If you are like many students, you are probably looking for ways to pay for your college education. You have probably also found out that there are many free resources available to help college students find the money they need. There are also many “miracle” solutions that promise to help you get guaranteed scholarships without having to do anything but pay a small fee. Tragically, scammers will try to rip off anyone, even financially strapped college students. Here is what you can do to make sure you don’t get taken in:
- Keep personal information personal – There is no legitimate reason for a scholarship site to need your mother’s maiden name, your birthplace, your social security number, or any other personal information. If a site asks for personal information in order to get access to a database or other scholarship source, it is probably a scam. You should never have to give more than your name, email address, and expected date of college enrollment.
- Remember that there are no guarantees – If a website, email, or letter promises you 100% guaranteed results, disregard it immediately. There are no guaranteed scholarships and all a company has to do is send you a list of scholarships that supposedly match your qualifications and you will never get your money back.
- Avoid application fees – There are many sites that will charge you an application fee for entry into a drawing for thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Even if the drawing is legitimate, the chances of winning are slim to none. If you are going to pay these fees, you may as well spend the money on a lottery ticket, which would probably provide better odds of winning.
- It is not the CIA – Many scams promise access to super secret scholarships that nobody knows about. They will give you the information for a modest fee. In truth, you are looking for scholarship money, not national secrets. There are no insider shortcuts or scholarships. Save your money and look for scholarships on your own. If you are having trouble finding them, consult the financial aid department of your school or attend legitimate scholarship workshops and seminars.
The truth is that there are many legitimate scholarship websites and services available. Real offers will require you to put in your share of the work and will never promise you easy money or a 100% guarantee of being awarded a scholarship. Avoid scams and make the most of your scholarship search.