Scholarship monies are given to selected students to help pay for college costs like tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. They’re an ideal form of funding because this money does not need to be repaid. A scholarship might cover the entire cost of your tuition, or it might be a one-time award of a few hundred dollars. The types of scholarships available are unlimited! They can be awarded for achievements in a lot of different areas, such as academic or merit-based, need-based, sports, community involvement, music, volunteer work, and more! No matter how small, it’s worth applying, because it’ll help reduce the cost of your education. Applying for scholarships is a process and it’s important to stay organized, beware of scams, and look in the right places to properly navigate it.
Beware of Scholarship Scams
When applying for scholarships, there are thousands of organizations who want to help you, unfortunately, there are also those who want to hurt you. Make sure you know what to look for. Keep these things in mind while you’re searching online for scholarships.
- Applying for scholarships is a free process. If anyone asks for money of any sort – don’t give it to them!
- You find them, they won’t find you. You will not be solicited for scholarships, so if you haven’t applied for it, but someone’s calling to say you won, beware. It’s not for real.
- Pay attention to contact information. Real organizations won’t use a 900-number for their company phone number.
- Some fake scholarships will say they’re legitimate because of endorsements by groups with names similar to government organizations. If they say they are endorsed by an organization, you know they’re making it up.
- No scholarship can guarantee you’ll win. The best advice: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Protect your personal information. No scholarship application will ask you to provide your Social Security number or bank account information. If you find an application that asks for this information, it’s best to avoid it completely.
The best way to stay organized is to create a living document – a spreadsheet is best – to keep track of the scholarships that you are interested in, so when you are ready to apply for them all the information is in one place for you. Make sure to include deadlines, directions to apply, qualifications, and all the “fine print”.
Where to Find Scholarships
The internet is a great place to start your scholarship search. Scholarships are given by a large variety of groups, clubs, and companies. There are many local, regional, and national foundations that exist only to donate money.
You can also find scholarships awarded by local groups in your town, like the American Legion, or the Rotary. Check with the college you plan to attend as well; they typically provide links to scholarship searches and post any new scholarships that come up.
Many websites exist to help connect students to potential scholarships such as:
When to Apply for Scholarships
It’s never too early to start looking for scholarships. Scholarships are offered year-round so it’s a good practice to consistently research for scholarships that you may qualify for. However, most scholarships require applicants to be in 12th grade at the time they apply. Start early and use the list of scholarships you’ve created to keep you on track. It’s important to keep in mind that most scholarships have due dates that are unique to them.
For more info or if you want to start earning free college credits while still in high school visit https://earlycollegenv.com/.