Author Topic: College Scholarships - When to start applying?  (Read 1860 times)

Unique User

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 648
  • Location: NC
College Scholarships - When to start applying?
« on: April 20, 2016, 08:39:27 AM »
My daughter is finishing her freshman year of high school and I was wondering when the ideal time to start applying for scholarships for college would be.  My thought is that if she starts applying during her sophomore year she might not win much if anything, but she will get practice writing essays and applying hopefully setting her up to do better her junior and senior years.  But, if she wins anything before senior year how does that work?  Do the scholarships bank until she starts college?  Or would she lose them if she actually won any her junior year, but didn't start college in 12 months?   Additionally, she is in honors classes and gets good grades, but is not the top kid, doesn't play a sport, doesn't have parents that are low income and isn't a minority.  I haven't started researching but am hopeful there are scholarships for leadership and/or volunteering as well as essay scholarships as I can't see that she will fall into any niche groups.   Luckily she is a kid that recognizes the value of winning even one $500 scholarship and has already been asking me how can we get started.    We do have a plan to pay for public university in case she does not win anything, but of course anything she can win would be appreciated.  Any advice, etc would be helpful.  Thanks in advance!

NotJen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
Re: College Scholarships - When to start applying?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 08:54:32 AM »
If I remember correctly, each scholarship will have criteria for who is allowed to apply for it - most will probably specify that they are open to graduating seniors. I guess she could ask each organization individually about applying early, and what would happen if she won.

I never got any feedback on my scholarship applications, so I'm not sure "practicing" will help at all. They won't tell you if your qualifications weren't good enough, or if your essay was poorly written, etc. Not much of a learning opportunity, IMO.  Focus on finding lots to apply to (local, national, school specific), and concentrate on doing well in school and activities.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 10:02:59 AM by NotJen »

Guizmo

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 268
Re: College Scholarships - When to start applying?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 09:09:06 AM »
Hi there, I received tons of scholarships when I went to college and came out of college with $10k. My profile is minority, decent ACT, near perfect GPA, sports, debate, volunteering. Truth be told, there are tons of scholarships that most students, as long as they are not failing school and have poor test scores, can get.

I would encourage your kid to get ready now because most scholarships will not be available until she is in her senior year. She will need to get involved in volunteering or another extracurricular that she is passionate about. She should also start practicing for her college entrance exams, since many schools award students big scholarships depending on how well they do in those exams. I also recommend that she works on a personal narrative and gets teachers to edit it. The essay is perhaps the most important component of a scholarship application. Lastly, applying for scholarships is a numbers game. She needs to make a list of all the scholarships she could potentially get, make a spreadsheet to keep track of requirements, deadlines and then start applying. She should probably start this by her junior year.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2965
Re: College Scholarships - When to start applying?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 09:26:02 AM »
There are lots of books out there on how to stand out in highschool. I was president of a club, had 2000 hours of community service hours and got perfect scores on AP/SAT II. There are scholarships linked to the federal government,  like if you want to be a statistician for the census bureau. Study/volunteer abroad in highschool also stands out. If she likes to write, how about she tries to get published? The most helpful thing to her right now, imo, is figuring out what kind of career she wants. Then she can target schools and get something useful out of the college experience.  This will take her a lot further in life then sitting around resentful because she's not in a sport/poor/minority. Teach your daughter that the reason affirmative action exists is because some people have fewer opportunities in life and less access to jobs because they don't have access to the same resources she does.
My personal story is that I'm a minority but I didn't apply to scholarships because I hadn't heard of them. I had135k in student loans but I've since paid it off. College debt isn't the worst thing if she has a well paying career.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1610
Re: College Scholarships - When to start applying?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 09:30:43 AM »
Most scholarships, especially those for more than $1,000, are awarded by the college or university.  Merit scholarships are now routinely awarded with the acceptance letter if it is a private school. Public universities often post their automatic merit scholarship standards online.  GPA and SAT or ACT are the key factors in determining the amount of scholarships.  So the advice to practice for those exams is great.  As for GPA, if her high school offers both Honors and AP classes, tell her to not feel compelled to take AP classes in subjects for which she thinks the Honors classes would be better for her.  (My daughter just went through the process last year and I have served on admissions committees as a faculty member at a university several years).  If she is applying to smaller (<3000) private schools, showing interest in the school also can affect the award amount, so be sure to visit. I strongly disagree with the idea that the essay is the most important factor.  Essays do not affect award amounts much for merit scholarships, but may have some small impact for diversity or specialized subject awards (such as a women going into engineering).  Frankly, admissions officers and committees know that many applicants have parents, teachers or counselors  edit the essays like crazy.  I think they should have an hour at the end of the SAT/ACT for a student to write an essay to avoid this issue.

There is no point in applying for specific school scholarships in advance, but contacting or visiting schools would be good her junior year.   If she is interested in a particular subject, she can look for writing competitions, etc, that offer scholarships as prizes. 

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2965
Re: College Scholarships - When to start applying?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 09:38:26 AM »
Oh wait she can be in a niche group if she wants. There are loads of scholarships for women in technical fields, as the poster above reminded me.