One of the key components to my strategy is applying early (by November 30). It allows for many things, including peace of mind, but it also means you have ample opportunity to apply for scholarships and using the same or a similar version of the application essays you just submitted. So Happy Scholarship Application Season!

I’ve read a few blogs that discuss students’ reluctance to apply for scholarships and financial aid. I have also found this to be true. And it’s really disheartening. I agree with the blogs regarding the thought that one will not qualify for financial aid or scholarships. But when we move beyond that, there are still a good number of reasons why students and families don’t apply. Instead of focusing on that, here are ten reasons why you should apply for financial aid and scholarships:

5) If you are receiving merit aid, some schools need your information from the FAFSA in order to award it.

4) Even if you don’t complete the FAFSA, some schools will require you to fill out their own (sometimes lengthier) financial aid documents. You may as well have the information accessible from the FAFSA.

3) Just because you believe you have the cash to pay for tuition, there are additional things you will need to pay for when you’re in college. Unless you have a savings account that is specific to college tuition, don’t spend the money if you don’t have to. This is especially important if you intend to go to graduate school where financial aid is less available; use the money then.

(I’ve mentioned Suze Orman in a few posts and this one lends to some Suze-isms for me. One of the things that I’ve learned from wealthy folks is that they don’t spend money when they don’t have to, rappers, Kardashians, and Orange Cheeto excluded. I think we believe that spending money for the simple fact that we can, is a sign of having made it; and only broke people buy stuff on sale. It’s not true and the best way to have money is to not spend it. So regardless of where you are financially, don’t spend money you don’t have to spend.)

2) For students who are not in the 12th grade, you can apply to scholarships now too. On your application, there is a section that asks for awards and titles. Scholarships come with a title, and that’s a big deal. If you really don’t need the money, you can return the funds and keep the title. For students looking to apply to graduate school or going into an industry that is especially competitive, this is good resume-building stuff as well.

1) You won’t know unless you try. It’s cliché but it is important to recognize that sometimes the reason you don’t want to do something is because you don’t want to put yourself out there. We become intimidated by our own choices. But the worst thing that can happen is you don’t get the money; it doesn’t mean you are a bad person or shouldn’t go to college. So try it and see what happens.