Merit-Based Scholarships

Scholarship Search Web Sites:

 Tips    Scams
  • Be completely honest about your grades, experiences, memberships, qualifications, family finances, and other information.
  • Talk to students who have already won the scholarships you’re interested in, and find out what worked for them.
  • Follow instructions carefully. If the application asks for a 500- word essay, make sure you don’t exceed this limit.
  • Strictly observe deadlines, and even strive to submit your applications early.
  • Only apply if you meet the scholarship’s minimum requirements. If you know you won’t, don’t apply. It’s better to spend quality time on the scholarships for which you are qualified.
  • Proofread everything before you send it, look out for typographical errors.
  • Supplement your application with personal letters of recommendation.
  • Find creative ways to present information about yourself.
  • Follow up with a telephone call to make sure the organization received your application.
  • Remember to send thank you letters. This small courtesy often has a big impact.
  • “Free seminar.” It may be legitimate or it may be a hidden sales pitch.
  • “You can’t find this information anywhere else.” Yes, you can. They don’t know about anything that you can’t learn on your own.
  • "You’re a finalist!" or “You’ve won!” a contest you never entered. The caller offers to hold your award funds in return for your credit card or bank account number. Hang up!
  • “First come, first served.” This may apply to some legitimate forms of financial aid, but not to scholarships. However, legitimate scholarships sponsors do impose deadlines.
  • “Millions of dollars go unclaimed.” False! Every legitimate scholarships sponsor predetermines award amounts and works very hard to select the most qualified recipients.
  • “It’s guaranteed!” What’s usually guaranteed is search “results”-not scholarship money.
  • “We’ll do the work for you, for a fee.” The fee may be nominal and the offer may come from someone sounding official, so make sure you do your research before paying anyone to do a search for you.
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