When, How and Where to Apply for Scholarships

Most students think about their college applications first – then think about scholarship money only after they’ve got a place to land.

Often that can turn out to be a costly mistake.

When To Apply for Scholarships

The earliest deadlines for scholarships hit in October – well before any college application is due. Almost all are due before March – before many students will have heard from the majority of their schools.

If you really want a scholarship, you have to think of the money separately from the academic application process. Scholarship money will follow wherever you go – if you’ve got it in place.

To that end, make sure you know the due date of each scholarship you’re applying to – and try to get your application in early.

Scholarships usually accept applications post-marked by the deadline – but you don’t want to shave it that close. If there are any errors or other problems, you have no safety margin. What’s more, some scholarships dole out money on a first-come first-served basis. The earlier you apply, the better your chance.

Where To Apply

Make sure you aren’t wasting time on the wrong scholarships –an easy trap to fall into, considering the number of scholarships out there.  First, make a list of your academic or other unique qualifications… and apply only to scholarships for which you’re a solid fit.

Don’t waste your time with near-misses. Even if the money is great, there is just about no chance you’ll get the grant over an applicant that’s a perfect match.

How To Apply

Finally, as you get further along in the process and you’ve got a school in hand, make sure you know the rules of your particular financial aid office.

Some schools will take any outside scholarships you receive and subtract that from financial aid grants. Some will subtract scholarships from student loans, or work-study programs. Some will even allow you to subtract scholarship money from your expected family contribution, allowing you to receive even more financial aid.

These differences aren’t small changes in the accounting ledger; they can mean a swing of thousands of dollars in aid. Make sure you know the rules well, and make your scholarships work for you in the most efficient way.

(To learn more about the financial aid process, along with dozens of other college funding and admissions tips, tune in to our free college funding webinar.

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold
Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com


Related Articles:

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What Scholarships Can I Apply for as a Junior?

What are the Most Common Scholarships?

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.