While it may seem counterintuitive to start applying for scholarships before you’ve even picked out your university (or major), the earlier you start, the better. By starting early, you can take advantage of scholarships that are unique, creative, or cater to your extra-curricular activities and skills—scholarships you might not have time to consider if you start a little later. It also gives you an opportunity to work out those pesky kinks in the application process.
Manage Your Time
Whether you start applying for scholarships early or later in your high school career, the same rules apply, including learning time management. This season of life is a balancing act of schoolwork, sports, after-school programs, social life, college visits and of course, scholarship applications. By assigning a certain amount of time each week to scholarship searches and applications, you can determine how much time should be spent on each scholarship. Does that one-time, $100 scholarship need to take more time than your National Merit application? Probably not.
Apply Like a Pro
Just like any college or job application, doing it well requires just a little bit of concentration. Scholarship applications usually come with a list of requirements, so make sure every item on that list is checked. Is your application legible? Is it addressed correctly? Did you meet all of the requirements? When it comes to scholarships, the best practice is to follow the guidelines exactly. It isn’t necessary to add more than what is requested, and you certainly don’t want to include less than required. Simply follow the guide.
Making sure you have completed your application like a pro is also a practice in time management. Once you’ve finished an application, set it aside for a day or two and then review it again with fresh eyes. Proofread, and then proofread again, go over that checklist, and make sure everything looks clean and orderly. When everything is in place, make a copy for yourself in case something goes missing in transit. You’ll be ever so glad you did.