How To Find Legitimate Scholarships

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Applying For College Scholarships

Where to Find Legitimate Scholarships (& Avoid Scholarship Scams)

When it comes to scholarships, each award will have its own eligibility requirements and application process. However, you can improve your chances of qualifying for a scholarship by following these tips:

  • Complete the FAFSA. Some scholarships require you to submit the FAFSA to be considered. As soon as possible, complete the FAFSA so you maximize your chances of getting a scholarship.
  • Review application requirements. Before submitting your application, review the requirements carefully. Some organizations have strict rules, such as certain fonts for essays. If you dont follow the guidelines, you could lose out on the opportunity even if you are a stellar candidate.
  • Pay attention to deadlines. Scholarship deadlines are fixed and are typically inflexible. To ensure you get considered, give yourself plenty of time to complete the application and submit it well ahead of the deadline.
  • After using all available gift aid, you may need to borrow money to pay for the remainder of your education costs in the form of federal or private student loans. If thats the case for you, check out the best private student loan lenders.

    Stay On Top Of Deadlines And Application Requirements

    If youve found multiple scholarships youre interested in applying for, you might be wondering how to stay organized with different application requirements, essays, and due dates. We can help with that! Our free scholarship application requirements tracker, both on Google Docs and Sheets, can help you stay organized during your scholarship search.

    Learn About Specific Grants For College Students

    Federal Pell Grants are usually awarded only to undergraduate students. The amount of aid you can receive depends on your financial need, the cost of attendance at your school, and more. The Pell Grant application process is the same as any federal financial aid processyou need to complete the FAFSA.3

    TEACH Grants provide grants to students who agree to teach in a high-need field for four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families. Youll need to apply for a TEACH Grant every year by submitting the FAFSA. Youll also need to complete TEACH Grant counseling and sign a new Agreement to Serve every year and meet other requirements.4

    Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants assist low-income undergraduate students who need a lot of financial aid to help pay for college. Each participating school receives a certain amount of FSEOG funds each year from the U.S. Department of Educations Office of Federal Student Aid. Once all of the schools FSEOG funds have been awarded to students, no more FSEOG awards can be made for that year.5

    Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are available to students whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service after September 11, 2001, in Iraq or Afghanistan and meet other eligibility requirements.6

    College grants for international students

    2. This information was gathered on 09/16/20 from .

    Read Also: How To Get Scholarship Abroad

    Tips For Avoiding Scams

    Unfortunately, some scholarship seekers become targets for scams asking for application fees or claiming to offer money. You might receive what looks to be a personalized invitation saying you qualify for a specific scholarship or another form of financial aid. Legitimate scholarship opportunities do not require application fees, and they dont make promises about qualifying. To protect yourself from fraudulent scholarships, consider the following:

    • Carefully research scholarship providers to ensure legitimacy. See if their website provides a list of past winners, and make sure they were real applicants who received the financial reward they were promised.
    • Avoid submitting personal information like your Social Security number or bank information when applying. Remember, you shouldnt have to pay fees.
    • Dont accept any offers claiming youve won any form of financial aid you didnt apply for, especially if the provider is reluctant to answer questions or provide further details about their service.
    • Report any unwanted calls, texts or emails you receive to the Federal Trade Commission through their website.

    Your scholarship search doesnt have to be as difficult as you think. In fact, you might be surprised at the multitude of options you can find through the right resources. You should always aim for the highest financial reward if possible, but make sure not to overlook smaller opportunities that can also benefit you in the long run.

    How Do Scholarships Work

    Is That College Scholarship Legit? Heres How to Spot the Scammy Ones ...

    Similar to how there are different types of scholarships, every scholarship is designed slightly differently. While some scholarships are a one-off occurrence, other scholarships require students to reapply for the award every year. This may be because a scholarship requires you to be enrolled on a sports team, or maintain a certain GPA, to be eligible for the award.

    Scholarships may also differ in terms of how they distribute the monetary award. In some cases, scholarship money may be directly deposited into your bank account, while other private scholarships will send the awarded money straight to your school or university. In some cases, you may never have direct access to your scholarship funds, as they may be used to directly cover the cost of college tuition, housing, textbooks, or other school-related expenses. Some scholarships may specifically outline how you are expected to use your awarded funds, others will come with no strings attached. The bottom line? For information on a specific scholarship, and how the process for that scholarship works, you should reach out directly to the benefactor for further details.

    Read Also: American Universities That Offer Scholarships To International Students

    Is Scholarshipowl Worth It

    This is pretty subjective. Whether or not ScholarshipOwl is worth the price depends on whether you value your time or money more . ScholarshipOwl allows students to more quickly start and finish their scholarship application process and keep track of their submissions.

