With ever increasing tuition fees of schools/colleges, the need for scholarships and financial aid is mounting every day. This desperate need of students has given rise to an undesirable outcome as well – the prevalence of scholarship frauds and scams.
Somewhere in the dark corners of the internet, many dubious and suspicious entities lurk in the shadows, waiting to prey on the vulnerability of students. And the moment you begin your search for a scholarship online, they emerge, ever ready to spring their trap. Before applying for any scholarship or financial aid, you would be well advised to make yourself aware, and investigate and research thoroughly if you find anything suspicious.
Recognise the red flags
Red flags are tell-tale signs of fraudulent activities or their possibility. Once you are well-aware of identifying these areas, you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim of scholarship frauds. Here are some of the red flags you should keep an eye out for –
Never rely on ‘exclusive offer’
If a company shares a secret scholarship information exclusively for you, it is surely not a credible option to rely on, as the motive of providing scholarship is for public welfare, not only for individual welfare.
Stay dubious about fees
Keep a watch on scholarship providers who ask for some kind of fees to provide you the scholarship. Even if it requires a legitimate amount to be paid, you need to check its previous year’s records too.
Nothing is guaranteed
A company that guarantees you to provide scholarship may also turn out suspicious, as nothing in this world comes with 100% assurance.
Too good to be true
You may also come across with such scholarship opportunities that sound too good to be true for you. It is advisable not to get carried away simply based on the scholarship amount they are offering. Rather, introspect about the scholarship from different sources and then apply for it.
Important tips to ponder
Once you are aware of the key areas of suspicion, here is a list of key things that you should always do, while applying for any scholarship –
Conduct proper research online
Prior to any scholarship application, it is advisable to conduct a stringent research online about the scholarship on different platforms. Though it is not the most reliable approach to identify any possible scam, it is one of the most obvious way to begin with.
Consult a trusted source
When you are unable to find sufficient information about the scholarship online, you can look up for authentic sources like your school counsellor or the college advisor for better opinion. If they are also unfamiliar about the scholarship, then you may have a good ground for suspicions.
Consider the reviews/complaints
Refer to third party sites or peer reviews to clear any doubts about the scholarship provider. While good reviews from previous winners indicate credibility, always take these with a pinch of salt unless verified by another source. Complaints or any negative feedback is a sign to stay away.
Rely on authentic scholarship search sites
Look for scholarship search sites that combine information of all types of scholarships at one place. Doing so will truly ease out half of your process while checking the authenticity of a scholarship.