How planning ahead can help you save more of your scholarship dollars

Planning is essential if you want to keep your college costs down. There are thousands of scholarships and grants out there, but if you do not prepare accordingly, you might miss out. But never fear! Take Stock in College is here to help you get ahead and secure scholarship funds for your school needs with these helpful tips:

1. Check the balance on your scholarship every semester.

As you use your scholarships, it is important to keep track of your balance. To check the status of your Florida Prepaid scholarship, contact your home Take Stock in Children office. If you aren’t sure who to contact, reach out to your College Completion Coach and we can help you connect.

Check your account at the beginning of every semester so you can plan for the future. Be sure to check in with ALL your scholarship providers each semester. Not only is it good practice to touch base, but it is also a great way to make sure you have no outstanding matters to take care of. For instance, you need to make sure you complete your Florida Prepaid Annual Survey each spring, or you will face delays in the fall. Checking in with your local Take Stock program will help you complete this task and will give you a chance to ask about the remaining balance on your scholarship.

2. Research scholarships six months in advance.

Scholarship deadlines are earlier than you might think. For instance, many fall scholarships have deadlines in March, so you have to stay on your toes if you want to apply on time! It’s best to start your research six (6) months before when you think you need the scholarship. For example, if you know you will need some additional financial aid in January, you should start looking in July or August. This way you can identify several scholarship opportunities to apply for and give yourself plenty of time to apply.

3. Keep track of all scholarship deadlines.

You should be applying to as many scholarships as possible. However, if you are applying to 10-15 scholarships in one semester, that can be a lot to keep track of! Try programming scholarship deadlines into your phone or personal planner with reminders weeks ahead of time. Additionally, you could consider making a list or spreadsheet that organizes all of your scholarship applications. You want to keep track of the name, relevant websites, what is required to apply, deadline, and whether you have submitted everything you need. Trust us, taking a few hours to set this up over the summer will save you your precious study time during the semester!

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4. Apply early and often.

Remember, most spring scholarship deadlines will be in October. You don’t want to worry about those deadlines during midterms; planning ahead this summer will help you determine the most opportunities with the least amount of stress on you. Don’t hesitate to get an early start, and don’t forget—little scholarships add up. The smaller the award, the less strenuous the selection process. Apply to as many low-dollar scholarships and grants as you can qualify for. You never know how many you will be selected for!

If you have any questions about how to research scholarships, reach out to your College Completion Coach. We are here to help you get everything you need to graduate strong!