On top of preparing essays, taking standardized tests and researching schools, determining how to finance your education is an important step in your path to a U.S. university. When applying to U.S. colleges and universities, there are two main types of tuition assistance: financial aid and scholarships. While financial aid is always given by the school themselves, scholarships are given either by the college or from an outside organization. To read more about the difference between scholarships and financial aid, click here.
While financial aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated need, scholarships require you to provide additional information about yourself (usually with a personal statement, your academic record or both).
Below is a suggested scholarship timeline to follow when applying for scholarships.
August-October, Research Scholarships: The first step to applying for a scholarship is compiling a list of the opportunities you wish to pursue. One easy way to learn about scholarships is to research the U.S. colleges and universities that you’re interested in applying to, and learning which scholarships you’re eligible for. Another way to find scholarships is to research organizations in your home country who support students traveling abroad. Once you’ve identified the scholarships you plan to apply for, be sure to make a list of all the materials you’ll need to submit as part of your applications.
October-November, Compile Applications: After you’ve identified the scholarships you plan to apply for, the next step is to begin the application process. Usually, this means writing personal statements, filling out information about your history as a student, and sometimes completing an interview. For tips about presenting yourself positively in your applications, read our scholarship application tips blog.
November-January, Submit Applications: Most scholarship applications will be due in the same time frame that college and university applications are, early to mid-January. When preparing to submit applications, be sure to create a calendar with all of your due dates so that no scholarship is overlooked.
January-March, Await Results, Complete Any Follow-Ups: Many scholarships will have multiple rounds of applications, where applicants will have to complete follow-up interviews or submit additional materials to a judging panel. As you hear from colleges and universities, make sure you’re also on the lookout for important information from scholarship organizations.
March-May, Declare Scholarships to Institution of Study: Once you’ve heard from your scholarship applications, an important final step is declaring any financial assistance you may be receiving from outside scholarships (scholarships not given to you by your college or university) to your institution of study. Information about how to declare these funds will be given to you after you accept an offer of admission.
To learn more about the steps to applying for scholarships, download our scholarship application timeline at the link below.
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