When Can I Start Applying for Scholarships?
It’s never too early (or too late) for students to start searching for and applying to scholarships. The important part is making sure you qualify before you apply. Every scholarship award has its own rules and restrictions; some may be available for all high school students, while others might be reserved for just a particular grade level (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, or current college students) or a combination of grade levels. The point is, every scholarship is different. The key is to read the scholarship eligibility requirements and application instructions. A scholarship will have a clear description of who can apply, and if you fall into that category, then you’re free and clear to submit your application. (And you should definitely give it a shot!)
You may wonder how you’ll get the money if you’re not in college yet. That depends on the scholarship too. Maybe the award sponsor will wait to send the check to the college bursar’s office once you declare what school you’re going to. Or maybe they will send a check directly to you, and it will be your responsibility to cash it and save the money for your college fund or campus visit expenses. Again, it all depends on the award. Just follow the scholarship’s instructions, ask the sponsor any questions you have to make sure everything is clear, and start racking up that free money for college. And good luck!
High school students need to know that they cannot—and should not—wait until May of their senior year to start applying for scholarships, and that freshman-year decisions will influence their future finances.
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