Yes, you do need to apply!
To get a scholarship you have to apply for scholarships! There are so many to choose from and some pitfalls. We have the info for you! If you have Florida Prepaid and your student was fortunate to qualify for Bright Futures, that will help pay for a lot of college expenses. Our daughters had both (Bright Futures changed its payout from 2010-2014 so we did not get as much as our second daughter did). There were many more college expenses that were not covered by them having both.
And, what if you do not have Florida Prepaid? Or Bright Futures? Or a Pell Grant? Student loans are oftentimes a necessity but there are many scholarship opportunities available these days. The question remains how do you find the right ones? Some scholarships are quite competitive, some last for four years, and some are downright silly, but pay for something. All make those bills for the next four (or more) years more bearable.
The best place to start is probably on some of the following websites:
There are many options for free scholarship search engines as well as campus resources. Tips for applying for scholarships:
- Be cautious of scams and don’t pay for services that say they will find them for you or offer a money-back guarantee.
- Never provide personal information such as bank account numbers and credit card numbers.
- Consider creating a separate email address just for applications. Some scholarship websites sell your email information to third party companies and you will find that your inbox will be flooded with emails. Read their privacy doc to find out if they share your information with third-party companies. This will allow you to keep your personal email address and your.EDU email address private.
- Some require essays and believe it or not, those are the ones most avoided; therefore have the least amount of people applying. Don’t steer away from these; seek help with the essay instead.
- It is also recommended to apply as early as possible and be sure to have your FAFSA form completed beforehand.
More specialized searches targeted toward specific subjects, financial situations or minorities can be done through websites like CollegeWhale.com (which will walk you through the FAFSA, student loans and financial aid, as well as match your student to the best scholarships for them), AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org (for minority students), NewsFund.org (journalism scholarships funded by Dow Jones Newspaper Fund), LatinoCollegeDollars.org and Hillel.org.
The college advisor at our high school used to send out a weekly letter with a list of new scholarships listing the name of the program, eligibility, application availability and deadline, and the number and amounts of awards given. Some are more local; others were open to the public. See if your high school offers that. Even a small scholarship that will pay for your student’s textbooks will be appreciated. One of the college advisors at a Broward County High School offers her scholarship “mini” show called the Scholarship Plug on many social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and You Tube-it is filled with scholarship information.
Look for merit-based and need-based scholarships. You may also, check with the city that you live in as many municipalities have scholarship money available. There are scholarships that are based solely on academic achievement. Click here for a list of these scholarships.
- The Sonn Law Group Scholarship. It is based on community involvement and open to high school seniors. The winner will receive $1500 to use toward tuition and books.
- FSE Scholarship. Every year, the Florida Supervisors of Elections award three $1,200 scholarships to students studying political science, business administration, public administration or journalism/mass communications. Eligible students must have finished two years of junior college or undergraduate work (enough credits for enrollment as a junior). Applicants must be enrolled or accepted as full-time students in a college or university in Florida. No post-graduate or second-degree students. Applications for the scholarship are due Feb. 28, 2020. Applications must be received by the Supervisor of Elections of the county in which you are registered.
- Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation Scholarship -Established in memory of Gina, a victim of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Open to high school seniors in Broward County public school, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School, or Pelham Memorial High School in New York. Since her father is a United Airlines Captain, the scholarship programs are also open for children of employees.
- The Miami HEAT Scholarships – The Miami Heat Charitable Fund and BankUnited award $25,000 in scholarship funds to High School Seniors in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe or Palm Beach schools. Scholarships are awarded based on excellent academic performance and outstanding community service. The application deadline is January 25, 2020. Scholarships include the following: Three (3) $5,000.00 HEAT Scholarships, One (1) $5,000.00 Dr. Jack Ramsay Scholarship, One (1) $5,000.00 Alec Kessler Student-Athlete Scholarship. For eligibility and application guidelines, click here.
Here Are the Tell-Tale Signs of a Scholarship Scam:
- Guarantee of a Scholarship – No company or organization can guarantee the receipt of a scholarship, especially before an application is submitted.
- Advanced Fees – There is no reason to pay upfront for a scholarship search since there are a number of free resources online.
- Financial Information – Bank account or credit card information is not required by legitimate scholarship grantors.
- High-Pressure Sales Tactics – No matter how much the promoter claims you can receive, don’t give in to pressure to sign up for any product or service immediately. Ask for written information and then research the company and the product before committing to any contract or payment.
- Dodging the Question – If you receive vague or evasive answers to your questions, this is a big red flag. Walk away.
- If your students are lucky enough to land a scholarship (or a few), it is highly recommended that they write a thank you note to the donor.
- HaveUHeard also shares some other scholarships worth checking out. Some are for women only, some are county or state-specific and some are open to all students. There is a difference between need-based and merit-based so make sure you qualify before applying.
For a list of other scholarship links we have put together, click here.
Finally, the college you attend also has university-specific scholarships so click on your university below to learn about those.
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