About the contest

About the contest

It’s going to be The Best School Year Ever® for Grade 9 to 12 students who win a scholarship to live and study on campus at St. Michaels University School. Students will join our campus community where they live on campus in a room shared with a roommate with a private bathroom and shower; three fresh and healthy meals each day; and houseparents committed to your personal, social and academic development.

THE GRAND PRIZES

One of two full boarding tuition scholarships for the 2024-25 school year, worth up to $75,000.

THE FINALIST PRIZES

One of two partial boarding tuition scholarships for the 2024-25 school year, worth up to $48,000.

In addition to the Grand and Finalist prizes, up to 10 students will be offered admission to SMUS!

CONTEST TIMELINE

Keep up to date with the contest schedule.
December 1, 2023
Applications close at 11:59 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time).
December 16, 2023
25 shortlisted semi-finalists move on to the next stage.
January 9, 2024
Semi-finalist video submissions close at 11:59 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time).
February 1, 2024
4 finalists are announced.
March 14, 2024
Winners announced.
September 1, 2024
The Best School Year Ever® begins at St. Michaels University School!

If I hadn’t entered The Best School Year Ever contest, I wouldn’t be experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime chance. It’s been some of the most amazing days of my life. If boarding school interests you, this is a great opportunity!

Jenny Yeh
2020 finalist

You don’t get the opportunity to go to boarding school in a different city with people from all around the world very often. It’s a crazy shot that you should take!

Evan Fuller
2021 finalist

I’ve grown more independent, I’ve learned to do things on my own and take initiative on my own. It’s been a really fun experience when it comes to finding out who I am. I also think it’s great being able to meet so many people.

Kira Barker
2020 winner

When I was entering, I thought, “I may not win, but there’s nothing to lose.” And then a few months later I’m living in Victoria, going to an amazing school, surrounded by literally hundreds of friends. It’s crazy!

Naashkii Soler
2021 winner

FAQ FOR STUDENTS

If I don’t win the contest, can I still enroll in your school?

Absolutely, you can enroll even if you don’t win the contest. We will consider applications from all contest entrants and will make an offer if we think you’ll be a good fit at SMUS.

Is the scholarship just for one year?

The Best School Year Ever® scholarship is for one year only. However, qualifying students will be able to apply for other boarding scholarships, and all students can apply for financial aid for following years after The Best School Year Ever® is up.

What is tuition without the scholarship?

The cost of a SMUS education varies by the location of the primary residence, as do the options for paying your fees. In 2023-24, tuition for a BC boarding student is $65,025 and for a North American boarding student it is $71,640. All students can also apply for financial aid. Learn more on the St. Michaels University School tuition webpage.

Tuition fees are paid yearly and cover 10 months of instruction, textbooks and transportation costs for SMUS athletic teams, music groups and other clubs. Boarding fees also include accommodation and care in residence, meals, laundry, use of the Health Centre and 24-hour nursing.

Am I eligible for the contest?

To be eligible to enter the contest, you must be a resident of Canada or the United States and be going into Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12 in September 2024. You must also meet the age requirement of being 13 or older at the time of entry. You can find the full eligibility criteria in the contest Terms and Conditions.

I’m from a US territory. Am I eligible to enter?

At this time, only students who are legal residents of a US state are eligible. We will look at expanding eligibility to students from US territories in future years.

Why aren’t students from Quebec eligible?

Quebec’s legal system presents us with some challenges when it comes to including students from that province. We will look at expanding eligibility to Quebec students in future years.

How do I enter?

Submit your application, which includes answering three questions in writing and copies of your two most recent report cards. Submit your application by clicking the ENTER CONTEST button. Students who are selected as semi-finalists will also need to submit a 2-3 minute video at that stage of the contest.

What format should I use for my report cards?

We can accept copies of your report cards in a variety of formats: as a scanned image or PDF, a screenshot of an online report card or even a photo of paper report cards. Multi-page report cards need to be bundled into a single file in order to be uploaded through our contest entry form. If you are taking photos or screenshots of your report cards, you can insert the images into a Microsoft Word or Google Doc document. If you don’t know how to access your report cards, ask a teacher or school administrator for help.

Can the scholarship be used anywhere?

The scholarship is offered by St. Michaels University School and is only valid for students enrolling at SMUS.

What should my video be about?

Good question! And we’ve covered this in detail on the tips page.

Is a video required to enter?

A video is required if you are selected as a semi-finalist. If you’re camera shy, get creative! If you’re more of a writer, for example, write an essay and read it, illustrating your video with photos. If you’re an artist or a musician, use the video to showcase your talents with a portfolio of your work. We want to hear about your passions and why you’re a great fit for SMUS.

Does the full-year scholarship include airfare or other expenses?

The contest does not make provisions for expenses like travel to and from the school during the school year and breaks, nor does it include uniform costs. When estimating travel costs, budget three return trips in total (to school in September, home for Christmas Break, home for Spring Break and home for the summer in June). Uniform expenses run approximately $500-700.

How will I know if I’ve been selected as a semi-finalist?

We will contact semi-finalists by email on December 15 2023 to notify them that they have been selected as contest semi-finalists. All other contest entrants will be contacted by email.

FAQ FOR PARENTS

Is the school real?

Absolutely. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at a world-class boarding school that is very highly regarded by college admissions officers. St. Michaels University School has a long history (we date to 1906) and it was the first Western school to be accredited by the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). We’re also a member of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and other organizations. Want to know more? Visit the Introducing Our School page.

Will going to a Canadian school affect my child’s chances with US universities?

Yes, it will have a positive impact! SMUS is very well-regarded worldwide. We have one of North America’s largest AP programs and in recent years our graduates have gone on to universities that include Harvard, Stanford and Brown as well as international schools including Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews and Sciences Po.

How does SMUS keep me informed and involved during the contest?

Every student who enters the contest must confirm they have the permission from a parent/guardian. If your child is then selected as one of the 25 semi-finalists you will be invited to complete an application. This application must come from the parent/guardian.

How can I help my child apply?

The best thing a parent or guardian can do is encourage and remind their child to enter the contest. There can be a lot of distractions and some students don’t manage to enter by the deadline.

What if I’m not ready to send my child away for school?

This is a good question and it’s something you will want to discuss as a family. It’s really about whether it’s right for your child. Some students aren’t ready but for many, they need to move to a different school and discover new opportunities to make the most of their high school years and reach the college of their dreams.

What is tuition without the scholarship?

The cost of a SMUS education varies by the location of the primary residence, as do the options for paying your fees. In 2023-24, tuition for a BC boarding student is $65,025 and for a North American boarding student it is $71,640. All students can also apply for financial aid. Learn more on the St. Michaels University School tuition webpage.

Tuition fees are paid yearly and cover 10 months of instruction, textbooks and transportation costs for SMUS athletic teams, music groups and other clubs. Boarding fees also include accommodation and care in residence, meals, laundry, use of the Health Centre and 24-hour nursing.

If my child wins a scholarship but we still can’t afford it, what then?

You may also be eligible for financial aid through the school. The Admissions team will discuss this with you at the appropriate time.