As a Scholarship Coach, I am frustrated by the number of students who miss out on scholarship opportunities because of their busyness. These are students who have excellent GPA’s, great standardized test scores, have volunteered and participated in extracurricular activities. They have all the qualities and characteristics scholarship organizations are looking for. What they lack is time.
It is senior year and some of these students have immersed themselves in so many activities they really do not have time to apply for scholarships. I remind them that colleges accept students based on their Freshman, Sophomore and Junior year of high school. Adding additional activities and responsibilities in your Senior year may not be the wisest thing to do. Having interest and involvement in a couple of activities over a sustainable period shows interest and passion and is impressive to a scholarship committee. It is not necessarily the number of activities but the quality that counts.
If you are a busy and involved senior and need money for college you need a strategic plan, consider the following:
- Begin your scholarship search in your freshman, sophomore or junior year at the latest.
- Decide on what colleges interest you by the end of your junior year.
- Complete personal statements and college essays over the summer beginning your senior year.
- Visit colleges during your freshman, sophomore and junior year of high school
- Request letters of recommendations by the end of September.
- Set aside a specific time during the week to research scholarships.
- Keep a calendar and schedule application due dates a minimum of 2 weeks before the actual due date.
Yes, the early bird does get the worm.