hard work. However, it is also a rewarding and enriching experience that can open many doors and opportunities for you. Here are some tips and insights from current and former Pearson Scholars, who have successfully gone through the application process and have enjoyed their time at the University of Toronto:
- Start preparing early. The application process for the Pearson Scholarship is very competitive and time-consuming. You will need to gather and submit a lot of documents and materials, as well as to write and revise several essays and statements. Therefore, it is advisable to start preparing as early as possible, preferably in the summer or fall before your final year of high school. This will give you enough time to research, plan, and polish your application, and to avoid any last-minute stress or mistakes.
- Do your homework. The Pearson Scholarship is not only about your academic performance, but also about your fit and interest in the University of Toronto and the Pearson Scholarship. Therefore, it is important to do your homework and to learn as much as you can about the university, the programs, the campuses, the city, the scholarship, and the Pearson Scholars. You can use various sources of information, such as the university website, the scholarship website, the Pearson Scholars website, social media, blogs, podcasts, videos, webinars, newsletters, brochures, and online forums. You can also contact the Pearson Scholarship office, the admissions office, the program coordinators, the faculty members, the current students, and the alumni, and ask them any questions you may have. The more you know, the better you can demonstrate your enthusiasm and suitability for the scholarship.
- Be yourself. The Pearson Scholarship is looking for students who are not only academically excellent, but also creative, passionate, curious, and authentic. Therefore, it is essential to be yourself and to show your personality, voice, and style in your application. Don’t try to copy or imitate others, or to write what you think the selection committee wants to hear. Instead, write from your heart and share your own
What Are Some of the Programs Offered at the University of Toronto?
The University of Toronto offers over 700 undergraduate and 200 graduate programs across three campuses in the Greater Toronto Area. Some of the programs offered at the University of Toronto are:
- Actuarial Science
- African Studies
- American Studies
- Animal Physiology
- Applied Mathematics
- Applied Statistics
- Architectural Studies
- Art and Art History
- Art History
- Art History and Visual Culture
- Arts Management
These are just a few examples of the many programs you can choose from at the University of Toronto. You can search and filter programs by program type, keyword, or campus on the university website. You can also learn more about the admission requirements, application process, and tuition fees for each program on the university or Future Students websites. Suppose you are interested in professional and graduate programs. In that case, you can also visit the Professional and Graduate Programs website to learn more about the research and collaborative opportunities at the University of Toronto.
The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is a rare and valuable opportunity for international students who want to study at the University of Toronto for free. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, books, fees, residence, and travel for four years, as well as provides academic and personal support, special events and activities, and recognition and exposure. The scholarship is open to students who are applying for their first undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and who have been nominated by their high school or secondary school.
The application process consists of two stages: school nomination and online application. The selection committee evaluates the applicants based on their academic merit, leadership potential, and personal fit. The scholarship is highly competitive and requires a lot of preparation, dedication, and hard work. However, it is also rewarding and enriching, as it allows the students to pursue their academic goals and passions, to explore new horizons and cultures, and to join a diverse and dynamic community of Pearson Scholars. The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is more than just a scholarship; it is a life-changing experience.