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Searching for Scholarships
Congratulations on Your Child Being Accepted! Now that that’s settled, the idea of actually paying for college looms. Hopefully, you have prepared in some way. But if your prep has resulted in less than you hoped for, fear not. Finding scholarships can help with the cost of college.
If you live in Florida and have purchased a Florida Prepaid plan, that will start working for you immediately. Bright Futures Scholarships have also been a goal of many Florida students while in high school. If earned, those funds also apply once your student starts.
Every year, I hear stories about thousands of dollars in scholarship money that never reach a student. Admittedly, it takes a lot of work and time to research scholarships and validate their authenticity. And that’s before you even apply for them! But, that work can pay off. I often reframe the time investment for my daughter in terms of a part time job, which can really show an eye-opening ROI. Some scholarships are quite competitive, some have have very specialized requirements. Some last for four years, and some are downright silly — but a dollar is a dollar.
Writing for Dollars
Scholarships often require essays. Believe it or not, these are the applications most often avoided by students. Don’t let that be you! This just means that these scholarships have the fewest amount of people applying. Seek help with the essay instead of steering away from a good opportunity. Or make this your first time to try Grammarly, whose mobile keyboard is the personal editor you can take with you wherever you go. If you’re writing skills improve as a result of your efforts, it will only help you once classes start in earnest.
We recommend you apply for scholarships as soon as you find them. Or, earmark the day they open for application so you can apply as early as possible. Complete your FAFSA form beforehand — that’s another as-early-as-possible item for your to-do list.
Where to Look
This list addresses scholarship opportunities available through UF. We provide the links below. To learn about other scholarship opportunities available to wider student groups, be sure to read our blog on Searching for Scholarships.
Look for both merit-based and need-based scholarships, depending upon your circumstances. There are scholarships that are based solely on academic achievement. And check with the individual Colleges you are or plan to be enrolled in. Many have their own scholarships, and many of these scholarships continue to be available during the course of your time at UF. Again, remember to pay attention to submission deadlines.
- The Warrington College of Business’s Heavener School of Business
- The College of Education
- College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
- College of the Arts
- College of Dentistry – While there are more need-based scholarships available than merit-based, it is worth applying to any that are available. They also offer Military Health Scholarships as well as general scholarships.
- College of Design, Construction and Planning
- College of Engineering
- College of Health and Human Performance
- College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- College of Journalism and Communications
- College of Public Health & Health Professions
- College of Veterinary Medicine
- College of Pharmacy
- College of Nursing
- Levin College of Law
- Gator Clubs: Another source of scholarships is the Gator Clubs. Many of the local Gator Clubs offer scholarships, both merit and need-based, to incoming qualified students. Choose a Gator Club in your area to find out about scholarships.
When to Look Away
Here are some telltale signs of a scholarship scam:
Guarantee of a Scholarship – No honest company or organization will guarantee the receipt of a scholarship, especially before an application is submitted.
Advance Fees – There is no reason to pay upfront for a scholarship search since there are many free resources and avenues 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, 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.
More Scholarship Tips
We found Goingmerry.com to be a reliable scholarship resource website. There is also a private Facebook site called The United Scholarships of America that has been helpful and informative.
Consider creating a separate email address just to be used for scholarships. Some scholarship websites sell your email information to third party companies. A separate email address allows you to keep your personal and .edu email addresses private.
If your student is lucky enough to land a scholarship (or a few), we recommend that they write a thank you note to the donor. You never know what relationships will remain over time, but gratitude is never forgotten.
Finally, if your student receives a private scholarship and the check is made out to them, they should notify the university’s financial aid office as it may impact their financial aid package. If the check is made payable to the university, they will need to mail it to the financial aid office.
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