If you've been a regular reader of The Scholarship Coach, you probably know that the first rule of earning money for college is to get an early start on researching and applying for scholarships. Given that it's almost graduation season, there are a lot of opportunities that you've missed if you haven't begun the scholarship process yet.
But don't despair; you can still find more than a handful of scholarships and contests with summer deadlines. Read on to learn about these opportunities - and this time, no procrastinating!
You've probably heard of DoSomething.org, a nonprofit devoted to young people and social change. But did you know the organization also gives out a lot of scholarships "to recognize and reward teens who are social action leaders in their community"? And with deadlines falling between May 14 and July 12, you can still make the cut!
Applying for DoSomething scholarships is also incredibly easy. For example, to be eligible to win the $4,000 Peanut Butter and Jam Slam Scholarship, just collect 10 jars of peanut butter, jam or any other nonperishable food item and report what you've collected and you're automatically entered to win the cash. For every additional 10 items, you get an additional chance to win. And the best part is there's no minimum GPA or essay required.
Other scholarships offered by DoSomething, like the $2,000 Animal Cruelty is Wrong Scholarship and the Hunger Awareness Scholarship, simply require you to text a statistic to your friends in order to enter the contest. It really doesn't get any easier than that.
Another late-deadline scholarship opportunity comes from College is Power, a website that provides nontraditional and adult students with the information and tools to return to school. The College Is Power Scholarship is open to students 17 and older who are currently in college or plan to start college within the next 12 months.
You can use the scholarship to pay for tuition, books, room and board, computers or anything else related to your college education. The deadline isn't until May 31, so you still have time to apply.
[Learn how to create great scholarship applications.]
Are you a student-athlete and a procrastinator? You're in luck, because the BigSun Scholarship application isn't due until June 21, and it's open to student-athletes in any sport, as long as you're a high school senior or current college student.
To apply, just submit an essay answering three questions: What are your most important extracurricular or community activities? What made you join these activities? What made you continue to contribute to them?
Another great opportunity with a June deadline is the $1,000 Scholarship Scouts Undergrad Scholarship. If you're at least 18 years old and currently enrolled in college, you're eligible to apply by submitting an essay of 500-800 words based on one of three questions: "Should school uniforms become mandatory?" "Do you agree with the No Child Left Behind Act?" "What is your opinion on home-schools versus physical schools?"
Essays will be judged on grammar, creativity, accuracy and the information used to support your argument. As always, make sure you enlist a friend or adviser to proofread your essay before you hit submit.
[Try these tips to get great scholarship recommendations.]
If you've always wanted to start a blog but can't think of anything to write about, consider applying for the Family Travel Forum Teen Travel Writing Scholarship, offered by the Family Travel Forum and the Society of American Travel Writers. This year's scholarship asks you to write a blog on where you live - or a place you identify with - and why tourists should visit. Use words and images to make your case.
Winners receive up to a $1,000 scholarship toward their education, and the top 25 all receive free travel gifts. You have until July 22 - or, if you're a senior, June 28 - to submit a blog post no longer than 600 words. If you're between eighth and 12th grades and 13-18 years old, we definitely encourage you to apply for this unique opportunity.
Finally, if you're just starting to apply for scholarships and find that you've missed out on a lot of opportunities that you think you could have won, keep in mind that you can almost always apply for these same scholarships next year.
Current college students, not just current or graduating high school students, are now eligible for many scholarships. Put a reminder on your calendar for next year to ensure you have the chance at plenty of money for tuition in 2014.
Michelle Showalter joined Scholarship America in 2007 and is an alumna of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.