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When is the right time to apply for scholarships?

I am a current junior in high school who is very confused about scholarships and how to pay for colleges. People have told me that I need to apply for them in junior year before applying for college but others tell me that I need to wait until after I submit my college applications. Can someone help me? I am confused and overwhelmed! #college #medicine #money #scholarships #financial-aid

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Catherine’s Answer

Start by researching scholarships. If possible, start at your school's college counseling office. As you find scholarships, keep track of the ones you are interested in and eligible for, what they require in their application, and the due date. You will find some scholarships allow you to apply as early as freshman year, while most will require you to apply sometime between your junior and senior year.

Thank you very much. Do you have to apply for them every year or do you keep them all throughout college? Sofie C.

Hi Sofie. Most often, scholarships are a one time deal, so you would need to keep applying each year. There may be some scholarships that do not fall into this category, but most are a one time award that goes towards tuition. Depending on the scholarship, it could pay for multiple semesters! Alicia Curley

Oh okay thanks for letting me know Ms. Curley! Sofie C.

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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Sofie:

I recommend that you start applying for scholarships as soon as possible (ie, your junior year). Start your search for the ones you are interested in. Don't forget those offered by your local church, foundations, community, parent's employer, etc. Remember, you'll need to write an essay for each scholarship; so be prepared to do a lot of writing. Here's a brief list of sites to help you get started on your search. Best of luck to you on your journey!

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Scholarships.com • https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/
Fastweb • https://www.fastweb.com/college-scholarships
CollegeBoard.org • https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search

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Ari’s Answer

I applied for scholarships on Fastweb year round when I was in my senior year of high school and I believe that you can apply for scholarships anytime that you want to.

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Jessica’s Answer

You can apply for general scholarships your Junior year from agencies not affiliated with a specific college or university. When applying to colleges there will be the option to apply for scholarships as well. I recommend applying to college at the end of junior year. Some scholarships at universities have very early deadlines. Take a look at schools you are interested in and see what scholarships they have available. They usually give very good descriptions and criteria that must be met right on the school's website. After you have been accepted you can meet with a Financial Aid Counselor who will be able to help you out with all your questions.

Research grants as well, they are typically based on financial need but there are some that are specific to certain majors. I know school loans seem scary but if you still need more money that is an option. And, it is worth it to get that degree! Good luck! :)

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Xavier’s Answer

I say apply as soon as possible. When you are looking for scholarships make sure you search "any & everything" that can apply to you. You might even find that you were the only one to apply, because a lot of people don't take the time to search for scholarships

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Divya’s Answer


You can start applying for internships in your 2nd year of study so that you can have ample time in the end. You can read through the eligibility criteria in the company page of the company you are interested in.


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Aimee’s Answer

Hi Sofie,

This is a great question! There are actually scholarships available for students at any age but you should really start looking seriously at what applies to you no later than your junior year. I just went through this process with my oldest child a few years ago and am getting ready to start again with my youngest. It can be a bit overwhelming but my advise is to save every essay that you write because most scholarships have very similar questions. This will allow you to reuse those answers and save a ton of time. One good website to use is http://www.fastweb.com/.

Best of luck to you!