Avoiding College Scholarship Scams

Avoiding scholarship scams is as important as finding college scholarship options.

by Monica Matthews, Scholarship Editor

Type the word “scholarships” into your web browser and you will instantly have access to hundreds of pages sharing college scholarships for students. Unfortunately, many of those scholarship opportunities listed are click-bait designed by companies whose main goal is to get as much information as possible from unsuspecting students.

How do parents and students differentiate between real scholarship offers and scholarship scams?

In my last #CampusChat Twitter chat focusing on how students can find scholarships, I interviewed Jessica Velasco, owner of JLV College Counseling, and asked her a very similar question.

Q. Jessica, how can students and parents tell if a scholarship is real or just a scam to get student information?

Her answers were spot on and too good not to share with our readers here at Smart College Visit.

• If it costs money to apply to a scholarship, it is most likely a scam.
• Consider the website — if there are spelling or grammar errors, it may be a scam.
• Review the website to see if it feels legitimate. Follow your gut and if something seems off, it may be a scam.

On my own website, how2winscholarships.com, I frequently receive messages from companies and organizations offering scholarships to students. They ask if I would help spread the word about their scholarship opportunities with my blog readers. Lately, I have noticed a sharp increase of shady or questionable scholarships, mostly because of the information obtained after going to the page that shares the scholarship guidelines and requirements. These pages are filled with grammar and spelling errors and just seem iffy to me.

No matter how great the scholarship sounds, I will never share or promote questionable scholarship opportunities on my website or here at Smart College Visit.

Just like Jessica’s advice, I caution parents and students to not waste their valuable time applying for scholarships that show signs of being scholarship scams. A few more red flags to watch for are those scholarships that require student social security numbers or sites that guarantee a student will win a certain amount of money (usually for a fee). Click away from these sites and only apply for scholarships that seem legitimate.

Have you ever come across a scholarship opportunity that seemed like a scam? Share it in the comment section below and I will check it out for you.

Related: Scholarship Mom Tip: Find Scholarships Daily

From BigFuture.Collegeboard.org: How to spot college scholarship scams