Surprises are great if it is your birthday, but not if you are applying for a scholarship. You want to gather as much information about each award as possible – as early as possible. This process is about planning, and the students who are able to find awards early, and then do the work to apply will be far better off than those who do everything the day before.
Find out if the application will be submitted on paper or online. Once you know that find out as much information as possible about the application. This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed at the number of students who won’t bother to read what needs to be submitted until the last minute. Whoooppps! I need (2) letters of recommendation by tomorrow?! It really happens so don’t be that students.
For online submission you may not be able to see the application unless you log in. Here is an example of a national scholarships that I won. When you go to the page it makes you fill out the profile information so you can start the application. You don’t have to submit it in order to go through it. You can log in ahead of time and come back when you are ready to apply.
So the first step after you have found the award is to READ the entire application. Tomorrow I will write about how to research scholarships.