Do you know what your scholarship deadlines are?

Many people have, at some point in their academic careers, asked for an extension on a paper or homework assignment.  Teachers who are eager to see their students learn will sometimes give them some grace as far as deadlines are concerned, but don't think that you can do the same thing with scholarship and grant applications.  Sending applications in late won't make a positive impression on those who review them, and in many cases they have hundreds of other, highly qualified student applicants to choose from who have turned theirs in on time.  Here are some tips to help you avoid looking irresponsible and get your applications in on time.

Don't forget the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is one of the best resources for students going into college. Filing this application on time can lead to big time help in the form of loans or grants.  The Federal Pell Grant is the most popular federal education grant and can help students with up to $5,550 per year, but students must file a FAFSA to find out if they're qualified for it. For more information on the FAFSA, or to file your application, visit www.FAFSA.ed.gov.

Prioritize your applications

You'll be able to tell which grants and scholarships are the most competitive (they often have the most zeros in the dollar amount), so make sure to fill out those applications early instead of waiting until the last minute.  For many big-time scholarships the applications are due the fall before they come into effect, giving the funding organization plenty of time to review them.  That means that a high school student should start submitting applications close to the beginning of their senior year! This may sound too early, but considering the deadlines and amount of applicants, it never hurts to be early. This will also allow you to be thorough should you need to write up an essay. You want to make sure there are no errors and you meet all requirements. Submit applications for locally funded scholarships and grants early as well. Show that you can be prompt and that you are eager to receive financial aid.

Keep a calendar

Staying organized should be a top priority, especially when filling out a seemingly endless number of applications.  You can avoid procrastination and stress by knowing exactly when applications are due and pacing yourself accordingly.  Taking a little extra time to organize can save you both time and hassle in the long run. You could also potentially earn yourself more money by getting everything in on time, applying for all loans that apply to you, and making your applications as perfect as possible.

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