- Start looking for scholarships today. It’s not too early! There are scholarships out there for students of most any age. Plus you'll have less competition.
- Your grades don’t to have to be perfect to get scholarships. However, your eligibility for scholarships increases GREATLY when you keep your GPA above a 3.0.
- NOW is the time to get involved in clubs, activities, and community service! Keep track of your volunteer and service projects, and the amount of hours worked, as well as any certificates, awards, and honors you receive.
- Start saving your essays from class that might be adapted to college admissions essays or scholarship application essays.
- Stay involved in school and community activities.
- Begin to incorporate leadership into your activities. Many students believe that leadership is limited to President of the National Honor Society or Vice President of the student council. While these are great examples of leadership, there are a lot of other ways to be a leader. If you are helping coach a little league team, working as a camp counselor, or if you are tutoring others, you are a leader. If you organized the church dinner or were chairperson of a committee, you have leadership experience.
- Keep your resume up to date with all of the great things you’ve been doing.
- Start thinking about taking college admissions tests.
- Take the ACT/SAT early so that scores will be back before college application and scholarship deadlines.
- Check the school website, scholarship search engines, and individual college scholarships. The most important step is to get the actual application for scholarships and know the due dates.
- File your FAFSA in October of your senior year.
- Get organized. Set up a file for scholarship applications by when they are due.
- Plan on spending at least one hour a week searching or completing scholarship applications. Submit them early. Don’t wait for the actual due dates. Applications will not be accepted late. (If you don’t submit an application, you won’t get a scholarship.) They get easier and almost enjoyable after you have done a couple. Plus your odds go up too.
- Consider appling to at least three colleges–your “safe” school, your “reach” school and your “dream” school. Situations may change and it could be beneficial to have multiple options when you graduate.
- Keep your grades up and stay involved in school and community activities.
- Get registered on Scholar-Box.com, Zinch.com,CollegeGreenlight.com, and Collegeboard.org scholarship search engines.
- Start thinking about your interests to begin thinking of a career/major and begin looking into colleges that would best fit you.
- Start thinking about whom you’d like to ask to be references for scholarships. These should be persons who have seen your dedication and hard work. You need to give at least two weeks for someone to write a letter of recommendation for you.
- Take the ACT/SAT (possibly twice), plan on taking it again as a senior.
- Try an internship or part-time job in the careers that interest you.