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Searching for Scholarships

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haveuheard scholarship scholarships usf

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 fear not. Finding scholarships can help with the cost of college.

If you live in Florida and have purchased a Florida Prepaid plan, then that will start working for you immediately.  Bright Futures Scholarships have also been a goal while in high school, and if earned, they will apply once your student has started.

Every year, I hear stories about thousands of dollars in scholarship money that are never applied for.  It does take a lot of work and time to research scholarships, apply for them, and to validate the authenticity of them.  But, that work can pay off at a reduced cost to you. Some are quite competitive, some last for four years, and some are downright silly, but pay for something.  Some scholarships 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 for any scholarships as early as possible and be sure to have your FAFSA form completed beforehand.

Scholarships Starting Place

The best place to start is probably on some of the following websites:  FastWeb and NextStudent.com (both are excellent free search engines that are updated daily), GoodCall, BestColleges.com, Cappex.com, CollegeAnswer.com, Scholarships.com, Scholarship Experts, CollegeScholarship.org, and ScholarshipGuidance.com. Also, check with the city that you live in as many municipalities have scholarship money available.

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.

There are many options for free scholarship search engines as well as campus resources. Be cautious of scams and don’t pay for services that say they will find them for you or offer a money-back guarantee and never provide personal information such as bank account numbers, and credit cards numbers.

Consider creating a separate email address just to be used for scholarships. Some scholarship websites sell your email information to third party companies. This will allow you to keep your personal email address and your .edu email address private.

At USF, Freshman Florida residents are eligible for scholarships based on their high school GPAs and test scores. Look here for more info. Also, Non-Florida Resident Freshman are eligible for the money.  Here is the information for that.

Applications for USF Scholarships and Fellowships for the 2018-2019 year are open now.  They are based on academic merit, extracurricular activities, special talents, or demographics.

The USF Foundation Scholarship office offers many scholarships to USF students.

Other offerings of scholarships and services through USF can be seen here.

Here Are the Tell-Tale Signs a Scam for  Scholarships:

  • 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.
  • We have found Goingmerry.com as a reliable scholarship resource website.

Consider creating a separate email address just to be used for scholarships. Some scholarship websites sell your email information to third party companies. This will allow you to keep your personal email address and your .edu email address private.

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.

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2019-09-08T13:11:04-04:000 Comments

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