Do you have a teen who is considering college in the future? Are you yourself considering taking some college courses? You should begin now to look at what scholarships are available rather than waiting until the last minute. Some scholarships need to be applied for in advance as much as a year prior to attending college. That means when your student is a junior they need to be collecting information and possibly even begin applying then for some of the scholarships. Most scholarships will give you the deadline dates needed, but try to find out now rather than finding out you missed out on applying because you did not get the information early enough.
Also, do some research on the different types of scholarships available to you. For instance, the Chrissy Weems Scholarship is for seniors who have been already accepted to a college or those presently in college but not in their final year. It was set up for future entrepreneurs and small business owners. Other scholarships are based on academics, athletics, minorities, women, and community service. Each of these will have their own requirements for acceptance and will of course have their own time schedules for applying.
When should I apply also includes, do I have a need to apply. Not all scholarships are based on financial need, although that is probably one of the biggest reasons for applying for a scholarship. Perhaps your parents could afford to pay for college, but you want to make it on your own. Maybe you just need a little assistance, rather than a full scholarship. All of these questions need to be considered now. Do your homework on scholarships that are available to you and in your area. Make sure that they work with the college you are considering attending. Some colleges have their own internal scholarship programs for students. Be sure to check with the college you are applying to. My son received financial assistance for a local community college he attended. It paid for his tuition and books.
So, when should you consider applying for a scholarship? As soon as you know you or your child will be attending college begin your scholarship research. Ask for applications and find out what their requirements are at each instituion you are considering. Some have you write a short essay response to a question asked. Others require references from teachers or past employers. You might be required to write an introduction about yourself, your education thus far and what your goals are for the future. Some colleges require an in person interview. By beginning the research and preparation in advance you will have plenty of time to prepare responses, get the necessary references and meet any other requirements set down.
Neighbors, if you have any other suggestions for parents with college bound students about applying for a scholarship, please feel free to share in the comments. I have only had one child attend college, and it was the local community college, so anyone with advice regarding larger colleges please jump in and share if you have any do's or don'ts about scholarships.