A Strategic Approach to Scholarship Application Deadlines
Bursaries and scholarship application deadlines are the last day….the final, or the final-final or ‘di dead last’ moment in which you are allowed to apply for a scholarship successfully. Application deadlines are established by each scholarship provider or administer to facilitate adequate time for scholarship application review and the selection of winners.
Application deadlines are sources of stress for almost everyone we know. This stress is only made worse when there is scholarship money on the line. You are busy enough during the school year, and successfully applying for scholarships and meeting scholarship application deadlines can seem an impossible task. However, with the right strategy, you can stay on track and easily meet scholarship application deadlines.
A fresh approach to meeting scholarship application deadlines in Jamaica or where-ever you intend to apply these approaches. I suggest adopting the following proven and successful scholarship application principles.
Start your scholarship search early. We say this every chance we get to students, parents and at the various scholarships and financial aid seminars we attend. Search for available scholarships at the beginning of your senior years of high school, if not sooner. If you are already in community college or university and looking for scholarships for the current or next academic year, you will still want to kick things off in the early September/October. Most scholarship application deadlines fall between October and May, a time when students tend to have the most on their plates academically.
New scholarship information might not be posted for every award when you search, but you will get a good idea of which scholarship opportunities you will want to pursue. Additionally, when their application deadlines are. Even if this year’s scholarship information is not yet available, scholarship application deadlines tend to fall around the same time each year and the application requirements also tend to be similar from year-to-year.
For example, an annual scholarship award might change prompts from year to year, but the scholarship provider is unlikely to significantly alter requirements for word counts or supporting materials.
Make a winning plan
Identify the scholarships you qualify for and plan to apply to and make note of their due dates. Check those scholarship application deadlines against other existing deadlines (exams, interviews or assignments) you need to meet, and then design a strategy for how to get everything done on time. Check, double check and prioritize assignments, exams and scholarship application deadlines. Make sure to start your scholarship application with enough time to avoid studying and assignment complicit. A successfully scholarship application requires time to compose a winning scholarship essay, donor research and application forms completion and review.
Once you have a plan, you will know which scholarship applications you need to work on at which points in the year, and you will also have time to gather supporting documents. Will you need to submit 3 copies of your high school transcripts or your last GPA report at various points in May? Do you need three letters of recommendation by February 1? Do you need proof of volunteerism from the various charity organizations you worked with? The sooner you know these things, the sooner you can find them.
Don’t be a just-in-timer!
Are you a just-in-timer? You submit your application via email, snail mail of drop-off your scholarship application or college assignments at 11:58pm to meet a deadline of 1:59pm deadline. As mentioned before, the key to effectively meeting scholarship application deadlines and winning scholarships is to effectively prioritize your scholarship opportunities and application efforts.
Don’t procrastinate, and don’t force yourself into a situation where you must submit sub-par applications and essays. Kill the just-in-timer and give yourself time, get organized, and prepare as much as possible beforehand, and you will be on your way to creating success in your scholarship search and application.
The most successful scholarship winners are not just-in-timers or procrastinators, but early birds!
Why abide by scholarship application deadlines?
It’s very simple. If you haven’t received the answer to this question from reading the previous paragraphs, you will get it now. Meeting the scholarship application deadline is the ultimate determination of your application acceptance and success. If your completed or incomplete scholarship application is received after the deadline – even one minute after the clock strike 12:00am, it’s disqualified.
On the other hand, if you submit an incomplete scholarship application before the deadline, in the case of SOME scholarship programs and donors, you are allowed to complete the application process by following up with the missing information and/or documents. Applying early for your scholarships only work to your advantage in all cases. Believe me, I have been there, done that!
Hints to avoid missing scholarship application deadlines
The more lucrative the scholarships are, the earlier you need to submit your application. Most students, their parents and our website subscribers should know the biggest and most lucrative local and international scholarships by now. The local scholarship industry is dominated by Cuban Medical Scholarship program from the Ministry of Finance, Carreras SEEK Scholarships, UWI Mona Campus scholarships, JN, NCB, Scotiabank,, Digicel, GraceKennedy, Facey, VMBS Foundations, JMMB’s Joan Duncan Foundation, Rhodes and Fulbright Scholarships Programs.
These are highly competitive scholarships with some of the largest scholarship awards regionally including full tuition, transportation and stipend —and their deadlines are among the earliest that you will run into, particularly during your senior years. Because the applicant pool is so large, and the standards so strict, scholarship providers like Rhodes, NCB Foundation and Fulbright Scholarships need applications in as soon as possible.
For graduate applicants to the Rhodes scholarship program, completed application forms and documents are due on September 30th annually for the spring semester of the following year. The vast UWI Mona Campus scholarship programs often providing full tuition scholarships from hundreds of donors, not only have early February deadlines but also require input and recommendations from teachers and other references.
Once you have identified your big-ticket application deadlines, and other available smaller scholarship deadlines, you are now ready to build yourself a scholarship application schedule. Let’s take advantage of a free Google Calendar to keep track of your deadlines. I guarantee it’s a lot more efficient than the stack of day planners and wall calendars I used in the good old days.
The following YouTube training video by Technologyguru on ‘Google Calendar Tutorial 2017 – Quick Start Guide‘, will guide you on the journey of understanding, designing and mastering the Google calendar. This will help you further dominate the scholarship application deadline winning strategies.
Once you have successfully designed a method of looking at all your upcoming financial aid application deadlines, you will now be able to search for scholarships more efficiently. A J$10,000 scholarship due at the same time as four others may not be worth the extra stress, but a $1,000,000 award that’s due at the same time should take first preference.
Last but not least, if you are currently receiving a renewable scholarship, don’t lose track of it. Those renewal packets often come earlier than you expect, and getting those deadlines on your calendar along with new opportunities is crucial! (www.USNews.com/education).
Deadlines get us all nervous, especially those that involve winning free money when you are in need of money. Let’s work towards preventing scholarship application deadlines from creeping up on us. We can do this for scholarships and also to adopt in our college and professional lifestyle by following a few rules of thumb and some advanced preparation.
Use technology, especially the free apps to keep on-top of all your deadlines and scholarship research efforts. I hope, after reading this post, you feel encouraged and more prepared to peruse more scholarship application this season. With the techniques suggested, we hope you employ some level with additional online resources coupled with your critical thinking and research.
Good luck scholarship hunting and ALWAYS remember – the most successful scholarship winners are not Just-in-timers or procrastinators, but early birds!