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What is the Right Time to Apply for a Scholarship?

Rupali Karekar
May 19, 2021
Scholarships

There’s no set time for sending an application to a scholarship programme. However, the rule of thumb for many is that the earlier you send your application, the better. Here are some tips to help you figure out the right timing for your submissions.

Know the Deadlines

If you are applying for a scholarship, you probably know by now that you should try out for more than one. That means you will end up with several deadlines for different scholarship programmes. Keep those deadlines in mind or note them down in your calendar. This way, you’ll not miss any important application deadline. 

Start Early

It’s always better to start preparing for a scholarship early. Some educational grants even ask you to prepare a year ahead. So if you’re interested in getting a scholarship, then start collecting information on how to apply for scholarships as soon as you can. If you’ve always wanted to try out for a high school, for instance, start preparing for that process even when you’re still in primary school. That sounds excessive, but many programmes consider your extracurricular background. If you are determined to set yourself apart from all the future applicants, then it would not hurt to work on your portfolio while you’re still young. By the time you apply for high school scholarships, you’ll have an impressive record already. 

Don’t Procrastinate

Many students take one look at those requirements, and think that they have an entire year to prepare for the application, and end up cramming for the application in the last few weeks before the deadline. That’s far from ideal. Unless you really do your best work under pressure, you’re better off starting the application as soon as you can. That way, you can take your time with the essay and other requirements.

Plan for the Long Term

The best way to determine when you should start applying for a scholarship is years ahead of when you actually need one. That way, you can create a timeline for everything that you want your portfolio to contain. For instance, some programmes already require you to prepare for one year in advance. Start much earlier than that. Check out the submission requirements and identify which areas you’ll need to build on, so that in a year or two, you’ll be eligible for the programme. It involves long-term planning but if you're set on getting a grant, then this is the best way to move forward.

It Won’t Cover Everything

Before you get started, you’ll need to know right off the bat that not all scholarships offer a full ride to high school or college. That means it’s very rare that you’ll find grants that will cover everything. However, there are plenty of programmes that will cover a significant portion of your school-related expenses and that’s already a huge help. For example, here at GIIS Dubai, we offer the GIIS FUTURE-READY Merit Scholarship to meritorious students. This scholarship provides 5 to 20% off on the tuition fees, depending on which category the student falls into.

You’ll still need to figure out the rest or sort that out with your family. But it will be a lot smaller and a much more manageable amount. That way, you won’t need to drop out of school. You can stay and learn and get as much training as you want before you join the workforce or even start a business.

Look Beyond Schools

Schools are not the only sources of scholarships. There are companies, organizations, and even individuals who give out educational grants to deserving and needy candidates. Research your options. You’ll find many choices out there and many of them don’t even cater to academic strengths. If you excel in sports, writing, the performing arts, or any other extracurricular skill, you might have a shot at a scholarship. Look for niche educational programmes.

Get Ready to Start

Before you start sending out applications, ask yourself: are you ready to commit your time and energy to these applications? You’ll lose plenty of your weekends to this. You’ll need to make time for extracurricular activities. You’ll need to budget your time wisely so you'll have more than enough hours in a day to see everything that you need to. Are you ready for all that? Scholarships are life-changing, and not just when you win one. 

When you apply for a scholarship, you already move a lot in your schedule and life to accommodate those demands. Are you certain you’re ready for this step? If you are, then start sending out those applications. 

Prepare your Documents

Before you can start sending out applications, make sure you have all the necessary documents. Some of these might include papers or files that only your school can issue. Given current constraints with the pandemic, what would normally take days or hours might take days or weeks to reach you over mail. Be patient and plan for all that accordingly. Also, you’ll need to prepare your proof of funds. Have everything you need in one file, so that it’ll be easier to photocopy everything for different applications.

Consult with People You Trust

You’ll need someone you trust to go over your scholarship essay. But when you ask them for feedback and help on your scholarship essay, remember that you are requesting for their time. They aren’t obligated to work on your essay or the feedback right away. That means you’ll need to work that into your timeline as well. Don’t force them to send back the feedback as soon as possible. 

Keep in mind that you’re asking for a favor and this is time and effort that takes them away from their own work. Factor that into your schedule when you ask for their assistance. 

Keep Going

Some students give up when they fail to get a scholarship for their first year in primary or secondary school. But there are so many educational grants that are open to students every year. If you want to get a grant, then keep going. Keep checking those applications and keep sending submissions. With each one that you send, you get better. With every application rejection, you should review your mistakes, learn how to approach the questions, and end up with better answers.

Don’t Give Up

It’s hard not to give you when all you see are rejections and failures. But it’s equally important not to give up when you find yourself in that position. It’s going to feel bad and you’ll feel hopeless at times. But shrug off those blues and start another application. If you’re determined to win a scholarship, take failure as a learning opportunity. Find out everything that it can teach you and then try again. 

When you apply for scholarships again and again, it’s invaluable to have hope. It is not blind hope to wish for things to be better. You’re doing the work. You’re doing the best you can. If you keep at it and stay hopeful, stay positive about what the future will bring, you’ll find yourself appreciating everything in your life.


Rupali Karekar

Ms Karekar comes with over 20 years experience in content writing and content strategy in fields from journalism and content marketing. As head of international communications, she has been actively interacting with stakeholders like the student, teacher and parent community to ensure open channels of dialogue and passage of information between all parties. As a result, the school initiatives and stakeholder performances find the right platform and voice to share their achievements.

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