The early bird gets the scholarship worms

One of the questions I answered in last week’s Frequently asked college search questions was, I keep hearing that there is a lot of money out there in scholarships. How do we get those?

My answer directed readers to past posts sharing the truth about outside scholarships, and five traits that will improve your chances.

But I left out an important piece of advice—start searching for these outside scholarships (those that come from sources other than the state, federal government, or the colleges themselves) now.

You’ll file your applications for admission and your FAFSA (the starting point for all need-based financial aid) in the fall of your senior year. But by that time, the deadlines for many of these scholarships from companies, foundations, and other sources will have passed. In fact, many scholarships are open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to help them secure money to save for college.

The best starting point? Head over to a free, reputable scholarship search engine like Scholarships.com (any online source that charges you just to look for scholarships is a scam). Complete your profile as accurately and completely as possible, then get to searching.

And here are a few more scholarship tips courtesy of expert Mark Kantrowitz.