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Hi school graduate learning how to master scholarship.

Navigating your senior year of high school can feel like you’re in a whirlwind. With all their varying rules and deadlines, applying for scholarships can add an extra layer of complexity. But with some straightforward organization, you can conquer your scholarship search while juggling a busy schedule. Read on to learn a few ways to ensure you stay on top of your scholarship to-do list.

Be Deadline-Savvy

Most scholarships are upfront about their application deadline, often highlighting it in bold or underlining it on their forms and websites. But here’s a pro tip: dive in and read the entire application when you get it because there can be hidden mini-deadlines for specific sections. For example, some scholarships may require you to take the ACT by a certain date, while others want an early FAFSA submission. A few may even require you to apply to your chosen college by a specific priority date. Monitor all of these dates along with the main application deadline.

Also, figure out how the submission method affects the deadline. If it specifies the application must be received by a particular day and time, that means everything must be in the hands of the provider by that date. For paper applications, send them a few days early. If there’s a postmark deadline, ensure your application is in the mail before that day. Online or email submissions should reach them instantly but avoid waiting until the last minute to submit in case of technical glitches.

Note the Requirements

While reviewing the application, note all the components you must submit. This step is crucial to tackle early on because some parts of the application take more time than others. Common components include essays, recommendation letters, your FAFSA Submission Summary, and school transcripts. Remember, you’ll need time to review your application before hitting that submit button. Rushing through these tasks the night before the deadline rarely ends well. In fact, it’s wise to kickstart tasks like recommendation letters a few weeks in advance to ensure they’re ready on time. List all the pieces you need to complete for each application and estimate how long each will take. Craft realistic timelines based on your other commitments.

Find Your Organizational Flow

Once you’ve pinned down your deadlines and gauged the time each task demands, mark those pivotal scholarship milestones on your calendar. Whether you’re a fan of old-school paper planners or prefer digital tools like your phone’s calendar and reminders, go with what suits you best – and stick with it!

Tracking multiple scholarship applications may seem challenging, but with some dedication and a well-organized approach, you’ll submit your applications on time and be well on your way to securing that scholarship funding. You’ve got this!

By Jeannine Phelan