Recently a student asked me; “What’s the difference between a scholarship and an award?” Good question I thought…and how do I answer this one? To be H, often these terms are used interchangeably so it can be confusing. However, scholarships are usually a payment awarded for academic and/or another achievement. Scholarships may include other benefits such as accommodation, textbooks, special clothing or equipment. A scholarship is usually applied for and may even require an interview.

Scholarships often have criteria such as ethnicity/gender/financial hardship/region or field of study. A cautionary word; scholarships are not given out just because you are a nice person, typically you would need at least a Level 2 Merit endorsement plus involvement in the leadership/community/sport/cultural life of the school and/or community. (Good to start thinking about this in Year 9, not just in Year 13!)

Apply for more than one! If you are going to the trouble of applying for a scholarship you should make it count. Apply for some random ones. Look at this database on Moneyhub


This givME database search can be found by registering for free through Generosity NZ’s site.

1. Click this link:
2. Sign in with your School Email. You may need to register first
3. Click the givME link (blue)

This platform can be used across devices and off-site from the school using this log-in.

Most first-year university scholarships open on July 1st and close on August 15th. Funding alert: If you are planning on a career in TEACHING then TeachNZ scholarship applications close on 14th June!

Sell yourself! Forget the Tall Poppy nonsense, you need to boast! No one knows you outside of school so you need to tell them how fabulous you are and why you deserve to be awarded a scholarship. You will probably need a written recommendation so ask someone who knows you well and can say good things about your character and achievements.

NZQA SCHOLARSHIPS; these are different again. You can enrol to sit a subject scholarship exam in your final year of school. These are open to domestic and international students. These academic scholarships are earned by only the top 3% of candidates in each subject. More information HERE

An award, on the other hand, is given out by an organisation to recognise merit in a field, for example; exceptional service to a community, recognition of academic excellence or leadership. This may or may not include a prize or financial award but usually involves a certificate and public recognition.

You would not always be required to complete an application. An example of this would be a Class Endorsement Award at a School Prizegiving.