How Do You know if a Scholarship is Legitimate? Beware of these Red Flags
Have you ever considered how much personal information you give out when applying for a scholarship? The prospect of getting some free money for school can diminish your cautiousness. Scholarship scams do exist, and here are some red flags to look out for.
Scholarship applications that require you to pay a fee first
Some scholarship scams require applicants to pay a fee in order to have their applications reviewed. This is a huge red flag. Legitimate scholarships should not ask you to shell out any amount of money. (The only exception I can think of is the postal fee in order to mail in the application package, but given the convenience and eco-friendliness of emailing PDFs, even that is a stretch.)
Scholarship applications that ask for really personal information
Certain pieces of personal information are collected by legitimate scholarship applications. Some examples include your birthday, your address, and the name of your school and program. Very personal information, like your social insurance number, your bank account information, and your credit card number, will never be requested by legitimate scholarships.
Scholarships that seem too good to be true
A scholarship that seems too good to be true generally is. For example, a scholarship telling potential applicants that they are guaranteed to win is a red flag. Another red flag is if the amount of money is disproportionate to the complexity of the application: it is very unlikely that a $50,000 scholarship will only require an application form (as opposed to an application form, multiple reference letters, and a personal essay).
Who wouldn’t want to receive a scholarship or two? Education, especially post-secondary, has become so expensive that every little bit of financial aid helps. The purpose of this article is to urge students to be careful because scholarship scams do exist. Use these red flags to spot the illegitimate ones.