Applying for Private Scholarships: Three Tips

1. When to Apply for College 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 most of their schools.

If you want a private scholarship, you have to 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.

Study from Northeastern University – July 2020

Scholarships usually accept applications postmarked 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.

2. 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’re a solid fit.

Don’t waste your time with near-misses. Even if the money is excellent, there is just about no chance you’ll get the grant over an applicant that’s a perfect match.

3. 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 particular financial aid office.

  • Some schools will take any outside scholarships you receive and subtract that from 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. Ensure you know the rules well, and make your scholarships work for you most efficiently.

If you have any questions about selecting a college or the admissions process, please contact me through my website at or call me at 760.877.7200.  I’d love to answer your questions!

Leave A Comment