AMPD Scholarships – how to succeed and why to apply
In 2017-18 AMPD students received over 2.4 million dollars in scholarships, awards and bursaries. The vast majority of eligible students who apply receive an award.
We talked to four successful applicants and found out what they had in common and guess what – they all applied! Another thing they have in common, is they all think that you should too.
The process is simple and starts in the fall. First, fill out the Student Financial Profile (SFP) on the Student Financial Services website, (the 2018 deadline was October 15.) Bonus: That profile can also qualify you for Work/Study jobs on campus!. Then you can apply for York-wide scholarships on the SFS website, and there are others you can apply for that are specifically for AMPD students.
Keep reading to find out what the four applicants said about their goals and why they applied for awards, the impact the money made to their studies, and their tips and tricks for scholarship success.
Fourth-year Film Production student Sébastien Clermont was stoked to receive the Helen Vari Award and a couple of other scholarships to help fund his third-year film project THE WATERS which included a research trip to Peru. “I was elated that people believed in the film I had proposed in my scholarship applications.”
His concept for the film came about after a creative breakthrough he had at the end of his second year. “I was dissatisfied with the bulk of my work and I realized I didn’t feel strongly about the subject matter,” Clermont said. “I did some soul searching and realized that the story I needed to tell was around schizophrenia and shamanism and it ended up being my third-year film.”
Clermont’s next goal is to make a documentary about the war on drugs. Some of the left-over funds from his 2017-18 scholarships will help finance the film, which might include traveling to Vancouver to interview subjects. He also plans to apply again in the fall for 2018-19 scholarships.
“I would definitely recommend that students apply,” Clermont said. “My only advice is to be genuine, and really show the full extent of your passion, discipline and goals.”
Fifth-year Computational Arts major Adiola Palmer found out she received the scholarship while checking her email on a break in class. “I was so grateful and happy. I had to try really hard to keep my cool because I didn’t want to disrupt everyone’s work.”
Specializing in the Digital Media Arts stream, which focuses on art creation and production, Palmer appreciates the how the scholarship allowed her stay focused on her studies. “It helped pay for the basic necessities of life. Because of it, I was able to keep attention only on school and not work a part time job.”
This laser like focus on her studies opened up life-changing creative discoveries.
“I make it a point to try to create work with meaning, purpose and authenticity rather than just showing I have understood the concepts taught in class,” Palmer said. “I looked for elective courses where I can somehow translate what I’m learning into future projects. For example, I took a course called Anthropology and Senses, that opened my understanding on how we experience our world through our senses. Human interaction is a major component in computational art so I always found myself thinking of ways I could utilize theories learned in my anthro class in future projects.”
University life has more than creative challenges too. “Working on my degree made me realize the importance of mental health and the negative effects of ignoring it. We all have obstacles, but the resources and services at York helped me take the first step and I am seeing improvements now because I did.”
While scholarship applications may seem like a lot of work when students have so many demands on their time, Palmer says it’s worth it. “It was time consuming because I found it hard finding my own voice to explain why I deserves this award. But it was definitely worth my time and effort.”
Her key advice is don’t procrastinate. “Don’t be like me and hand it in minutes before the deadline!”
A second year music student with a passion for jazz guitar, Antonio Cocuzzo is the 2017 recipient of one of York University’s most prestigious and highest value entrance awards, the $40,000 Oscar Peterson Scholarship. Endowed by the Ontario government to commemorate the legendary Canadian jazz musician and former York Chancellor, the entrance award recognizes talent and is intended to alleviate barriers that could prevent a young musician from pursuing a degree. Provided Cocuzzo maintains his good grades, he’ll receive $10,000 in each of the four years of his program.
“I was very surprised, honoured and appreciative when I found out about the scholarship,” Cocuzzo said. “It has a great impact on my life as it is a huge motivation to keep working hard every year and try to put my best effort forward each semester and gain as much knowledge and experience as I can from my program and my professors.”
That knowledge and experience is thanks in part to the flexibility in his program that lets him try new types of music. “York has opened my mind and my ears to appreciating different music and the profs are great help in understanding the culture, history and performance behind it all.”
In terms of scholarship applications, Cocuzzo was reassuring. “It was not difficult at all to apply and totally worth it.”
Third year Visual Art & Art History and Psychology double major Fernanda de la Mora applied to heaps of scholarships with the excellent result of receiving six, totaling over $6400 including the J.P. Bickell Foundation Award and the Harry Rowe Bursary.
One of the many impacts the scholarships have made to her studies was a collaborative exhibition in York’s Special Projects Gallery titled Cosmic Bodies. The scholarships covered the necessary supplies and made it possible for her to participate in the show without financial hardship.
“These scholarships allowed me to grow in all directions,” de la Mora said. “Thanks to funding opportunities like these I’ve had lots of time and resources for extracurricular opportunities and in general had such a rich and varied experience at York.”
Her biggest leap forward in terms of growth was a moment when a professor encouraged her to explore styles of painting outside of photo realism. “I had to allow myself to make mistakes and try new things to get through the other side of this creative impasse. I’ve produced my strongest works since taking that leap and have since discovered a deep love for sculpture and installation.”
As a visual art student her scholarship application advice is on point. “Paint a word picture with your application; give them your history, the present and your dreams for the future. Take it seriously and sell yourself; they won’t know why you’re qualified unless you tell them, so don’t be shy.There are so many scholarships available that there’s something out there for everyone. And the truth is, you really never know; it’s always worth a shot, and the application process is a learning experience in itself!”