First and foremost, all you have to remember is that if something seems too good to be true, stay away!
Beware of shady schemes because students desperately seeking scholarships to cover their college costs are the most vulnerable and targeted ones. Scammy companies will invariably try to benefit from your weakness. Companies that charge a fee or make outlandish claims, might turn out to be scammers. Moral of the story, tread carefully.
In this article, we will discuss the tips to spot legit scholarships from fake ones.
- Voluntarily offered scholarships: Spam messages and emails are a common thing you must have experienced. Many students get scholarship mails, SMS, calls, and more. If they are willing to offer you a scholarship on their own, it is suspicious! Scholarships are not handed to candidates randomly.
- Unreliable guarantees: Winning scholarship money is not a real thing. If you come across any such thing, they are trying to scam you to fetch your personal details.
- If you are looking for a list of easy scholarships, they are out there. Just make sure you don’t solely rely on these types of scholarships as they tend to be quite popular. Be sure to sprinkle in some traditional essay required scholarships as well.
- Limited-time deals: To apply to an authentic scholarship program, you will have to be sure about the deadline (read the application guidelines to find out). Legitimate scholarship providers provide adequate time to the applicants to structure their essays correctly, write them, and fill out their application forms peacefully. Any “limited-time scholarship” is fake. If it gives rise to suspicion, avoid applying for the scholarship. No legitimate scholarship will put undue pressure on the applicant; remember this!
- Application fees: This is very basic; if you apply for an authentic scholarship program, the process will not require you to deposit any fee, i.e., the process is free of cost. Yes, the application process might be tedious but will never require money. If they ask you to deposit a small amount of $5 or $6, stay away from it. Probably the scammer is interested in your credit or debit card details or bank account details. So beware!
- Private information: This is a strict no! If an application form asks you to fill in personal details like bank account details or credit and debit card details or social security numbers, red flag! Do not move forward with the process. At most, a legit application will ask for your contact details like your email address or phone number, or street address. Be careful while sharing your information.
- Who will call you?: Scammers might create a website to make you believe it is a legitimate scholarship award. But, wait… does the website have the contact details? What if you need to ask questions or clarify doubts and concerns? Whom will you contact? Remember, scammers will never provide their contact info; on the other hand, a legit scholarship provider will keep the contact info available to help you connect to them. If you have the slightest doubt, research well, look for contact info, if you get any, contact them immediately to find out who receives your call, and you’ll know the truth.
You must also look for the eligibility criteria. If there are no eligibility criteria, do not apply because a legit scholarship application will have eligibility criteria specified. Look for the red flags and keep scammers at bay!