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Can you apply for scholarships before your senior year in high school?

QUESTION: Can you apply for scholarships before your senior year in high school? I want to get a head start on getting money for college. Signed, Early Money Seeker

Dear Early Money Seeker: There are thousands of scholarships, but as you’ve discovered, for many of them, you must be a high school senior or college student to apply. Sponsors want to provide awards to students who can immediately benefit from them. Still, there are scholarships that you can win, some as early as ninth grade. It’s always a good idea to learn about financial aid opportunities as early as possible. Here are a few awards that are open to pre-seniors: National History Day Contest, National High School Oratorical Contest, Discover Card Tribute Award Scholarship, and Ayn Rand Essay Contests As a junior, take the PSAT to be eligible for special programs including National Merit Scholarships. Also, as you are searching for scholarships, keep in mind that many open to pre-seniors are contests. Think about buying a scholarship directory, or search scholarship databases at websites like our website It may take some effort to find them, but there are opportunities out there for you.

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.