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More Than Your ATAR: Scholarship Success at your Fingertips

By August 26, 2021October 5th, 2021No Comments

There’s a scholarship for everyone and everything – you and your career dreams included! Don’t be put off thinking you won’t be successful. There are over 4000 scholarships in Australia going begging for you to have a crack at.


We couldn’t possibly talk about financial support without first mentioning our very own grants! CEF assistance is managed through our local grants program. We have 44 local foundations throughout NSW, Qld, Vic, SA and the NT which support youth in their areas through financial grants for education and employment expenses including apprenticeships, traineeships, cadetships, diplomas, certificate level studies and university qualifications.

Our grants are not based on academic achievement but there are four key criteria that you must address to be eligible;

  • Have attended school in or currently live in the region covered by your local CEF (view full list HERE)
  • Aged 16-25 years
  • Can demonstrate need
  • Shows commitment to achieving goals

Grant applications are generally open during the second half of each calendar year, however each foundation sets their own opening and closing dates which you can check here.

All applications are done online through our national website https://www.cef.org.au/apply-for-a-grant. Once you select your closest foundation on the online form, they automatically receive your application once submitted. Here are some handy tips, specifically for completing our CEF grant application form.

Don’t just take it from us…Hannah from Broken Hill tells why you should apply, apply, apply!


CEF Extra is our scholarship program which is designed to provide additional support to eligible CEF students. In addition to local grants, we work closely with generous individuals and organisations to offer extra funding opportunities. These scholarships are a little more targeted than our general grants program and can be region based e.g. Broken Hill OR career based e.g. STEM or finance study. We offered 55 tailored scholarships in 2021, the first year of our program, and we are adding more and more with the intent of having something for everyone!

The way you apply for these scholarships is unique too in that…well…do don’t really apply for them! All you need to do is to apply for a grant to your local foundation. If they think you are a great fit, depending on the particular scholarship, they will either award the scholarship locally or nominate you for one of the CEF national awarded scholarships.

From there, the awesome team (even if we do say so ourselves!) from the national office will send you a short questionnaire asking about your circumstances and goals. Shortlisted applicants will then be invited to a short Zoom or phone interview.


Our advice – apply for as many scholarships from as many places you can – and of course, you’ve come to the best place to start! Our Scholarships Guide has over 1000 scholarships from universities and colleges across the country, many focusing on rural and regional students.

Note: the Scholarships Guide is updated annually in September

But, it’s not all about us!

As well as universities and colleges, there are loads of organisations out there that provide financial support, not matter what your education goals…you just need to dig a little. Below are some of our favourites to get you started.


Numerous scholarships for Indigenous students


An Australian leader in agricultural scholarships


Run through QTAC but available nationally


Focused on health, environment & agriculture


  • You are not limited to applying for one scholarship. Apply for any scholarship which you are eligible for and meets your needs – the more you do the better you become.
  • Make hard copies of every document and application you send in, just in case something gets lost along the way.
  • Complete your application in full, make sure every question is answered.
  • If you are unsure about how to apply or what to include with your application, contact the relevant organisation by telephone or email.
  • Find out about who is offering the scholarship and how they look to support the community. Some background on the organisation will never do you harm and it may help with answering some of the questions they ask you.
  • It’s important that you understand what each question is really asking you. If it helps break down the question into smaller parts and underlining keywords can help you to stay on point and provide an answer full of information.
  • Re-read your application and make sure you have answered the questions properly. Edit any spelling mistakes and poor grammar. If you make a lot of changes, re-read it again. Ask someone from school, a friend or family member to read over your application with a fresh pair of eyes.
  • Be yourself in your application. The organisation wants to know who you are and what you want to do.
  • Ensure that you will be easy to contact and that the addresses and phone numbers provided in your application are current and correct. Use a personal email address – not your school-issued one.
  • Know your opening and closing dates, you don’t want to miss out by one day!

The More Than Your ATAR series will  cover topics such as:

We talk to all the experts – students, CEF volunteers, high school and university advisors to help you on this long, windy road!


Author Nicole

CEF Engagement & Development

More posts by Nicole

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