When to Apply for Scholarships The earliest deadlines for scholarships hit in October – well before any college application is due. Almost all are due before March – before many students will have heard from the majority of their schools. If you really want a private scholarship, you should think of the money separately from the academic application process. Scholarship money will follow wherever you go – if you’ve got it in place. To that end, make sure you know the due date of each scholarship you’re applying to – and try to get your application in early. Scholarships usually accept applications post-marked by the deadline – but you don’t want to shave it that close. If there are any errors or other problems, you have no safety margin. What’s more, some scholarships dole out money on a first-come first-served basis. The earlier you apply, the better your chance. Where to Apply for Scholarships Make sure you aren’t wasting time on the wrong scholarships – an easy trap to fall into, considering the number of scholarships out there. First, make a list of your academic or other unique qualifications… and apply only to scholarships for which you are a solid fit. Don’t waste your time with near-misses. Even if the money is great, there is just about no chance you’ll get the grant over an applicant that’s a perfect match. How to Apply for Private Scholarships Finally, as you get further along in the process and you’ve got a school in hand, make sure you know the rules of your college’s financial aid office. Some schools will take any outside scholarships you receive and subtract that from their financial aid grants. Some will subtract scholarships from student loans, or work-study programs. Some will even allow you to subtract scholarship money from your expected family contribution, allowing you to receive even more financial aid. These differences aren’t small changes in the accounting ledger; they can mean a swing of thousands of dollars in aid. Make sure you know the rules of your institution well, and make your scholarships work for you in the most efficient way. If you have any questions about selecting a college, or the admissions process, feel free to contact me through my website at www.Prep4CollegeNow.com or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions! Andrea (Andi) K. Frimmer, M. Ed. Prep 4 College Now, Inc.