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When Can I Start Applying for Scholarships?

Knowing the right time to apply for scholarships is important to future college success. (Hint: There's never a wrong time, but this expert explains more.)

Claire CarterClaire Carter
It’s never too early (or too late) for students to start searching and applying for 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 that 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 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!

 Start finding scholarships today using our Scholarship Search tool!

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