    However, after having perused my fair share of scholarship websites, I now know that ScholarshipOwl is not the only website of its kind . Well get into alternatives soon, but for now, we would recommend ScholarshipOwls free version. You may not be able to apply directly to scholarships on the website this way, but we promise you its truly not that bad to manually fill out scholarship applications. If you get bored while filling out the same information again and again, maybe consider listening to some music or a podcast while doing so.

    Now, lets get into the alternatives!

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    Arts And Athletic Scholarships

    If you are going to college to pursue an art major or if you are a skilled athlete, you may be able to apply for a scholarship for those skills. Arts endowments and organizations will sponsor scholarships to fund the education of young artists, and many schools have athletic scholarships available to students in athletic programs. You may have to catch the eye of a talent scout or apply to a scholarship program directly to qualify for one of these programs.

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    What Is The Best Website For Scholarships

    If we had to choose just one website, wed choose the Career OneStop Database of scholarships, hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor.

    A close second is the CollegeBoard search engine we mentioned earlier.

    Both of these nonprofit resources list a huge mass of scholarships, and the other sites arent able to match the size of these scholarship databases.

    Among the more modern scholarship sites, our favorite is, which has a clean feel, some exclusive scholarships, and the ability to view all their available scholarships without logging in.

    College Scholarship Websites To Help Your Child Find Free Money

    The 9 Best College Scholarship Websites

    Since there are so many college scholarship websites out there that can help your student find scholarships, it can be hard to figure out where to begin.

    With that in mind, hereâs a handy list of options to get you started :

    As we all know, College Board is a major player in the college arena, providing valuable information about the SATs, AP classes, colleges and universities, and more. Itâs no surprise that they offer a list of scholarships for students and have comprehensive search options to make the process easier.

    A college scholarship websites that proclaims itself as âyour source for career exploration, training and jobs,â CareerOneStop has a lot of valuable information, including thousands of scholarships. Your student can easily filter the list based on their level of study, award types, where they live, and more.

    Weâve always been a fan of Chegg, renting books from them for years! We also love their contributions to the environment, planting over 6 million trees to date. Their list of scholarships is highly searchable, including the ability to find scholarships that have online application processes.

  • JLV College Counseling
  • Creating by a previous admission counselor, this list is one of our favorites. You can search by major, deadline month and more. You canât filter by certain criteria like other scholarship search engines but we find most of the scholarships on this site to be legitimate, versus the sweepstakes ones we talked about earlier.

    Recommended Reading: Good Websites To Find Scholarships

    Search On Scholarship Sites is a free website where you can find scholarships, internships and more. When you create an account youll be able to search for scholarships based on your interest, degree, location, and skills. Since you can customize your searches youll be far more likely to find scholarships that you actually qualify for.

    Check out this list of other Scholarship Search Websites.

    Your Local Community Organizations Websites


    Local organizations are an often-overlooked scholarship resource. Students can consult the website of local community organizations, or of their high school, to peruse niche scholarships that they have a much better chance of winning. High school guidance counselors also typically have a wealth of scholarship resources at their disposal.

    Depending on your hometown, you might find that your neighborhood, ward, town, or local philanthropic groups all offer different scholarships for local students. These are an invaluable resource, because only people in your area can apply for them. Typically, youll end up with a fraction of the competition of a national scholarship.

    Our review

    Make sure to investigate local scholarships they are typically not advertised as well as national ones, but dont let that deter you. Once you find a good opportunity, youll have a much higher chance of success than when applying to national scholarships.

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    Winning A Scholarship You Never Applied For

    If you receive any solicitation from a scholarship program that you never applied for, it should alert you. Scholarships are not won without applying, so be wary of free money that is offered to you with no effort. Doing nothing to get a scholarship would be a dream come true, but unfortunately, that is not how it works. Any legitimate program has an application process and when you have to do nothing to apply, this is a sign that it does not have any real offerings is a scam.

    What Is The Best Site To Find Scholarship

    ***MY NOTES: legitimate search engine for scholarships

    There are many online resources that can help students find scholarships. The best site to find scholarship information depends on the students needs and interests.

    One popular scholarship site is Scholarship America. This website provides a searchable database of over 3,000 scholarships. Students can search by program, location, and other criteria.

    Another popular scholarship site is Fastweb. This site includes a searchable database of over 1,500 scholarships, as well as a blog and articles about financial aid and scholarships.

    The College Board also offers a helpful website with information about scholarships. This website includes a database of over 3,000 scholarships, as well as articles and tips on how to search for scholarships.

    Students should carefully research the different scholarship websites to find the one that best meets their needs. The best site for each student will vary depending on the students location, interests, and qualifications.

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    Visit Your Local Library

    If you are not getting enough information about scholarships then visit your local library. They have a lot of useful information regarding scholarships and you will get a free list of scholarships too.

    A lot of people do not know about the availability of scholarships in their area. There are hundreds of scholarships available to students all over the country.

    If you are not aware of these scholarships then you need to check it out. You can also visit scholarship websites where you can get more information about different scholarships.

