January is right in the heart of scholarship season, so I'm sure many of you are applying to tons of scholarships every day in the hopes that the overwhelming cost of college will become somewhat more bearable.
My advice: be careful! While it's smart to apply to as many scholarships as possible to increase your chances, be aware of scammers who take advantage of this eager crowd of students looking for aid. Here are some quick pointers on how to spot a scholarship scam:
1) If there are fees to apply for a scholarship, it's probably not worth paying. Think of it as buying a lottery ticket, but in a world where there are hundreds of lotteries you can play for free...
2) If a scholarship program is guaranteeing any amount of money, than it's probably not legitimate. No scholarship is a guarantee. Some are sweepstakes and winning is based on luck, and many are merit-based, meaning the most impressive applicants (in their opinion) will win. Never, will a scholarship program guarantee money to anyone.
Are there any other tell-tale signs that aren't listed here?
- Recognizing and awarding standout high school students