Scholarship Timeline

Scholarship Timeline for Maximum Scholarship Success

Most high school students and parents believe that the scholarship process begins Senior year. To some degree this is true as a high percentage of scholarships (especially local ones) are specifically for high school students. However, the student must be able to hit the ground running and apply to as many scholarships as possible. In order to do this, Seniors need to have:

  • A list of eligible scholarships organized by deadline date, and
  • All the necessary documents assembled and ready to submit with the application (or what we call a “Scholarship Portfolio“)

Another consideration for Seniors is that their last year in high school is filled with college applications, leaving precious little time to find and apply for scholarships.

We suggest encouraging high school students to follow a timeline that will increase their chance of winning enough scholarships to avoid incurring student debt and reduce their sense of frustration and overwhelm.

Freshman Year

  • Start your scholarship search (for detailed advice, check out How to Find & Win Scholarships).
  • Make a list of scholarships that you qualify for and be sure to include the deadline date.
  • Read about the past winners to see what made them stand out.
  • Begin to engage in community service activities (one long-term engagement is better than several small ones as it shows commitment and dedication).
  • Get a part-time job (it will look good on your scholarship resume and potentially lead to employer-provided scholarships).
  • Begin keeping track of your accomplishments (e.g., honors and awards) and the contact information for people who can verify your achievements and write a letter of recommendation.

Sophomore Year

  • Continue to search and add new scholarships to your list.
  • Review your social media profiles and eliminate anything that is damaging your reputation. You may wish to lock down your existing social media profiles and start new accounts devoted strictly to your scholarship aspirations. Here’s a post I wrote that may help: How to Use Social Media to Win Scholarships!.
  • Continue to engage in community service and work part time.
  • Build your Scholarship Circle (people who can help you find scholarships).
  • Continue to keep track of your accomplishments and contacts.
  • Prepare to take the PSAT in the first semester of your Junior year. (Summer is a great time!)

Junior Year

  • Continue to search and add new scholarships to your list.
  • Continue utilizing the power of social media to project the best you!
  • Continue to engage in community service and work part time. Ask for letters of recommendation.
  • Continue to keep track of your accomplishments and contacts.
  • Reach out to your Scholarship Circle to let everyone know you’ll begin applying for scholarships this year and you need their help.
  • Assemble your Scholarship Portfolio. Ask people you trust to proofread and give you feedback about your essays, personal statement, resume, and other documents.
  • Apply for scholarships where you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Take the PSAT (also known as the “Scholarship Test”). It’s more than just a practice SAT because the results can lead to a fully funded college degree. Check out this great podcast The Significance of the PSAT on How Much College Costs from Celest Horton.

Senior Year

  • Put all the scholarship deadlines on your calendar so you don’t miss any. If you use Google Calendar, you can set up reminders.
  • Apply, apply, and apply!
  • Continue to utilize social media to locate scholarships, share your quest and awards with your Scholarship Circle, and thank them for their support. Remember, Scholarship Committees are looking at your social media accounts!
  • Update your Scholarship Portfolio as needed (current transcripts and resume).
  • Keep track of the scholarships you’ve applied for. If you need a form, we’ve designed one. Just send us an email and we’ll be happy to share it with you.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until senior year to start the scholarship process. In order to win the most money, you have to put in the time and effort. Remember that your scholarship efforts are paying you upwards of $66/Hour and saving you from mortgaging your future with student loans repayments.

If you need the extra help of learning how to find and win scholarships or assembling your Scholarship Portfolio, we’re just a click away.






Blogging Opportunity for High School Students

High School Student BloggersWanted: High School Students Who Love to Write & Plan on Attending College

Are you a high school student who enjoys writing or dreams of being a journalist? Are you planning to attend college? The Scholarship Opportunity Blog would love to hear from you! We’re currently looking for four high school students (one freshman, one sophomore, one junior, and one senior). We’d like you to write about topics relating to issues that are important to high school students like yourself or challenges you’re grappling with. We’re interested in hearing what you’re doing to prepare for college including:

  • Studying for and taking standardized tests (PSAT, SAT, and ACT)
  • Selection of classes and coursework
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Community service
  • Working while in school
  • Dual enrollment
  • Selecting a college
  • Applying to college
  • Paying for college
  • Finding and winning scholarships
  • How you use social media
  • Student loans and debt

We’re interested in YOUR experiences, thoughts, worries, questions, and issues you bump up against while in high school.

