When do I apply for scholarships?
Ah, senior year: Filling out college apps, working hard on classes, and, yep, you guessed it: scholarship time.
There are ways to go about it, though, that make your life easier. Your best bet is to start junior year. (Scratch that—start sophomore or freshman year!) We know, it's early. But think about how thankful you'll be during your senior year when you've alrady researched scholarships at the beginning of high school. This allows ample time to plan your activities, work toward your GPA goal, complete community service, and more to qualify for as many scholarships as possible.
That being said, do make sure you're doing things you enjoy or are interested in pursuing. Don't torture yourself through high school just to get scholarships later. Starting early just helps you nail down the logistics. Need to have at least two years of private instrument instruction to snag a prestigious music scholarship? No problem: You've done that and more. Need to receive a varsity letter in the sport of your choice to win $10,000 toward college? You've already worked hard with your eye on the prize.
Tips on the Scholarship Process
Stay organized. Keep a chart or Excel sheet of deadlines and requirements. Make sure to note if you can use a certain essay (with slight amendments) for two or more scholarships.
Apply early and often. If you're qualified for a scholarship, apply. You can make the money up front now—or you can work for it later when it's in the form of a loan with lots of interest accruing. It's worth the time you could spend now, and your older self with thank you profusely.
Keep applying in college. Just because you've graduated from high school doesn't mean you can't keep applying to scholarships made specifically for currently enrolled college students.
Research early. Like we said above, it's best to plan ahead. That way, you don't have to look back with regret on the things you could have done in high school but didn't.
Find Great Scholarships
- Fast Web
- Scholarship Monkey
- Doorway to College social media
- Your school counselor
- A state grant agency
- Your high school website
- Your parents’ employers
- Your employer