Updated on October 12th, 2018
We all know that scholarships are a great way to pay for your child’s education. They represent free money, making it easier for your student to avoid taking out loans so they can graduate debt free.
There are a lot of scholarships out there, particularly if they start their search today. Otherwise, the longer they delay beginning their search, the less money there is available. And, particularly for high school seniors, waiting even a few weeks can mean missing out on excellent opportunities.
If you and your child would like to learn more about applying for scholarships, sign up for our free college scholarship webinar! It’s a great way to learn about the process and how to identify opportunities that can help your student avoid debt while pursuing their education!
Think student loans aren’t a big deal? Check out this article: Is Student Loan Debt Really Such a Bad Thing?
Still not sure that applying for scholarships now is the right move? Here are six reasons why today is the perfect time to get started.
1. Less Competition for Scholarships
Fall semester is a great time to apply for scholarships! Often, many students are focusing on admissions requirements, so they are concentrating on their applications instead of funding their education.
However, once we get closer to spring, more students will shift their focus to scholarships. This has the ability to increase the number of applications for each opportunity, especially since the number of scholarships available will begin to dwindle as application deadlines pass.
Any time there are fewer applicants, your child gets an automatic advantage as it can increase their odds of being selected for the award. So, by starting now, your student might face less competition, which is certainly a benefit.
2. Deadlines are Approaching
Did you know scholarship deadlines can happen any time of year? It’s true!
There is no hard and fast rule regarding when scholarships need to stop accepting applications, so each institution can set their own guidelines and requirements.
In fact, some scholarships for the 2018-2019 school year are already be closed, and deadlines for others are looming.
If you want to learn more about the “Seasons of applying for scholarships” and when your child should be applying based on their school year, check out this post:
By starting now, your child can access more scholarship opportunities than they could if they wait, making it crucial that they get started today.
3. Take Advantage of Holiday Breaks
The vast majority of students get a significant amount of time off around the holidays. Winter breaks are generally at least two weeks long, so your child is likely to have some time on their hands that they can dedicate to scholarships.
So, consider having your student treat their hunt for this great source of free money for college just as they would their nightly homework assignments. Encourage them to commit a few hours each day to their search for scholarships and the application processes, as it will be easier to manage now than when they are also dealing with school work.
Looking for more tips about how your student can make the most of the holiday breaks, here’s an article to check out: 5 Quick Tips to Maximize the Holiday Break for the College Process
4. Plan for the Future
Though many scholarships have upcoming deadlines, some may not be closed to new applications until the spring, or even summer. If your child begins searching for opportunities now, they can spread out the work based on each awards deadline.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to create a calendar dedicated to scholarships.
Whenever your student spots a scholarship, have them add it to their calendar based on the application deadline. Then, encourage them to set a reminder to go off about one week in advance, and a second alert the day before it is due.
If any of the scholarships require documents to be submitted, such as transcripts or letters of recommendation, then they should also add calendar alerts for when they need to request or gather this information. Since it can take time to get these items in order (especially recommendations, as someone else has to supply them), it’s wise for your child to plan to request these as soon as possible to ensure they have them in hand before the deadline.
For more information, check out this article on letters of recommendation: How to Get the Best Scholarship Letter of Recommendation
5. Relieve Stress
A lot of students wait until the spring to apply for scholarships, and that can leave them scrambling to secure enough funds to avoid student loans. However, by starting now, your child may be able to cover their educational expenses with scholarships well before the end of the school year.
Not having to stress about finding the money can take a huge weight off of their shoulders, so putting forth some effort now can go a long way in making the next few months feel like less of a strain.
6. Fill in Gaps
Even if your student has already been awarded some scholarships, that doesn’t mean they should stop their search, especially if they still have more costs to cover. Every additional application represents an opportunity to avoid student loans and help them graduate debt free.
Plus, many scholarships can be used for expenses other than tuition. In fact, some are awarded in cash and can be used for anything from supplies to a new laptop to gas for their car.
Scholarships that don’t have restrictions regarding how they are spent should be considered a boon as they can help make every day living more manageable. So, make sure your child doesn’t miss out on these great opportunities as they can certainly make college life easier for everyone.
Why Delay? Students need to start applying for scholarships today!
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why your child should be looking for scholarships now. Waiting even a week or two could mean they have access to fewer opportunities, leading them to miss out on free money for college.
If you and your child are ready to start applying for scholarships, sign up for our free college scholarship webinar. It’s a must-see before getting started and can help your student graduate from college completely debt free (like I did).