    Use your imagination when writing your essay. Dont be afraid to be creative and write about topics you enjoy. The point is to write an essay thats yours and shows off your own personality. The best way to start an essay is to take some time to think about what you want to write

    about. After youve thought about it for a while, take a walk or go for a run. That should clear your mind and give you some inspiration. If youre having trouble coming up with ideas, ask yourself questions. Think about how something affects you.

    What do you like? What do you hate? Do you think its unfair? Do you think its important? Is it an opportunity for you? Once youve thought about these questions, youll have a better idea of what to write about.

    Is Fafsa A Loan Or Free Money

    Is the FAFSA a Loan or Free Money? The FAFSA application is not a loan. It is simply an application that you fill out in order to determine your eligibility for receiving a federal loan. There are three main types of financial aid that a student may be deemed eligible for after completing a FAFSA application.

    Does everyone get money from fafsa?

    Nearly all students who apply qualify for some form of federal financial aid. Its very easy to qualify for aid based on the FAFSA, Barnett says. But filling out the FAFSA can be a confusing, complex process for most families.

    How much will fafsa give me?

    Type of Aid
    • Miscellaneous personal expenses.

    Can I use my fafsa money for a car?

    You cannot use student loans to buy a car. You also cant pay for the purchase of a car with financial aid funds. In particular, a qualified education loan is used solely to pay for qualified higher education expenses, which are limited to the cost of attendance as determined by the college or university.

    Can I buy a laptop with Pell Grant money?

    While many people assume that Pell Grants are just for paying tuition, the funds can be used for much more. Any school-related costs, from room and board, to a new laptop, to travel expenses to and from school can be covered with Pell Grant funds..

    Read Also: California Scholarships For Graduate Students

    Keeping Away From Scams

    Keeping away from scams is easy, you just have to know a few simple rules. Do not ever give out your bank account information. This is usually an indication of a scam. Unauthentic scholarships will generally ask you for a fee soon after asking for this information. Another tip is to not give out your social security number. Someone with this information can steal your identity and wreak havoc on your life. Unless you are absolutely certain that a scholarship is legitimate, refrain from providing any personal information like this.

    It is always helpful to go to the college you are attending or applying to and seeing which scholarships they list on their website. These will be legit ones you will not need to worry about. With these tips in mind, its a great idea to just search for some background information on whatever you are applying for. The more you know, the less likely you are to be scammed.

    Unfortunately, there are many people who will prey on people who do not have all the information they need. You must always stay vigilant when applying for scholarships, so that you do not get caught up in a con. If you simply follow the tips and rules outlined above, you will be safe and on your way to getting a legitimate scholarship.

    Also Check: Scholarships In Georgia For Single Mothers

    Where Can I Find Legit Scholarships

    How to search for scholarships LIKE A PRO with ScholarshipOwl | Finding Scholarships 101
    They want your personal information, like your social security number.They want your financial information, like your bank account number.They want you to pay them an application fee in order to apply. You cannot verify the organization.They dont provide direct contact information on their website. They guarantee you will win.

    Recommended Reading: D1 Track And Field Scholarship Standards

    Check Local Organizations And Industry Associations

    Local charity groups or industry associations in your niche are also excellent places to find scholarship opportunities. Start with those organizations that align with the work you want to do or the program you intend to study because you will have a better chance of meeting their eligibility criteria. Find organizations in your field, and you may find similar scholarship programs. Industry associations are one of the best places to look for scholarships for graduate school.

    Avoiding Sweepstakes And Scams As They Find Scholarships

    While most people would hate to think that someone would scam a college student as they try to find scholarships, the fact is that it happens.

    Before your child begins their search, they should take a little time to learn how to spot scams, as well as how to avoid âscholarshipsâ that are actually sweepstakes, which give your student a small chance of winning and usually carry a lot of caveats, like their information being sold to third-parties.

    To help them prepare, here are some resources on the topic of scams and âno essayâ scholarships :

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    Follow These Steps When Looking For College Grants

  • Fill out the FAFSABoth federal and state governments give out college grants. To find out if you qualify and to become eligible, you need to fill out the FAFSA. This allows colleges to determine how much financial aid you qualify for. Financial aid helps students and their families pay for college by covering educational expenses. Grants, work-study, and federal student loans can all be part of your financial aid package from a school.
  • Submit the FAFSA before the deadlineMany grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. So complete your FAFSA earlyas soon as you can after the starting date of October 1. Your family’s tax returns are needed to complete the FAFSA, so you should set aside time to gather those documents before you start the application.
  • Read your financial aid offer After you fill out your FAFSA, you’ll receive financial aid offers from the colleges that accepted you. Your offers will tell you if you’re eligible for any college grants, among other types of financial aid, like scholarships, work-study, and federal student loans. You don’t need to accept every piece of financial aid that’s offered to you.
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