University of Toronto Scholarship for International Students

Today we’ll tell you everything you need to know about getting a full scholarship to the University of Toronto for your undergraduate studies if you are an international student. Not only that, but we’ll explain exactly how to apply for and receive this scholarship. Are you ready? Okay, let us get started.

We will be discussing the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship program, which is only open to international students. In layman’s terms, the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship is an annual fully funded scholarship offered by the University of Toronto to incoming international students for their undergraduate studies at UFT.

Why is it called the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship?

This is because the scholarship is named in honor of Lester Boris Pearson, Canada’s 14th Prime Minister and a UFT graduate. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing a UN peacekeeping force to end the Suez Canal crisis. Perhaps after receiving this award, you will be expected to know who he was.

This scholarship is interesting because it is open to all UFT majors. It is open to students of all disciplines, not just those studying computer science or law. So, from the 700 undergraduate programs offered by UFT, you can select any program you wish to pursue and apply for this scholarship.

Lester B. Pearson Scholarship is Competitive

Now that UFT has made it so open, you can imagine how competitive it will be. It is UFT’s most competitive international student scholarship, with only 37 students from around the world receiving it each year.

Let us put the scholarship’s competitiveness into perspective. This scholarship is awarded to at least one student from each faculty at U of T, so every faculty will have at least one Pearson scholar in their department. This means that for each major, students compete against top students from all over the world who are interested in that major for the limited spots available.

For example, you are interested in studying business at UFT and apply for the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship. Your profile is now competing with all of the other students who want to study business at U of T for the few spots available.

Yeah, this scholarship is extremely competitive, but it’s worth a shot because the benefits are truly life-changing. This scholarship covers nearly all of a student’s expenses while studying abroad. The Lester B. Pearson Scholarship covers your tuition, living expenses, book allowance, meals, transportation, and any other incidental costs for all 4 years of your undergraduate studies.

Basically, you just need money to apply to UFT, and if you get this scholarship, you’re in; for the next 4 years, you’ll be able to study here for free.

Lester B. Pearson Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility criteria we are about to share are only for students who will begin their undergraduate studies in the fall of 2024. So, if you plan to begin your studies in the fall of 2025 or later, we recommend that you check the most recent eligibility requirements on UFT’s Leicester B International Scholarships page.

  • You must be an international student, not a Canadian citizen. International students attending Canadian high schools are also eligible to apply.
  • An applicant must be a first-time graduate who has not previously studied at another post-secondary institution.
  • You should be in their final year of secondary school, which is ideal. And if a student has graduated, they can only apply if they graduated after May 2022 and not before June 2022.
  • An applicant must be a first-time graduate who has not previously studied at another post-secondary institution.

These are the eligibility requirements, and if you meet all three, you can and should apply for the Lester B Pearson Scholarship. But now the question is how to apply.

Lester B. Pearson Scholarship Application Process

The scholarship application process is unique in that you do not apply for the scholarship directly; rather, your school must nominate you for the scholarship. And, due to a few factors, the school can only nominate one person for each academic year, which we will go over later.

Even if a school believes it has 15 brilliant students who are eligible for the Lester B Pearson Scholarship, only one student will be nominated from that school each year.

You may be considering changing schools because other students are more accomplished than you. No, no. You must work hard and demonstrate to your school that you are an ideal candidate for this scholarship. We’ll talk about it in a while.

If you are an aspiring Lester B Pearson scholar, you will be in one of the two situations—your school is either unaware of the Lester B Pearson Scholarship or is aware of the scholarship but has never nominated a student for it.

Your school is not aware

In this case, you should approach the school counselor, or if you don’t have one, a school’s headmaster or principal, and inform them about the scholarship and your desire to be nominated. In order for you to be nominated, the school must submit an application to UFT, which is available on UFT’s Lester B Pearson Scholarship page, so that the University of Toronto can verify the school’s identity and grant them access to nominate a student.

It can take the University of Toronto more than a month to verify the school, so we would encourage you to ask your school authority to fill out this form as soon as possible, ideally in early September, so that the school can be verified and then proceed with the nomination process.

Your school is aware

Now, if you are in the second category of students, your school is aware of the Lester B Pearson Scholarship and has previously nominated a student from the school. In this case, there is no need to ask your school to submit the School Participation Form because it has already been verified by U of T.

You only need to ask your school counselor or headmaster about being nominated, and once they decide who to nominate, they will nominate that person without you having to explain anything to them. However, you must follow up with them to ensure that they do not miss the nomination deadline, even if they are already aware of the nomination process.

After nomination

After your school nominates you, Leicester Bay Pearson International Scholarship will send you an email acknowledging your nomination and providing you with all of the information and instructions you need to complete the remainder of the scholarship application.

Now that your school has completed the first step in nominating you for the scholarship, the next steps in the scholarship application process will be the same for both categories of students.

Apply for Lester B. Pearson Scholarship

Now, you have to apply to the University of Toronto by creating an OUAC account and submitting your application by the deadline. Even though the student OUAC application deadline is December 15th every year, you should submit your OUAC application as soon as possible, ideally by November 7th, to increase your chances of admission and also because spaces in popular programs may fill up before the application deadline.

