Most students concentrate on the process of applying for college. It is a lengthy and involved process, but there is one more thing you college-bound students should be thinking about—scholarships. Searching for scholarships that you are eligible for and that are available to you should actually start months before you apply to college, and applying for scholarships should begin at least by the fall of your senior year. The good news is it’s never too late to apply for scholarships.
First, you do not have to have to be financially needy to apply. Many scholarships are based on merit. And, even if you think you have enough money, you never know where you might come up short of monies at college, given the many expenses you can incur.
Remember, too, that because of President Obama’s Stimulus Plan, there are both more grants and scholarships available.
In fact, there are thousands of scholarships out there based on academic talents, intended college majors, tests scores, leadership and other characteristics, community service, and extracurricular activities.
The first thing to do is to look for scholarship requirements. You can use scholarship matching sites by filling in your profile online, and the sites will help find what is available for YOU.
March through April is the latest time window for scholarship application. Always apply to many, many scholarships, not just two or three, because competition is tough. If you have completed one application, most of your work is already done for more. But, always make separate applications for each scholarship you apply to. Before sending an application, always read directions and follow them. Then check your application for completeness and make sure you have attached necessary documentation.
Another thing to keep in mind, because of the competition, is that scholarships that require essays have less competition because applicants don’t like to write essays. Essays can also allow you to showcase your talents better. You can get some good advice about writing scholarship essays both online and through a number of books on the topic.