Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait until your senior year of high school to start applying for scholarships. You can start in your sophomore or junior year, or even earlier. It’s best to start the process a year in advance. However, if you start late, don’t despair. There are scholarships available for everyone, even adult learners, who are over 25.
Scholarship deadlines are year round, and awards are given at different times throughout the year. Each scholarship has its own deadline, so if you miss one, don’t give up. Try another, or re-apply for the same scholarship the following year. The key is consistency.
There are three main seasons when it comes to scholarships: spring, summer and fall.
Let’s review each one to help you determine the best time to apply for scholarships.
Spring scholarship season: January through May
January through May is a busy time for scholarship searches, applications and submissions. The scholarship deadline for a lot of these scholarships is March. Awards are often disbursed later that school year, just in time for fall classes.
If you’re applying for these scholarships, be prepared to have your FAFSA completed, as well as any essays you’ve written.
Summer scholarship season: June through July
The summer season is from June and July. There aren’t a lot of scholarships during this time of year.
However, with less time in school, you may have more time to focus on your applications. Scholarships in the summer may prove more beneficial with less applicants to contend with.
Fall scholarship season: August through December
Fall scholarships are typically from August through December. They cater to incoming students the following year. There are two major deadlines for these scholarships: October and December. You’ll want to prepare for these deadlines ahead of time.
Scholarship awards are disbursed around late summer/early fall of the following year.
Other scholarship deadlines.
Non-traditional scholarships, such as those offered by your local community, religious organization, or state may have different deadlines. Sometimes, you automatically qualify because you’re a member or resident. In other cases, you have to plan your application by the given deadline.