How early should I start applying for scholarships?
You should definitely keep an eye for them the moment you're in high school. While you may not know what major you want to pursue, or where you really want to go, if you have college in mind then you should definitely start thinking about how you're going to pay for it. As you become an upperclassman in high school (junior or senior status) start really narrowing down what you want to do, and then you can gind some great scholarships that might be specific to what you want to do. Don't wait too long to start the search, because by the time you're in college there might be some opportunities you missed out on. A lot of scholarships focus on seniors still in high school, so take some time out of your schedule to just search because they seem to get harder and harder to find. Also, look into scholarships offered by the college you want to attend and you might find even more opportunitites that way!
Everyone here has given excellent advice already, but I thought I'd pop in and add a few resources for those who have no idea where to start looking for scholarships. Here are three well-regarded search engines for scholarship information:
as well as a few tips for your scholarship search process: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-scholarship-coach/2010/12/08/4-dos-and-1-dont-for-finding-scholarships
Good luck, everyone!
There is some very good advice all around.
One other thing to add:
Just because you are in college, does not mean that you don't qualify for scholarships anymore. There are plenty of scholarships for college students (including scholarships to pay for internships, volunteering trips, and study abroad).
Cast your net wide, because a lot of scholarships ask for similar essays/recommendations.
Scholarships360 is another great site that profiles a different scholarship each day (disclaimer: it is a site I co-founded :) )
The earlier the better. I would start looking into potential scholarships your junior year and see what is required so you get a sense of what will be required from you. Senior year start applying and writing essays! APPLY to as many as you can don't rely on only one scholarship. Proof read your essays and get help from teachers and tutors. One last thing MAKE SURE TO REMEMBER DEADLINES. What good is it to write an awesome scholarship essay and have all the qualifications if you miss the deadlines? Creating a calendar with due dates and a process of how to write your essays really helped me and because of that I received the Gates Millennium Scholarship and have a full ride scholarship. Trust me it took a couple of tries and some scholarships said no but don't give up keep your head up and keep going forward. Think of it as a part time job, because you are writing to get money so take it seriously.
Some scholarships allow you to apply when you are a junior so it is a great idea to start researching scholarships junior year and making a list. Make sure you pay attention to deadlines and stay organized with all the applications.
Apply for scholarships as soon as you can! There are scholarships out there for everybody of all ages, but all have deadlines and requirements. There are scholarships out there that can be obtained by freshmen and sophomores in high school, but you just have to find them. Scholarships don't really have a "season" either. They become available and end at different times of the year, and it would be to your advantage to start applying for them the summer before your senior year of high school if not earlier. The sooner you apply, the easier it will be in the long run!
I agree with the posters above that you should apply for scholarships the second you qualify for them. Organization and excellent writing skills are key when applying for scholarships, because most require an essay of some kind. Also, pay close attention to the requirements of the scholarship. Some scholarships require you to follow up by writing a speech, attending a dinner, writing an essay, etc. as a way to say how the scholarship has helped your college experience.
You should start applying for scholarships as soon as you decide what school you want to attend. The earlier you apply and the more time you take to write the essays, the greater chance you have.
Once you decide what schools to apply to, you should start looking for scholarships. First, search through all of their scholarship opportunities, because some schools have special scholarships/ scholarship programs available for minorities, immigrants (in general or from specific regions), first generation college students, and more. The earlier you start, the better, because if your schools are lacking in scholarship opportunities, THEN you can go out in search of scholarships through other sources.