Scholarship to study at a top Canadian university
The prestigious award by University of Toronto offers approximately 37 international students a chance to pursue undergraduate studies in one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Source: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Are you a high schooler who’s set your sights on Canada for higher education? Here’s your chance of landing a fully-funded ride for your bachelor’s degree at a top Canadian university: the Lester B. Pearson International Student Scholarship, offered by the University of Toronto (fondly referred to as U of T). 

The award is the most prestigious and competitive international undergraduate scholarship up for grabs at the university. Each year, around 37 international students will have their lives transformed through this opportunity, enabling them to study free-of-charge for four years at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. 

U of T joins other prestigious Canadian universities in breaking down the barriers of access to higher education. The University of Waterloo offers scholarships that all applicants are immediately considered for, plus hundreds of scholarships offered by individual faculties. The Université de Montréal has a  scholarship programme that exempts additional tuition fees for international students. The University of British Columbia gives approximately 50 scholarships each year across all four awards: Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award, Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award, International Impact Award, and Vantage One Excellence Award.

According to UofT’s scholarship’s official page, applicants must demonstrate exceptional academic milestones, creativity, and proven leadership skills at school. Since it is intended to leverage high-potential students who can give back to the global community, applicants who’ve left a meaningful impact on their schools and communities particularly stand out as strong candidates. 

What will I get as a Pearson Scholar? 

Studying at a top Canadian university opens up many opportunities for your future, but being a Pearson Scholar means not having to pay a single dime for your tuition at U of T. The scholarship covers the following: 

  • Full tuition and residence fees for four years 
  • Books and incidental fees 

Am I eligible for the scholarship? 

You are eligible for the Lester B. Pearson International Undergraduate Scholarship if you satisfy these requirements: 

  • You’re a non-citizen requiring a study permit to enrol in Canadian universities
  • You have been nominated by your school to apply for the scholarship 
  • You’re a first-time undergraduate entrant at U of T 
  • You’re currently in your final year of high school, or graduating no earlier than June 2022
  • You’ll begin your studies at U of T in September 2023 

How can I get nominated as a candidate?

Your school must be verified as a participating partner of the scholarship award. If your school isn’t in the list, you can ask your school counsellors to submit an application to take part in the programme. Once your high school is verified, you can request to be nominated as a scholarship candidate. 

Scholarship to study at a top Canadian university

Applicants for the Pearson Scholarship must be nominated by their high school as a candidate first. Source: Ulises Ruiz/AFP

How do I apply for the scholarship? 

Here’s how you can start your application: 

  • Get nominated by your high school.
  • Apply to the University of Toronto before the annual Fall-Winter session deadline. For this, you’ll have to use the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), a centralised system that manages applications to Ontario universities. 
  • Once U of T has received your nomination and your university application, you’ll be able to complete the scholarship application online.

The Pearson Scholarship will only be given for your first choice of programme at U of T, so you want to make your selection wisely.

When are the deadlines for the current cycle? 

The last day to apply for the Pearson Scholarship is on January 16, 2023. 

However, there’s also the OUAC deadline to consider, which falls on December 14, 2022. The university recommends applying before November 7 as spaces can fill up quickly.

As for the nomination, your school has until November 30, 2022, to name its candidates.

Why study at the University of Toronto, a top Canadian university 

Canada is a haven for getting an internationally-recognised quality education, and it doesn’t get better than the University of Toronto. A pioneering institution established in 1827, it’s the country’s largest university with three campuses in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Scholarship to study at a top Canadian university

Award-winning Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood, whose famous work “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been adapted into a hit TV, is a graduate of the university. Source: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Known as the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, the university boasts a long tradition of groundbreaking discoveries and illustrious graduates, including 12 Nobel Laureates and over 90 Rhodes Scholars.

U of T is ranked as the top Canadian university in 2022 and is among the top 20 schools worldwide according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings — but second to McGill University (according to QS World University Rankings 2023). It offers over 700 undergraduate programmes to choose from. 

At U of T, you also have access to the third largest library system in North America with over 40 libraries on campus. There’s also the added perk of living in a vibrant multicultural city where over 160 languages are spoken — which all add up to form an enriching study abroad journey. 

Vancouver, however, is ranked more livable by The Economist Intelligence Unit, after Calgary. The former is home to the University of British Columbia, while the latter is the location of the University of Calgary.