The process of finding and applying for financial aid can be much to handle. The trickiest part of this business can be finding the time to successfully meet scholarship application deadlines and unfortunately, application timelines are hard to meet when students are busy with other academic and extracurricular obligations such as tests, papers, sports and part-time employment. However, it’s important to find the time to meet scholarship deadlines, as some of the awards you currently qualify may be unavailable in subsequent years; particularly for high school seniors.
Like the rest of the events on the academic calendar, it’s smart to divide your scholarship applications into fall and spring semester scholarships, especially if you will have time to work on applications over winter break. Firstly, focus on the fall semester scholarships, as well as the ones with January deadlines. Then turn your attention to the spring deadlines, which you’ll hopefully find time to meet. Keep in mind other deadlines including college application deadlines and financial aid deadlines.
In addition to meeting scholarship deadlines, it’s key to know what you need to accomplish in the application process. Online scholarship application forms may only require response essays, which can be completed quickly. On the other hand, a scholarship that requests a well-researched essay or a variety of supporting materials will take longer to complete. In addition to budgeting time well, you should complete the application to the best of your ability, solicit feedback from peers and professionals, and also acquire supporting materials (i.e., letters of recommendation, tax forms, official transcripts or your FAFSA results). Also, submit your application and take care of errors or unexpected situations that arise. For the vast majority of scholarship competitions, there are no exceptions to posted deadlines, so if something gets in the way of you submitting your application, you may lose out entirely on your chance to compete for the award.
Most scholarship application deadlines will occur during the regular academic year, typically September through May. While this does give you some time to apply for scholarships, it still is a good idea to start searching for scholarships early. Many of the scholarships with the largest awards have the earliest deadlines but those who wait till December or January may be severely disappointed. We have provided scholarship application deadlines for just a few of the larger scholarship awards for high school student. For complete information on scholarship deadlines and requirements, conduct a free college scholarship search.
Below are some of the biggest scholarships you will come across. Sure, they are quite competitive but if done right, following all the rules and being selected as an awardee, you can make a very large difference in your post-college financial situation.
Completing the FAFSA may be required to apply for a number of scholarships, especially need-based scholarships offered by colleges, and it will be necessary to apply for federal and state grants. Many of these awards give priority to students who complete the FAFSA by their state’s application deadline, but some have deadlines in early/late fall. The wisest choice is to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible (new applications become available January 1st each year), but if you can’t do it right away, know the relevant deadlines. Additional information about federal and state financial aid application deadlines can be found on the official FAFSA website. Deadlines for individual campuses may occur earlier than the deadline for your state. Check with your college’s financial aid office to find out deadlines for campus financial aid.
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