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.
Common Scholarship Deadlines
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.
Big-Ticket Scholarship Deadlines
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.
The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology rewards promising high
school students for their original research projects by offering scholarship opportunities
and national recognition. Any high school student may apply, individually or as
part of a team. Scholarship awards range from $1,000 to $100,000 as students advance
in the competition. Applications are due September 30th each year.
High school seniors carrying a minimum GPA of 3.0 can apply for four-year achievement-based
scholarships offered by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Each year, 250 four-year
scholarships of $10,000 and $20,000 are awarded through this program. The application
deadline is October 31st.
The Intel Science Talent Search is a scholarship contest in which the best and brightest
high school seniors can demonstrate their research projects for the chance to win
a $100,000 college scholarship. Each year, 40 finalists are selected to present
their research at a week-long national conference. Finalists receive $5,000 scholarships
and have a chance to compete for the grand prize award. The application deadline
is November 20th.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
awards scholarships to minority students who are eligible to receive Federal Pell
Grants and have achieved academic excellence in high school. The scholarship helps
students cover the portion of their college costs not funded by other grant and
scholarship awards. Scholarship applicants must be nominated by an educator familiar
with their academic backgrounds. Applications are due January 15th.
The Dell Scholars Program, sponsored by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, carries
an award of $20,000 to help students complete their college education. High school
seniors who have financial need and plan to enroll immediately in bachelor’s degree
programs can qualify by enrolling in approved college readiness programs as high
school students and completing a Dell Scholars scholarship application online. Applications
are available on November 1st and the deadline is January 15th.
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.
Alabama: Check with your financial aid administrator
Alaska: AK Education Grant and AK Performance Scholarship - June 30th
American Samoa: Check with your financial aid administrator (additional forms may
Arizona: Check with your financial aid administrator
Arkansas: For Academic Challenge - June 1st; For Workforce Grant - check with your financial aid administrator; For Higher Education Opportunity Grant - June 1st (fall term) and November 1st (spring
California: For initial awards - March 2nd; For additional community college awards - September 2nd (date postmarked; additional
forms may be required)
Colorado: Check with your financial aid administrator
Connecticut: February 15th (additional forms may be required)
Oregon: OSAC Private Scholarships - March 1st; Oregon Opportunity Grant - February 1st
Palau: Check with your financial aid administrator (additional forms may be required)
Pennsylvania: All first-time applicants at a community college, business/trade/technical school, hospital school of nursing or enrolled in a non-transferable two-year program - August 1st; All other applicants - May 1st (additional forms may be required)
Puerto Rico: Check with your financial aid administrator
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