College Advice: Let's Talk Scholarship

Question: “I want to help my parents out with my tuition by landing as many scholarships as I can. Where should Istart, what do they usually require, and what are some crazy scholarships you know of?” — Aimee N., Baltimore, MD

A: Watch Out For Scholarship Scams. When you search for scholarships, make sure that you are not getting scammed. Rule number one is that legitimate scholarships do not charge you money to apply. Even a nominal amount should raise a red flag. If you aren’t sure a scholarship is reputable, do a little research. If other students had bad experiences with a company, you may find that information online. The Federal Trade Commission also has very helpful information.

– Janet Rosier – Independent College Admissions Consultant, Janet Rosier’s Education Resources
A: Practical Advice on “Winning” Scholarships for College.

Articles about “winning” scholarships emphasize unusual awards and sources. In fact, most

scholarship and grant money is awarded by colleges. External scholarships are those funds awarded

from private sources in amounts, which will often augment, but not fully meet your need for

assistance. You can find out about external awards using a variety of on-line search engines, but your

high school guidance office or local library is often the best place to start. You will find information

about local scholarship funds and the odds are much better you will receive a local scholarship than a

national award.

Myra Smith – Executive Director, Financial Aid Services, The College Board

A: Outside scholarships aren’t worth it a lot of the time. Applying for local or “outside” scholarships (those independent of the college you may attend) can be very time-consuming and often yields little in the way of results. Be very particular about the scholarships you select to submit an application. Determine how many applicants generally apply and how many will be selected. Will the scholarship be for your first year only or is it renewable. Do your circumstances seem to line up with the requirements for the award? Consider all these factors as a substantial outside award may limit your institutional award, which often requires only the submission of the FAFSA.

– Jacqueline Murphy – Director of Admissions, Saint Michael’s College
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