Another thing to keep in mind when filling out the OUAC application is to carefully select and rank your programs, as you will only be considered for the Pearson scholarship if you select your first choice. In the Program Choices section of your OUAC application, you can select and rank three UFT programs to apply for. If you receive the Lester B Pearson Scholarship, it will only be valid for your first choice program; you will not be able to change it later.

For example, if you apply for CS at all three UFT campuses, your first choice would be St. George, followed by Scarborough and Mississauga.

If you become a Lester B Pearson scholar, you cannot say, “No, I want to go to Scarborough for CS.” Instead, you must study at St. George because it was your first choice. As a result, select your first choice program carefully and double-check it before submitting.

After you submit your OUAC application, UFT will send you an email acknowledging receipt of your OUSC application and providing you with login information to activate your Join UFT Portals account. Once your UFT account is activated, return to the email you received after your school nominated you for the scholarship. That email contains a link to the student scholarship application, which you can now access using your activated login details.

Complete and submit the student scholarship application

This should be done by January 17. Last year’s deadline was January 18, so if you’re reading this article in 2024 or later, we recommend that you double-check the current deadlines on UFT’s Lester B Pearson Scholarship page.

If you’ve followed all of these steps, you’ve successfully applied for the Leicester Bay Pearson Scholarship at the University of Toronto.

What typical questions are asked on the student scholarship application?

There were four sections to the application last year. First, Academic Objectives section, which had one question:

Describe your academic objectives and indicate how these are appropriate to your long-range goals. Please indicate specifically how a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto will contribute to your achieving your longer-range goals. 100-word maximum.

Second, Self-letter of Reference section, which had one question:

The students who are nominated for the Leicester Bay Pearson International Scholarship are students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and creativity, who are accepted as leaders within their school, and who have the potential to contribute to the global community in the future. They can be distinguished from other students who may have equally high academic results by virtue of their breadth of interest, intellectual energy, and impact on the life of their school and community. Write a letter of reference for yourself in the third person, describing how the applicant (you/me) meets these criteria. The letter should refer to the specific achievements and experiences. It may also comment on any weaknesses. 300-word maximum.

Third, Essay section, which required a one long answer question:

Describe a personal life experience that has had particular significance for you and highlight the reasons it was significant, whether it had an impact on others, and any insights or understandings you gained from it. 800-word maximum.

Fourth, Additional Questions section, which had two questions:

If you are not awarded a Lester B Pearson International Scholarship, what are your plans for the next four years? 100-word maximum.

And second question was related to the family income, where we were not required to write anything but answer it in numerical values.

Tips to Answer These Questions

Okay, you know what UFT will ask, but how should we respond to these questions and make them stand out?

Show specific characteristics and accomplishments in your responses

UFT looks for specific characteristics and accomplishments in your responses, and UFT outlined them all in the second question of the student scholarship application.

Unlike the UFT International Scholar Award, which covered nearly 60% of our total cost of attendance at UFT, the Leicester Bay Pearson Scholarship is determined by several factors in addition to high academic performance.

These factors include your background, financial need, leadership abilities, community involvement, future potential, intellectual rigor, passion, the impact you made in school and in your community, and so on. These factors or criteria assist the school in deciding who to nominate for the scholarship and the scholarship committee in deciding who should receive the scholarship. And the only way you can show them is through your extracurricular involvements.

According to UFT, what distinguishes Leicester B Pearson scholars from other high-achieving students is their breadth of interest, intellectual energy, and impact on their school and community. So UFT is looking for extracurricular involvement in areas that you are interested in and passionate about, which means that your extracurricular activities should be relevant to the programs you are applying for.

For example, if you are interested in law, some great extracurricular activities to demonstrate this include participating in debate competitions, taking on leadership positions in student council, and so on.

Present your dedication to extracurricular activities

Second, they want to see your dedication to the topics you are interested in and concerned about. Your dedication to extracurricular activities is reflected in the amount of time we devote to them and the distance we have traveled.

Participating in a debate or other public speaking events on occasion is insufficient; we should have engaged in these activities for an extended period of time, ideally for several years or even throughout high school. Furthermore, they expect you to demonstrate our growth. For example, maybe you started with an in-school debate and worked your way up to state, national, or even international conferences.

Talk about how you have impacted your community

Third, they want to know how we’ve impacted our school or community through extracurricular activities. They will recognize our future potential as a leader in the modern world based on our previous contributions to those around us. So, just being president of the student council isn’t enough; what did you do? Did you make major changes at the school? What policies did you implement, and how did they affect your community?

This may seem like a lot, and it is, but big things don’t come easy. Imagine completing your undergraduate education at one of the world’s top universities for free.

You must begin working, regardless of your current position. If you are in middle school, don’t think you have time; instead, identify your interests and begin working toward them. If you are in high school, make the most of your time by participating in activities that interest you and contributing to the community.


For a better idea of who gets accepted, we recommend looking at the profiles of previous Lester B Pearson scholars, which can be found on the Leicester B International Scholarship page on UFT’s website. Do check it out to help you know the kind of personality needed for Lester B Pearson.

Read AlsoPhD Scholarships in Canada for International Students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like