We try to avoid re purposing material here at the Admissions Blog. Today, we’ll make an exception for an excellent post on AdmissionsAdvice.com about Financial Aid, or more specifically, scholarship scams.
You’re worried about paying for college, and the letter that just arrived in your mailbox sounds like an answer to those worries. It’s inviting you to a “free” presentation on college financial aid, given by a “financial aid expert” who has helped other families save “thousands of dollars.” What could it hurt to attend?
The answer in one word: Plenty.
I actually get questions about financial aid seminars and “presentations” quite often. The long and short of it is that there is no way a paid consultant can do anything for you in terms of seeking out scholarships that you can’t do for yourself for free. Furthermore, I would recommend that you NEVER pay to have someone search out scholarships for you or your daughter/son.
The big red flag, though, is any sort of guarantee. Scholarships are almost always competitive and usually have some sort of minimum qualification. There is NO WAY a consultant can guarantee you a certain amount in scholarship dollars; the process is just too subjective.
Many high schools, colleges and universities offer financial aid information nights. These are almost without exception not for profit and totally on the up and up. If you are ever unsure about the legitimacy of a scholarship program or consultant, you should always ask your high school guidance counselor. You can even approach an admissions advisor/counselor if you are really confused about a service…We would love to take a little extra time to educate you on your resources than have you throw your/your family’s hard earned money away.
Some scholarship resources that I would recommend:
OSAC (Oregon Student Assistance Commission, Oregon students only): One application qualifies you for thousands of Oregon based awards…As an added bonus, the OSAC uses an essay that is patterned after OSU’s Insight Resume.
What scholarship search resources are you using? Let us know in the comment section.