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My sources inform me that the scholarship money may or may not be secretly guarded by dragons in a vault beneath the Bank Building.

What type of ships are worth a total of $65 million, don't not sail on water but will help you immensely to navigate through the high seas of higher education?

At the end of Year 12, I was very fortunate to be awarded a scholarship to study at Sydney Uni. A scholarship is invaluable because it means you can focus on your studies and pursue new opportunities, without needing to worry as much about your finances.

This year, Sydney Uni has $65 million worth of scholarships on offer for students starting uni. Not suprisingly, it's the largest and most generous scholarship program in NSW.

You may be thinking: surely you have to be school captain, received an ATAR of a gazillion, raised the most funds for the 40 Hour Famine, captained your premiership-winning tennis team, played the lead role in your school musical, and in your spare time, discovered a cure for diabetes, to receive a scholarship, right?

No, there is a smorgasbord of scholarships, which cater for students with different achievements and various backgrounds.

Types of Scholarships

1. Outstanding Achievement Scholarship – for students who receive an ATAR of 99.95.
Congratulations! No application required. You’ll look forward to having high tea with the Vice-Chancellor.

2. Merit, Entry and Faculty Scholarships – for well-rounded students.
You need strong academic results (ATAR of 95 or above), and be involved with extra-curricula activities, such as music, sport, leadership and community service, as well as a passion for your area of study . If you’re not in Year 12 yet, get involved now!

3. Access Scholarships – for students with good marks who are financially or medically disadvantaged or are from a rural or remote background.
One example of financial disadvantage is the receipt of Centrelink payments.

4. Indigenous Scholarships
– for Indigenous students.
Also check out other external Indigenous scholarships.

5. Equity Scholarships – for students who fit particular criteria.
Each of these scholarships has their own criteria, such as a female student from a regional area, so make sure you check them out to see if you qualify.

6. Sporting Scholarships – for students who play sport at the state level or higher.
You will need to compete in a sport available at the Uni. The scholarship is part of the Elite Athletes Program offered by Sydney University Sport and Fitness.

7. College Scholarships – for students intending to live at residential colleges.
Each college offers their own scholarships, including half-fee and full fee scholarships.

8. External Scholarships
Don’t forget that there are other sources of funding out there from government and private organisations:
- Australian Government Student Startup Scholarship
- My Future Database of Scholarships and Awards
- Australian Government Scholarships
- The Country Education Foundation of Australia

Scholarship Information Evening
If you're in Year 11 or 12 and want to find out more and hear tips about the application, come to the Scholarship Information Evening:
When: 26 June, 6pm for 6.30 start
Where: Eastern Avenue Auditorium, Camperdown Campus
RSVP: Seats are limited so register today.

Don't Regret. Apply!
Apply for these scholarships in Year 12. The scholarships have different applications processes and deadlines (usually in September/October), so start researching and preparing now. You're one stop shop is the Scholarships website and the 2014 Scholarships Guide.

My best advice is to apply. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t eliminate yourself already, just because you don’t think you’ll get one, or can’t be bothered with the application. You have nothing to lose (except for a few hours writing about yourself) but so much to gain if you receive a scholarship.

A scholarship will help you sail through your university life, so get on board!

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