While it may seem overwhelming or scary at first, it doesn’t have to be. My senior year, I spent a lot of time pouring over scholarships and college applications and it paid off. Taking the time to apply sooner rather than later not only eliminates stress but can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

I started the college application process in the summer before my senior year. As a self-proclaimed planner/perfectionist, I wanted to get as far ahead of the curve as I could. On the flipside, my brother is currently a senior in high school and he hasn’t started one application. Everyone starts at different times, and that’s okay. It was just nice to get it done and eliminate potential stress. It also allowed me to focus on applying for scholarships (internal and external) during the semester.


Applying to different colleges (I applied to five) and scholarships became like my part-time job. I was looking to see which school would give me the best offer. Cornerstone was always my top pick, and then as the application process went on, I also realized it was the best financial choice for me.

Did you know that CU offers financial aid to 99% of incoming, first-time, full-time freshmen?

Upon acceptance to Cornerstone, you can see what scholarships and grants you have received. This financial summary gives you an estimate of how much it will cost for you to attend Cornerstone. Knowing this helps you figure out whether you need to apply for more scholarships and allows you to compare financial aid at Cornerstone to possible aid at other institutions.

Applying to Cornerstone early allowed me to know what score I needed on my ACT to get the highest academic scholarship available. That knowledge allowed me to retake the ACT with a target score in mind. After three attempts, I was able to get the score I needed and increased my aid by a couple thousand dollars!

In conjunction with an early application to Cornerstone, an early FAFSA submission allows you to see what government aid you will be receiving. The FAFSA opens every year on October 1. While the priority deadline for the FAFSA is not until March 1 of the following year, it is beneficial to submit early so you can see what aid you will be receiving sooner and plan ahead. Depending on your personal financial situation, government aid can be pretty substantial.

Early application for admission combined with an awareness of scholarship and aid application deadlines can save you a lot of money. Several Cornerstone new student scholarships have deadlines in December, and applications open for institutional scholarships in December. Because of my combined early application and awareness of deadlines, I saved money by receiving various internal and institutional scholarships.


My admissions counselor was an amazing help to me as I tried to understand everything about Cornerstone, applications and scholarships. She was one of the biggest reasons that I chose Cornerstone. She sent me encouraging letters, gave me her personal phone number and was always quick to respond to my questions.

As soon as I got accepted, I wanted to come and get to know more about Cornerstone by visiting the campus. One of my favorite days I got experience CU was by coming for a Golden Eagle Day. I got to attend a class, chapel, explored campus and got a gooey, freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie from the cafeteria, which was almost enough to convince me to come. Really, the cookies are THAT good! I also really loved getting to stay over the night before my visit. It was a really great way to get a feel for what campus life looks like.

Another benefit of applying early is getting special invites to preview days only open to accepted students!


Applying early was one of the best decisions I made during my college search process. It eliminated stress, allowed me time to apply for scholarships (which saved me a lot of money) and let me get to know the CU community as an accepted student.

As Cornerstone President Dr. Stowell would say, “Senior year can be stressful; eliminate all of the stress and anxiety—choose Cornerstone!”