Prepare to apply

Not sure how to apply for an award? Read through our guide to learn how to put together a great application package.

Generosity and contribution

Many IECC awards were provided by donors to support Indigenous students who are generous with their knowledge, time, and/or energy. You will notice that most award criteria ask you to talk about how your education will help you contribute to your family, your community, or Indigenous people in general. Some criteria ask you to talk about how you already contribute. It is important for you to think about this as you are getting ready to write letters for the awards applications.

  • What is it that you do that makes life better for others?
  • How will you contribute in the future?
  • What does your education mean for you, your family, your Nation, others in general?

Make a list:

  • What are the things I do for other people?
  • What is the knowledge I share with other people?
  • What are the things I hope to do for my family, my community and Indigenous people in general?
  • What are the things I hope to do for the world?

We deeply value your generosity and donors do too. That's why they were so generous with the gifts that made these awards possible.

Financial need

Many donors also want to support Indigenous students who are experiencing financial need. The general application asks you to share your monthly income and expenses during the time that you are a student. Sometimes you will have to average expenses out. For example,

  • if your car insurance is $1200 a year, your monthly car insurance averages out to $100 a month.
  • if you get a GST credit cheque of $248 four times a year, that equals $992 for the year. Divide that by 12 and your monthly average for GST rebate is $82.60.

When you're calculating additional expenses, think about what it really costs to live. It might be helpful for you to write down every penny you spend for a week so that you can get a better idea of how much life actually costs for you and your family. Most people who do this are surprised. Even if your income is limited (and, of course, many students are cash strapped) your cost of living may be greater than you think. At the same time, be very fair. If you are sharing expenses with someone, only write down your part of the costs.

Keep a record of all expenses for a week, even the loonie you might give to someone. Once the week is over, figure out average expenses for a month. Also, make a list of all the special occasions for which you have to purchase a gift (birthdays, special celebrations, etc.) or bring or send a gift of food (potlucks, family celebrations, etc). Add them up for a year, calculate the monthly average cost and include it in your expenses.

Personal goals and aspirations

Many applications ask you to talk about what you plan for the future. As you prepare yourself to write about this, think about what you can imagine. It may be that you imagine getting the certificate or diploma you are pursuing right now. If that's what you see, that's fine. Write it down and talk about why it's important to you. On the other hand, if you imagine yourself with a particular career doing a particular thing five or ten years in the future, write that down. Everybody's goals and aspirations are personal and everyone is different. Be who you are.

Spend some time listing your goals and dreams. Make a collage or do a drawing if that helps you to better imagine them. Then, when you're writing your awards applications, you'll have something to think about as you write.

Letters of support

Many applications ask for letters of support or reference from community members or teachers. Allow letter writers enough time (at least two weeks' notice, if you can) to respond to you, and tell them the criteria of the award for which you are applying. After they have done you this favour, write them a note thanking them for their help and support.

Members of IECC, who are likely to be part of the selection committee, can't write letters of support for IECC awards. This includes your Program Leader, the Community Liaison, and the Indigenous Advisors.

It can be helpful to pre-write as much of the letter as possible for the reference and give an electronic copy of what you have written to the person from whom you have requested a reference.


Sample reference letter template


Selection Committee
Indigenous Award Name
Camosun College

Dear Selection Committee:

This is a letter of support for (Your Name's) application for an (Indigenous Award's Name). I have known (Your Name) for about 10 years. She/He/They has/have volunteered with the Friendship Centre Club every summer for the past 8 years writing letters for our annual campaign. (Use your own pertinent examples. Leave space for the reference writer to include her/his/their own words.)

I know that the (Indigenous Award's Name) was set up to support those who contribute to their communities and I am very comfortable recommending (Your Name) for this award because (leave space for the reference writer to include her own words.)

Thank you for your consideration.

Reference Writer, Executive Director
Friendship Centre Club