We’ve focused the last few articles on where to find scholarships: your communityyour personal inventorya scholarship search site and iGrad. Let’s take some time to review when to look.

Understanding a few things about the scholarship world can help you identify when to schedule time into your busy schedule to look for possible opportunities. 

Peak Scholarship Season

January through April is considered to be the peak scholarship season. During this time, we see more scholarship programs accepting applications than other times of the year. In the past couple years, we’ve even seen this shift slightly to include December.

Here’s why. Providers want as many qualified applicants as possible to apply for their scholarships. January through April is when most traditional colleges have their admissions deadlines. As individuals are applying for fall admission, they’re also thinking about how to pay for school. As a result, many look for scholarships. Providers want to take advantage of this fact.

Due to this natural cycle, we start to see an increase in application periods opening during the later fall months. This continues into late spring. We’d recommend devoting more time to your scholarship search during this peak season.

Look Regularly

Not all scholarships are open during the peak season. In fact, we see scholarships open and close all year long, not just January through April.

Schedule time to search each month. For example, plan a couple hours on the first Saturday of every month or an hour every other Wednesday. You know your schedule; make the time. As you do, you’ll find new scholarships for which you may be eligible. This won’t guarantee that you’ll discover new opportunities every month. But, you definitely won’t find them if you don’t take the time to search.

Start your Search Early

If you plan to use scholarship at any time during your program, start searching as soon as possible. Not only does it take time to search and apply, the selection and awarding process can take months.

After the deadline, scholarship providers need time to review and select their recipients. This can take a week up to several months. Once they determine their recipients, more time is needed to send the check. For example, some of the programs open during the peak season won’t send their award checks out until the start of the upcoming fall semester. Expected timelines are often listed on the scholarship’s website and/or application.

Stay Organized

As you’re hunting for scholarships, here are a couple tips to help you stay organized.

Record the details (e.g., deadlines, requirements, contact information, website, etc.) of the scholarships you find. We’ve created a scholarship tracking tool you can download or you can create your own.

Use a calendar to schedule tasks for yourself. You can track application deadlines, set reminders to write essays, check on recommendation requests, order transcripts or follow up a closed scholarship that may now be open.

If you have questions, contact your finance advisor or the scholarship department at scholarships@phoenix.edu.

Center for Scholarship Excellence
University of Phoenix