Where and when should students apply for scholarships? Generally, students should begin applying for scholarships in the summer between their junior and senior year. Starting the process in the summer gives students the ability to organize their thoughts, research which scholarships they qualify for and start thinking about who to ask for letters of recommendation. Students usually have more time in the summer than in the school year, which makes the process easier to manage.

Another important aspect of this process is the scholarship essays. Well-crafted essays may be the key to getting the scholarship you need. Essays range from leadership essays to essays about volunteering to essays about yourself! We’d be happy to help you craft stories that help set you apart from the crowd and increase your chances of acceptance.

While there are thousands of scholarships out there to apply for, it’s hard to pinpoint which ones to go after. So, where should students start? Before summer begins, a great place to start your search is with your school counselor. They will have numerous resources to get you going. If you’ve narrowed down your college search, you can also see if those specific colleges have scholarships available.

Places to start your scholarship search:

  • a high school counselor.
  • the financial aid office at a college or career school.
  • the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool.
  • federal agencies.
  • your state grant agency
  • foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
  • organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
  • ethnicity-based organizations
  • your employer or your parents’ employers
  • niche.com
  • scholarships.com
  • bigfuture.com
  • collegeraptor.com
  • bold.org

Merit-based vs. financial need

Some of the scholarships you will apply for are merit-based, which means you earn them by meeting certain standards set by the scholarship-giver. Merit-based scholarships can be awarded on several different items including academic achievement, talent, interests, or traits.

Financial need scholarships are based on the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a school and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). For more information about Demonstrated Financial Need or to take a better look at Expected Family Contribution, visit our blog about Demonstrated Financial Need

Keep in mind, every scholarship is different and has different monetary values. Some scholarships may be $250 and other scholarships may pay for your entire tuition.

Our Tutors are here to help students better understand their goals and needs, provide insights to college admissions, and get them started down the best path. Reach out to us today.