Please read the following instructions and the FAQ carefully. Every year, approximately 25% of all applicants are disqualified for failing to meet one or more of the criteria, such as the deadline (January 31st), the maximum length (250 words), or for identifying themselves in the essay.

If you have a question about the competition that wasn't answered in the rules or the FAQ, then please send us an e-mail, and we'll do our best to answer it for you.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to be a member of Mensa?
  2. You do not need to be a member of Mensa in order to apply.

  3. When does the competition start / close?
  4. Our competition follows the academic year and runs annually from September 1st, closing at midnight in your time zone on the following January 31st . Submissions received outside of this time period (February 1 to August 31) will not be included in the competition.

  5. I'm currently in grade 12. Can I apply for the scholarship?
  6. No. The scholarships are intended only for individuals who are attending college or university during the current academic year.

  7. What if my 18th birthday falls a few days after the January 31st deadline?
  8. You will be disqualified. Please apply for the next year's competition.

  9. Can I use the word "I"? Doesn't the word "I" identify myself?
  10. The use of the word "I" does not identify you, and therefore will not disqualify your essay. Your essay should not contain your name, links to your online profile, or any other information which will allow our judges to easily identify you as an essay's author.

  11. Is it considered “identifying information” if I name my school, the town where I live, my gender, my course of study, my race, culture, country of origin, or religion?
  12. None of these serve to identify you. Your essay should not contain your name, links to your online profile, or any other information which will allow our judges to easily identify you as an essay's author.

  13. Do contractions such as "don't" count as one word or two?
  14. Contractions and words with apostrophes count as one word.

  15. Do hyphenated phrases such as "full-time” or “co-operative" count as one word or two?
  16. Hyphenated words count as one word.

  17. What if I am a Canadian citizen enrolled in a post-secondary institution in another country?
  18. You must be attending a Canadian post-secondary institution. The exception is if you are registered at a Canadian institution, but are attending studies out of the country and will receive credit for such at your Canadian school.

  19. What if I'm resident in Canada but not a landed immigrant or citizen?
  20. You will be disqualified. The competition is open to Canadian citizens or landed immigrants only.

  21. I am a co-op student. If I am currently on a work term, do I still qualify as a full-time student?
  22. Yes, as long as your educational institution gives you an academic credit for your work term.

  23. Am I eligible if I am attending Cegep?
  24. Yes, Quebec students attending Cegep are eligible if studies are full-time.

  25. Am I eligible if my classes don’t start until the Winter semester?
  26. Our competition is intended for individuals who are currently attending post-secondary studies on a full time basis. Full time is defined as consecutive fall and winter semesters and carrying a full course-load for the current academic year.

  27. Is there an application? OR Where do I find the application?
  28. Your essay and covering email constitute the application. There is no separate application form to be filled out.

  29. How do I apply for the Edgar Kerstan Award?
  30. You do not apply for the Kerstan award specifically. Rather you must first be named as a finalist in our competition in order to then be considered for the Kerstan award. Only the Woodham’s award has specific criteria.

  31. Is the competition for undergraduates only?
  32. Our competition is open to any post-secondary student who meets our criteria, including individuals at the undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate level.

  33. What information do you want in the essay?
  34. Your essay should contain the information listed in “How to Apply” on our “rules” page, while remaining within the 250 word limit. Your essay should not contain your name, links to your online profile, or any other information which will allow our judges to easily identify you.

  35. Do titles and quotes/footnotes count in my total word count?
  36. Yes. If you feel the need for a title or footnotes, these count as part of your 250 words.

  37. Does the essay have to be factual or fiction?
  38. This is a scholarship application. Your essay should contain the information listed in “How to Apply” on our “rules” page, while remaining within the 250 word limit. We verify all claims made in finalist essays, and if anything is false or simply not verifiable, then the essay is removed from consideration.

  39. Where do I include the information about my institution and level of study?
  40. On the "rules" page, under the how to apply section, we ask that this information be included in your essay. On our "submit essay" page, we also ask that this information be included in your covering email. We want to see it in both the covering message and the essay.

  41. How can I possibly include all that information in only 250 words?
  42. Visit our winners page http://www.mensacanada.ca/winners.html where you will find links to past winning essays. This will give you an idea of how previous winners have managed to achieve this.

  43. What do you mean by TXT or RTF?
  44. Not all judges are able to read all forms of documents. TXT refers to a text document, generally created in Notepad or some other text-format program. RTF, or Rich Text Format, is a universally accessible format.

  45. Which email address do I use to submit my essay?
  46. Where is the information on how to send my essay?
  47. Our “submit essay” page http://www.mensacanada.ca/submit.html contains the information you need to submit your essay. Item #2 lists the personal information we wish to see in your covering email, and item #5 contains the link to submit your essay.

  48. Do I need to send references or supporting documentation now?
  49. No. These items will be requested from individuals who are determined as finalists.

  50. What correspondence can I expect after I submit my application?
  51. Only scholarship finalists and/or winners will be contacted. Please do not submit your essay more than once, or e-mail the judges to ask if they have received your essay. Unless you receive a "Mail Undeliverable" e-mail reply within 2-3 minutes, then your essay has been submitted successfully.