First-year student 'completely shocked' to win York U free tuition contest

Shayan Nandi always had his sights set on York University for post-secondary studies, but never expected to come for free.

The 18-year-old Brampton, Ont., resident was selected by a random draw from 13,000 entries to win free tuition for his first year of studies at York University. Nandi will study biomedical science in the Faculty of Science beginning this fall, and will have up to $7,100 in first-year tuition fees covered by the University.

York University gifted free tuition to a first-year student through the Open Your Mind First-Year Free Tuition Contest. Entries, which were collected from Sept. 5, 2017 to March 30, 2018, increased by almost 1,000 names compared to last year.

The York Lions mascot presents the first year free tuition prize to Shayan Nandi

The York Lions mascot presents the first-year free tuition prize to Shayan Nandi

Nandi was presented a cheque on Wednesday, Aug. 22 during #HeartOfALion Day, a campus community event held at York Lions Stadium for York University students, faculty and staff.

Roughly 300 spectators were on site to see Nandi accept his prize.

Nandi, who graduated from Turner Fenton Secondary School's IB program, said he was “completely shocked” when he learned his name was drawn to win free tuition.

“I actually forgot I had entered,” he said, adding this is his first time winning anything.

The free tuition, he said, will ease the stress of starting his first year of post-secondary studies and will allow him to focus on academics and becoming a part of the campus community.

He's excited to start post-secondary studies at York, his first choice of schools.

In addition to sending in applications for two different programs at York, he also applied to the Life Sciences program at the University of Toronto, but said he felt York's program was the best path for his future goal of becoming a doctor.

"Even though I got into U of T, I felt that York’s Biomedical Sciences program offered me more and would lead me to success," he said. "York just had better resources and opportunities that would help any student succeed."

Nandi is also enthusiastic about the atmosphere at York – both the campus and the community, which he learned about during a campus tour.

The tour offered a lot of information, he said, about peer tutoring and learning circles, and becoming immersed in student life.

“York itself is a great school. It has a positive atmosphere and it has everything that another university would have to offer, and in some respects much better opportunities,” he said.

The contest, although a surprise to win, is one of those opportunities and he encourages prospective students for Fall 2019 to watch for the entry date.

“You just never know if you might win,” he said.

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