Lester B. Pearson Scholarship Application, Eligibility, and Benefits

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Every year, hundreds of international students apply for the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship at the University of Toronto. This prestigious scholarship is named after former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the Suez Canal crisis in 1956. The scholarship is designed to recognize outstanding students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, leadership skills, and community involvement. In this article, we will explore the benefits of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, the eligibility criteria, the application process, and some tips for winning this scholarship.

Benefits of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship

The Lester B. Pearson Scholarship is one of the most generous and prestigious scholarships available to international students. Here are some of the benefits that recipients of this scholarship can expect:

Full tuition and living expenses

The scholarship covers full tuition fees for four years of undergraduate study at the University of Toronto. In addition, it provides an annual living allowance of $15,000 CAD to cover living expenses.

Mentorship and leadership development

Recipients of the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship are assigned a mentor who provides guidance and support throughout their academic journey. They also have access to a range of leadership development opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, and networking events.

Access to a vibrant community

The scholarship recipients become part of a vibrant and diverse community of international students who share their passion for learning and making a difference in the world. This community provides a supportive environment for academic and personal growth, and helps the recipients to develop lifelong connections and friendships.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, you must meet the following criteria:

Academic excellence

You must have an exceptional academic record, with an average of at least 90% (or equivalent) in your most recent year of study. You should also demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence in your past academic achievements.

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Leadership potential

You should have demonstrated leadership skills and potential through your involvement in extracurricular activities, such as volunteering, community service, sports, or student government. You should also show evidence of a commitment to making a positive impact in your community.

International status

You must be an international student who will be studying at the University of Toronto on a student visa. You should not be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or have applied for permanent residency.

Application process

The application process for the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship is highly competitive and requires careful preparation and attention to detail. Here are some key steps to follow:

Step 1: Research the scholarship

Before applying, you should thoroughly research the scholarship to understand its benefits, eligibility criteria, and application requirements. You should also review the university’s admission requirements and deadlines.

Step 2: Choose your program of study

The scholarship is available for all undergraduate programs at the University of Toronto, except for the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Law. You should choose a program that aligns with your academic interests and career goals.

Step 3: Apply for admission to the university

You must apply for admission to the University of Toronto through the regular application process. You should ensure that you meet the university’s admission requirements and deadlines, and submit all required documents, such as transcripts, test scores, and essays.

Step 4: Submit the scholarship application

After you have applied for admission, you can submit your scholarship application through the university’s online application portal. The application requires you to provide detailed information about your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, leadership experience, and community involvement. You should also submit two essays and two reference letters.

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Step 5: Wait for the results

The scholarship selection committee reviews all applications and selects a shortlist of candidates based on their academic achievements, leadership potential, and community involvement. Shortlisted candidates are then invited for an interview, either in-person or via videoconference.

The final decision on the scholarship recipients is made in early March, and successful candidates are notified shortly after. Recipients of the scholarship must accept the offer by May 1st.

Tips for winning the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship

The competition for the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship is intense, with hundreds of qualified candidates vying for a limited number of scholarships. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of success:

Start early

Preparing a strong application takes time and effort, so start the process as early as possible. Begin researching the scholarship and the university at least a year before the application deadline, and start building your academic and leadership credentials well before that.

Focus on your strengths

Highlight your academic strengths, leadership potential, and community involvement in your application. Be specific about your achievements and the impact you have made, and provide evidence to support your claims.

Write compelling essays

The essays are a critical part of your application and provide an opportunity to showcase your personality, values, and aspirations. Write clear, concise, and compelling essays that demonstrate your passion for learning, your leadership potential, and your commitment to making a difference in the world.

Get strong references

Choose referees who know you well and can provide detailed and enthusiastic endorsements of your academic and leadership abilities. Give your referees ample time to prepare their letters and provide them with any relevant information that can help them write a strong letter.

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Practice for the interview

If you are shortlisted for an interview, practice your interviewing skills beforehand. Research the university and the scholarship, and prepare thoughtful and articulate responses to common interview questions. Dress professionally, be punctual, and show confidence and enthusiasm during the interview.


The Lester B. Pearson Scholarship is a life-changing opportunity for international students who aspire to academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement. By providing full tuition and living expenses, mentorship and leadership development, and access to a vibrant community, the scholarship enables recipients to pursue their academic and personal goals and make a positive impact in the world. If you are an international student who meets the eligibility criteria and aspires to academic and leadership excellence, the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship may be the right choice for you.


  1. What is the deadline for applying to the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship?

The deadline for applying to the scholarship is November 30th of each year.

  1. Can Canadian citizens or permanent residents apply for the scholarship?

No, the scholarship is only available to international students who will be studying at the University of Toronto on a student visa.

  1. Is the scholarship renewable for four years?

Yes, the scholarship is renewable for up to four years, provided that the recipient maintains a minimum GPA of 3.0 and fulfills the scholarship’s academic and leadership requirements.

  1. How many scholarships are awarded each year?

The University of Toronto awards approximately 37 Lester B. Pearson Scholarships each year.

  1. Can I apply for the scholarship if I have already been admitted to the University of Toronto?

Yes, you can apply for the scholarship after you have been admitted to the university, but you must submit your scholarship application by the November 30th deadline.

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