You would write at least one blog post per month on a topic of your choice. We will provide you with a professional writer and editor to polish your post prior to publication. We often receive requests from companies to review their products. While we are not paid for endorsements or reviews, we do receive these products for free. If you write an honest product review, you’ll get to keep the products for your own personal use. We think your opinion as a high school student is invaluable.

While this is an unpaid blogging internship, your photo and name will be published monthly, allowing you to gain real-world work experience and get the attention of college admissions counselors and scholarship committees. In addition, you will receive copies of the Get a College Degree without Drowning in Debt series, attend our classes for free, receive individual coaching, learn how to find and win scholarships, and get that all-important letter of recommendation.

If you’re under the age of 18, you’ll need a parent to authorize the use of your photo, your name, and bio statement (which you’ll write yourself).

We’re looking for students who can make a one-year commitment. If you’re able to meet deadlines and are interested in blogging for us, reach out and send us an email today along with a short sample of your writing, and why this opportunity excites you.

Does Your College-Bound Student Need Scholarships?

Scholarship Boot CampSend Them Back-to-School with Scholarship Tools

If you’re a parent of a college-bound student, you’re likely shopping for back-to-school supplies and preparing your student for academic success. You’re also probably worrying about how to pay for college. While we can’t help you with your shopping, we CAN help your student find and win scholarships.

Our books are filled with advice and strategies for finding and applying for scholarships. The Scholarships for Women ebook has over 250 scholarships with links to the sponsoring organization’s application page. Organized by deadline, means your daughter won’t miss scholarship opportunities. Priced at $4.99 and $7.99 these are two valuable resources that you may want to include on your back-to-school shopping list.

High school is the best time to begin the scholarship process because it’s the one time in your college-bound student’s life that they are eligible for three major types of scholarships:

  • High School Seniors
  • Entering Freshmen
  • Undergraduate Students

Some parents may be thinking, that’s great, but HOW do I motivate my teen to find and win scholarships? It’s simple. Sign your student up for one of our Scholarship Boot Camps or Scholarship Coaching and we’ll provide the motivation, support, and tools necessary for your student to actively engage in the scholarship application process. Classes start September 30th and October 2nd and meet for 1 hour a week. Although we recognize that high school students, and seniors in particular, have a lot on their plate, NOW is the time to start working on scholarships because most scholarship deadlines begin in October and finish by April. If your student has completed their Scholarship Portfolio, then he or she can use the Winter Holiday Break to crank out those all-important scholarship applications.

Scholarship Boot Camp 1: Launch Your Scholarship Business

With this 8-week course teens will understand the value of funding their college degree with scholarships instead of student loans—applying for scholarships will pay $66/hour! The goal is to graduate debt-free so they can live their lives without the burden of monthly student loan payments (and they won’t end up living back at home). They’ll unleash their inner entrepreneur and learn the steps necessary to launch a scholarship business, promote their “brand” using social media, and build their scholarship team. In addition, they’ll develop the skills to:

  • Find genuine scholarships
  • Conduct searches to yield high-value results to save time wading through long lists of irrelevant “matches”
  • Become a scholarship and financial aid lingo guru (especially helpful when signing documents or negotiating with the Financial Aid Office)
  • Find free and valuable online resources such as blogs and podcasts
  • Save time by knowing the best (and worst) scholarship search engines, web portals, and mobile apps
  • Identify and reach out to real-life scholarship resources
  • Recognize and avoid scams and dead-end contests

Scholarship Boot Camp 2: Create Your Scholarship Portfolio

The Scholarship Boot Camp 2 begins with a one-on-one interview to identify your student’s goals, and create an action plan to meet those goals. Students will receive work to complete before camp starts. Each week, they’ll learn how to build a scholarship team, use social media resources to find and win scholarships, and develop all the documents needed in their Scholarship Portfolio so they can apply for scholarships immediately. They’ll also get answers to scholarship questions, receive feedback and professional editing on their portfolio documents, and map out their next steps. At the end of two months, their Scholarship Portfolio will include:

  • Two Essays
  • Sample Application
  • Resume
  • Requests for Letters of Recommendation (leading to real Recommendation Letters)
  • Transcripts
  • Test Score Documentation
  • Cover Letter
  • Personal Statement
  • Photograph (Headshot)
  • Thank You Notes to Your References

So we urge you to stop pestering your teens to apply for scholarships and give them the tools they need to jump start the process. We not only teach them how to find and win scholarships, we gently hold them accountable for making progress (so you don’t have to).

Got questions? Leave us a comment or send us an email.

If you’re a High School Guidance Counselor, drop us a note. We give free scholarship presentations to parents and teens.