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The Best Time To Apply For College Scholarships

Money. Because College Isn't Free!
Money. Because College Isn't Free!
Carol G. of Merrick, NY writes: My daughter is in her Junior year of high school. When is the best time to apply for college scholarships?

The College Whisperer™ Replies: Great question, Carol. Answer? NOW!

Yes, it is rarely too soon to begin that scholarship search, and never too early to start saving for college.

While many students wait until they are in the throes of the college application process to even inquire about scholarships, grants and financial aid in general (and, unfortunately, far too many students never bother to seek out scholarship money at all), the scholarship hunt truly knows no season, save the deadline dates for particular scholarship applications.

True, a vast array of scholarships are available only to high school seniors, or to students already enrolled in college. And yet, more and more scholarships -- as in, FREE MONEY -- are open to high school juniors, and even to freshmen and sophs.

You simply have to look -- and actually apply!

So, why wait? When seniors -- and their frantic parents -- are scambling for college bucks in the fall, high school juniors can -- and should -- be looking for the money at their leisure, without the added pressures of essays, college application deadlines and that whole "where will I get in?" noose hanging down over their heads.

Start early, when few, if any of your peers are applying for scholarships, and you place yourself way ahead of the field. Fewer applicants. Greater chance of garnering that scholarship.

Where to start that college scholarship search? At the beginning, of course! :-) Sign up with scholarship registries, such as Fastweb.com and MeritAid.com. Complete the profiles. Check your email regularly for new scholarship opportunities. Log on to the scholarship search engines frequently and review the scholarships for which you may qualify. Then, apply, apply, apply!

Go for the big bucks, sure, but keep in mind that $50 here and $100 there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money (or at least enough to pay for books).

There are, literally, billions of dollars in scholarship money out there, ripe for the picking. Indeed, the search can be daunting and, most assuredly, time-consuming. Nevertheless, make the effort, spend the time (hey, you're already online, anyway), and you will be rewarded.

To get those "show me the money" juices flowing, here are but a few of the scholarships in the offing:

ScholarshipPoints.com Scholarships
Eligibility:
Scholarships for high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students
Deadline:
July 31, 2013
Amount: Up to $10,000

Platt Family Scholarship Essay Contest
Eligibility: Scholarships for undergraduate college students
Deadline:
July 31, 2013
Amount:
Up to $1,500

Heritage Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarships for high school seniors and undergraduate college students
Deadline:
July 31, 2013
Amount:
$500

FastWeb Refer A Friend Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarships for high school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students
Deadline:
July 31, 2013
Amount:
$500

Courage to Grow Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarships for high school juniors, high school seniors, and undergraduate students
Deadline:
July 31, 2013
Amount:
$500

$2,000 "No Essay" College Scholarship
Eligibility: Scholarship for current students and those planning to enroll within 12 months
Deadline:
Monthly
Amount:
$2,000

ThumbWars Texting and Driving Awareness Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarship for U.S. and Canadian citizens between the ages of 13 and 25
Deadline:
August 2, 2013
Amount:
$10,000

Digital Innovation Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarship for high school seniors and undergraduate college students
Deadline:
August 12, 2013
Amount:
$1,000

AFSA Scholarship Program

Eligibility:
Scholarship for graduated high school seniors
Deadline: August 22, 2013
Amount:
$1,000

Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarship for high school seniors, undergraduate college students, and graduate students
Deadline:
September 17, 2013
Amount:
Up to $10,000

AES Engineering Scholarship
Eligibility: Scholarship for high school seniors and undergraduate college students
Deadline: October 5, 2013
Amount:
$500

Voice of Democracy Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarship for high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors
Deadline:
November 1, 2013
Amount: $500

Imagine America Scholarship
Eligibility:
Scholarship for high school seniors or recent graduates who attend a participating career college
Deadline:
December 31, 2013
Amount:
$1,000

Tip of the iceberg!

Okay. Some scholarships require an essay. Big deal. You know how to write -- or at least, Text. Go for it! Others require little more than an email address or the completion of a short series of questions. Hey, if it takes an hour to get a $250 scholarship, you just made $250 per hour. Not bad for a kid without a degree.
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For more on scholarships and paying for college, check out these posts:
Win A Free Ride To College  
Scholarships Are Not Just For High School Seniors 
Calculating The Real Cost Of College

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