"Applying for the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship took around two weeks of work, requiring a lot of documents, time and passion. The main obstacle was not knowing what the decision committee looks for specifically and how much you need to present yourself and your accomplishments.
“There are three main categories under which you are evaluated: academic achievements, research potential and leadership skills. The leadership skill area is where most candidates fall short because they either don't know what it is or do not have enough experience in their resumé. I believe this is where I stood out apart from my academic achievements and research potential.
“Referees must be able to comment on your academic and extracurricular (non-academic/leadership) accomplishments and qualities. I chose my references as my supervisor and co-supervisor in addition to my supervisor at Ryerson International Student Services. I believe that my choice of referees was particularly important to highlight my skills in all three categories.
“As an international student, receiving the Vanier scholarship helped me worry less about financial matters and focus more on my academic, professional and personal development. I strongly believe that future applicants can be more successful when applying if they focus on what is wanted from the committee, present their accomplishments honestly yet fully (don't be shy), and ask for help from previous recipients with their application package.”
- Afshin Rahimi, 2014 NSERC Vanier Scholar and Aerospace Engineering PhD graduand