11 Expert Scholarship Tips

As you research scholarship opportunities, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Set up a separate email account to list on applications and to use in profiles you build on scholarship search websites. Such websites are funded by advertisers and using scholarship websites may generate some email spam. Using a new email will make sure your personal email account isn't crowded with unwanted messages.
  2. Set reasonable goals and stick to them. Instead of trying to apply for 20 scholarships during winter break, set a goal of finding two scholarships each week and make sure you get all the applications done on time. This will keep you engaged in the search for funds throughout the year and improve your chances of finding more opportunities.
  3. Make sure you meet all of the eligibility criteria before you submit an application.
  4. Complete the application in its entirety. Don't leave any item blank. If something does not apply to you, make a note on the application as to why or indicate "Not Applicable".
  5. Follow directions and provide everything that is requested.
  6. Write a concise essay. Be as personal and specific as possible. Be creative.
  7. Neatness counts. Make copies of the forms you receive and use them as working drafts. Once you have the final version, type it or print it neatly and legibly.
  8. Keep track of deadlines and don't wait until the last minute.
  9. Proofread the entire application before submitting it.
  10. Make a copy of the entire application for your records.
  11. Be wary as you search the Internet, and be careful of solicitations you receive in the mail from places that "guarantee" you'll receive scholarships if you pay a fee. Each year many families fall prey to scholarship fraud and scams. The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to be alert for companies that make guarantees or ask for money or credit card numbers. If they are promising something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

To find out how to spot, stop or report a scholarship scam, visit the FTC website or call (877) FTC-HELP.