RAYS opens scholarship applications, no postage required

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A new digital application process for RAYS scholarships is now open, which allows students to apply by e-mail.

Since 2012 RAYS, Resources for Area Youth Success, has contributed more than $350,000 in scholarships and bursaries to students who live with within a designated catchment area and attend Stayner Collegiate Institute, Collingwood Collegiate Institute, Our Lady of the Bay Catholic High School, or Centre Dufferin District High School.

RAYS Scholarship Selection Committee chairperson Barbara Lemaire said RAYS is most grateful to school administrators, teachers, and guidance counsellors who help their students to navigate the application process.

“We feel confident that making the complete move to technology is in the right direction,” said Lemaire, adding that e-mail is more intuitive for applicants and more environmentally conscious.

The actual components of the application haven’t changed and do take some preparation. For instance, letters of reference and a brief essay are required.

“We want the students to draw from their experience, and their experience is very broad,” said Lemaire. “We ask

that they’ve had some community leadership. We understand however that some of them for financial reasons do a lot of part-time work because they are saving for university or because they are helping to contribute to the family’s financial situation on a daily basis.”

She said applicants are encouraged to draw on a wide range of life experiences, especially during a pandemic when extracurricular and volunteer activities are not widely available.

Scholarships of up to $20,000, payable up to $5,000 per year over four years, are available to students applying to a recognized Canadian university. RAYS also accepts applications from students who have deferred acceptance or are taking a gap year.

The scholarships are donated by donations and RAYS is made up of about 40 volunteers who run the organization with the minimum administration costs.

In addition to funding, RAYS scholars are paired with mentors, either people working in their field of study or have skills to share and possible connections.

Lemaire said sometimes the students say that the relationship with the mentor was just as valuable as the money.

Scholarship and bursary applications are due on May 2. For full application details, visit raysscholarships.com.

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