Rising HS Seniors Should Sharpen Their College Scholarship Pencils

For rising high school seniors, this summer will offer the perfect opportunity to visit schools of interest. But, dont forget to check out your college scholarship options before heading back to high school this fall.

For rising high school seniors, this summer will offer the perfect opportunity to visit schools of interest. But, don't forget to check out your college scholarship options before heading back to high school this fall.

As their junior year of high school draws to a close, most students are breathing a sigh of relief. The 11th grade is one of the most challenging and difficult of the high school years, a time when the most difficult subjects are tackled and conquered.

Enjoy Your Summer, But….

But, before rising seniors get too comfortable with having the entire summer off, many will head out to various college campuses in order to get a feel for a particular school and see which ones they should apply to come fall. At the same time, students should be sharpening their college scholarship application pencils because beginning in August you’ll want to begin applying in a bid to secure some much needed funding.

Let’s take a look at some of the important things you need to know about filling out a college scholarship application:

No Pencils, Just Pens — Just so you know it, we weren’t speaking literally when we mentioned sharpening your pencils. You’ll want to read your college scholarship application very carefully because some will require you to use a particular color ink (such as blue or black) when filling out an application.  If you don’t follow instructions to the letter, don’t expect to receive an approval letter next Spring!

Merit or Need — As you search for college scholarships you’ll quickly learn that most are made awarded based on either merit or need, sometimes both.  Merit scholarships will require you to show proof of your high school grade point average while financial scholarships might mean that you’ll have to furnish family tax form proof showing eligibility.

Full Time or is Part Time Okay — The vast majority of college scholarships require students to be enrolled full time, but there are also scholarships available for returning students who must work in order to support themselves and/or their families. These students don’t have the ability to carry a full load, so some scholarships do not require full time enrollment. Again, make sure you know the requirements as outlined in the scholarship application before applying.

Follow The Process — Although most scholarship programs have their own scholarship applications, some can also be found through the FAFSA — Free Application For Student Aid — program.  Examine what is posted on the FAFSA site and also apply separately to other programs. Apply early and apply to a variety of scholarships in order to increase the chances that you will win.

Scholarship Deadlines — While there are college scholarships which can be applied for during any month of the year, most have a window of time where they’ll accept your application. Gather information now about the various scholarships out there and get ready to mark up a calendar to show when each one’s deadline is.

Know The Amount Offered

Scholarships can be awarded in any amount from just a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars including those which can cover all college related costs. Apply for a variety of scholarships to ensure your chances of success and then get ready to do it all over again in subsequent years as needed.

Adv. — With billions of dollars of college scholarship money available, don’t leave money on the table by not applying for your share of the funds available. Should your scholarship needs still fall short, consider obtaining a private student loan to close the gap between what you owe for your schooling and what money you have available. Private student loans are available on a yearly basis so keep applying for college scholarship money first before seeking private funding. Download our free budget worksheets to help you keep track of your college expenses too!


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Categories: Scholarships