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Scholarships 101

“Apply for scholarships. Every year, there is FREE MONEY for college available.”

You’ve probably heard this from your teachers, counselors, classmates, friends, and family members.

But do you know where to look for scholarships? “Google” is not the answer. Not everything you read online is valid or credible.

With so many websites and organizations out there, it can be difficult to know when a scholarship is real and legitimate from the thousands of scams trying to steal your identity and money. 

That being said, we recommend starting the scholarship search by connecting with your high school counselor or college’s financial aid office. They have a wealth of information about scholarship opportunities and resources. They can provide you with safe scholarship databases and links to use. You can go to your school’s website to see if there is a webpage dedicated to scholarships. It is usually found under the “Academics” or “Counseling” section of a high school website or “Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships” of a college website.

To look for more opportunities, ask about scholarships through your school clubs, community organizations, local churches, local businesses, your job, or your parents’ jobs. There are some scholarship applications that are only accepted by mail and not available online. Seems unbelievable to you in 2020, right?  So don’t overlook and skip out on these opportunities. One suggestion is to visit your local public library to ask about different scholarship applications available. 

If you want to independently search online for scholarships on scholarship databases, remember that you should be able to find that same scholarship and application on multiple websites. If you don’t, you may have to further investigate the credibility of the scholarship. Here are some recommended databases:

Lastly, here are some overall tips to remember when searching for scholarships:

  1. DO NOT pay for scholarships or “membership” to scholarship databases. You never, ever, need to pay for a scholarship application fee. Free means free.

  2. DO NOT share your Social Security number, bank/debit card number, or credit card information. This information allows scammers to easily steal from you.

  3. DO check the credibility and validity of the scholarship and/or organization. If you are unsure, check with your school or college advisor.

  4. DO pay attention to the details. You should focus on scholarships that match your skills and interests. Some scholarships are open to certain grade levels, some require written essays and others require letters of recommendation.

Now that you know where to find scholarships, take the next step and apply for FREE MONEY!

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