I found that applying for scholarships is a long and tedious process. You have to be so accurate and avoid any kinds of mistakes at all. When I would first look at the scholarship offers, some of them seemed too good to be true, but upon later examination, I found they were real and they took just as much work to apply for as any other. Then, one day, I found an offer that was not real.
The Fake Scholarship
I was desperately trying to get all of my scholarship applications together. I had everything on time so far and, if I had calculated correctly, I was up to the full amount of tuition and expenses with all of the scholarships I had applied for already. The only problem was, I was not going to get accepted with all of those.
I ran across what seemed like a good deal. It was for a grant and a scholarship and all I needed to do was pay an application fee of $50 for a chance at $10K. The application was legitimate enough. I ended up spending three days on it. Once I turned it in, there was nothing. I waited and, in the mail, came an acceptance!
It was to a “program” for finding scholarships, not a real scholarship. As it turns out, the amount I could have won was just a potential if you followed their program for applying for scholarships. This is actually what I had been doing all along.
It Should Be Free
“Any time you are applying for scholarships and you find that there is a fee associated, you are most likely dealing with a scam. Scholarships are designed to get money to the student, not to take money from the student. Opportunities for scholarships are already there. You have no need for a special service of any kind to apply.” says Boris Kang of financial services firm Sambla’s Norwegian branch.
In the event that you do need help applying and you have not found enough scholarships yet, seek the help of a student advisor or use your guidance counsellor. There are also free sites that can lead you to more possible applications. The chances are that you will be solicited with offers like the one I bought into.
After getting burned on the “special scholarship program”, which was an act of my own negligence, I decided to get some advice on what to look for and it is a good thing I did. I did not know it, but any scholarship that is offered “exclusively” and you can’t find it anywhere else, is probably a scam too. I had run across a few of these but was initially put off by the exclusivity.
If any of these applications ask for personal information like social security numbers, bank account numbers, or card numbers, do not write that information in. Whatever you do, no matter what, never give out that information at all. Find out what information the FAFSA lets out and what they ask. Anything more than that is too much and a sign of a scam.