The Right Time to Apply for Scholarships

If you need help paying for college, you should definitely apply for scholarships. But scholarship applications come with a deadline. If you miss those deadlines, you miss your chance of getting free money that will help reduce your college bills.

College is expensive and it could be a very challenging task to be a good student. Many learners need to pay for their own education so they have to combine study and earning a living. As a result, this can lead to a delay in your learning schedule and accumulation of homework.  In order to avoid getting in that kind of situation, applying for a scholarship at the right time is something to consider.

A student holding an open textbook in their lap.

After January 1

Those who are applying for financial aid from the government by using the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form should do so after January 1st. You will not be able to submit your application before the first of January because you will need to prove your financial need based upon the income that you generated in the most recent tax year, which will end on December 31. Once you have your income statement for the year, you can apply as soon as you can after January 1. The sooner, the better, as some states will have earlier deadlines than others.

Work with the Scholarship’s Deadline

When you actually apply for a scholarship will also depend upon the deadline that is set for that scholarship. Some deadlines will be sooner than others. Some deadlines will occur while you are still in high school, and others will be further into the future. So, if you are planning on applying to more than one scholarship, sort them by their deadline and work on them in that order so you do not miss any deadlines.

Apply for Scholarships Before You Graduate High School

It is also a good idea to start applying for scholarships before you even graduate high school. Between the scholarships that will be offered to you by the government, those that are offered by non-profits, and those that are offered by the schools that you hope to attend, you will be able to calculate how much you can save and which school will be the most affordable choice for you. So starting at the beginning of your senior year of high school, talk to your guidance counselor and do some research online to find out about the scholarships that are available to new college freshmen. Then simply follow the instructions to apply for those scholarships by their specified deadline. Getting all of this information as early on as possible means that you will have more time to complete the scholarship applications and increase your odds of winning them.

Before Your Senior Year of High School

You don’t necessarily need to wait until you are a senior to apply for scholarships. There are many college scholarships that are available to juniors, as well as students that are not high school seniors. These students are in high school but are thinking about where they want to go to college and what they want to major in. If you do end up getting these scholarships, they will be reserved for use until you’re a freshman in college. But by applying this early, you will definitely reduce the competition for those much-needed funds. You also make yourself more attractive to schools that prefer accepting students who don’t have a financial need.

Every Spring and Fall Semester

There are a lot of scholarships that are offered every year. That means that you can apply after you have started college too. These scholarships have varying deadlines in the fall and spring semesters. You can essentially look for scholarships in both semesters and apply for scholarships throughout the entire school year. You may find that there are more scholarships offered in the fall, and their deadlines might be in the spring. Or you might be working on spring deadlines in the fall. The key is to schedule your applications so you can complete them accurately and completely and increase your odds of winning them.

Now that you have a better idea of when you should be applying for scholarships for college, you can make sure that you are getting all of your applications in on time. The more scholarships you apply to, the higher your chances of getting the financial aid that you require.

College Raptor can help with finding that aid, as well as comparing personalized college price estimates for schools around the country! Check out our free match tool today!


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