College Scholarships in the Unlikeliest Places

College Scholarships in the Unlikeliest Places
  • Opening Intro -

    Fall is a very good time to apply for college scholarships, a season when high school seniors may be absorbed with filling out college applications, writing essays and gathering references.

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You can apply for college scholarships throughout the year, but for some companies, foundations and organizations, the deadline to apply comes early in the calendar year.

As always, when applying for a college scholarship, determine if you are eligible to apply. Read the instructions thoroughly, taking note of the requirements for submitting your application. Get your application in before deadline. And that deadline may be either the date your application was postmarked by or the date that it was received. There is a difference!

You may know of places to search for college scholarships and we’ll serve up our own page for your review too. There are other places to look including some of the unlikeliest areas where that information may be available.

1. Use social media. It seems that everyone is using social media these days. And many college scholarship providers are aware of that and have responded accordingly. On Twitter, follow the #scholarship hashtag to find out who is saying what. It may not be the scholarship provider, rather it could be an individual sharing his or her own news. Follow the fan pages of scholarship providers on Facebook and LinkedIn too.

2. Ask your church. You may not think that your church, synagogue, mosque or other religiously affiliated organization offers college scholarships, but you won’t know for sure unless you ask. Your specific congregation may not offer assistance directly, but the denomination may. Moreover, a religiously affiliated college or university may provide extra assistance for you if you plan to attend that school.

3. Check with mom or dad’s employers. Employers offer a suite of benefits for their staff with some companies providing college scholarships for children of their employees. It is a perk that companies use to award loyal employees. The money may be contingent on a few things including your area of study and your grades, so ask your parents what programs are in place, if any.

4. Consider sports leagues. Your child has faithfully played basketball, soccer or some other sport for several years, using the local sports league. Some leagues provide a small scholarship, typically $500, to high school students that demonstrate a need. Often, these scholarships are overlooked by players and their families, so the competition may not be keen and the funds received most welcome.

Watch Out For Scams

Be mindful that there are scam artists that will prey on unsuspecting students and their families searching for free money. Please keep the following in mind:

1. Never pay a fee to have someone find you a college scholarship. Nor should you send money to anyone who says that they’ll submit your application for you. Apply directly for assistance and avoid the con middlemen.

2. Never share your financial account information. You usually do not need to give your Social Security Number (SSN) out when applying for a scholarship. If you are awarded a scholarship, that information may be requested. Only then share it with the provider. Never give out your personal financial account information. The money you “win” will most likely be sent to your college directly and that amount taken off the top of your bill.

3. Know the difference between scholarships and contests. Some organizations run contests instead of offering scholarships. There may be no problem with a contest, but it should never be disguised as a scholarship. Read the fine print and if it looks suspicious, then stay away. You might also consider reporting the contest to your state’s office of the attorney general for review.

Lastly, college scholarships are not paid back. Just like grant money, scholarships are “free money” that can help lower your cost of higher education.

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Categories: Featured, Scholarships