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When Should I Start Applying for College Scholarships?

December 05, 2018

Apply to scholarships! In fact, apply to as many scholarships that you possibly can. We are talking about free money for school that you don’t have to pay back.

Don’t wait to apply

Federal Student Aid recommends that students start researching for scholarships the summer after your junior year of high school. If you have time and energy, you should even start before that. Every scholarship has different rules and different deadlines. Some even require submissions a year prior to starting college. It might feel like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. The more scholarships you get, the less you have to worry about paying off loans after college.

If you’re a senior reading this, don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of scholarships out there with deadlines that haven’t been hit yet. Start looking right now. We’ll help you start:

College-based scholarships

Scholarships are everywhere and often require a bit of digging to find the ones for which you are eligible. Want an easy beginning point? Look into your own prospective schools!

Many colleges offer some form of scholarship from their own private funds to be awarded on top of any federal aid you’re already receiving. The best part is, you might get considered for them automatically! While reviewing your application and your FAFSA information, the admissions team might also be assessing if you’re eligible for any merit- and need-based scholarships.

Contact financial aid offices to review their scholarship availability and process. If they don’t consider students automatically, figure out what steps you need to take to be put in the running. Do this sooner rather than later, as some schools require scholarship applications before the admissions deadline.

Get your chances up

One way to be considered for a merit-based scholarship through your prospective schools is to have good test scores (good grades and high-level coursework too). Some schools even give merit-based scholarships to every single student who has scores that meet a specific threshold. Edmit features some of these here.

Private scholarships

Next, you can look into private scholarships. This search process is much more convoluted.

There are endless scholarships out there about everything, like your love of coffee to your history of volunteerism. And every scholarship is worth something different, like $500 for books and supplies to up to $25K for any educational expense (referring to the scholarships above respectively). It will take time to find scholarships that match your profile and more time to complete the accompanying essay and application.

Remember, there is no limit to the amount of scholarships you could receive. So, the more time you give yourself, the more scholarships you have the opportunity to win.

Need more info?

Get more background with our article covering all of the things you need to know about scholarships. What are they? Who can apply? Where to look for them? Read this as your first step in your scholarship search.

There are a lot of scholarships out there. Regardless of where or when you find them, we can’t say it enough... apply, apply, apply!