a time limit to provide your transcript, usually at least a week before the application deadline. For students who must have the counselor send the application, submit your package, complete with all other required materials, at least two weeks before the deadline to give him or her time to add the transcript and send it.
Beware of Scholarship Scams
Johnson identifies five warning signs that a scholarship may not be legitimate: the scholarship company asks for advanced payments; it has no contact number; it requests a credit card number; it uses a mail drop instead of a return address; and the No. 1 warning sign—it guarantees scholarships. “No one can guarantee you a scholarship,” Johnson says.
Only Send Required Materials
Don’t send too much information. It creates a hassle for scholarship committees, and shows your inability to follow directions. “Sending photos and videotapes doesn’t help,” Johnson says.
Sending your application in early may give you an edge over other candidates. Try to mail your application no later than two weeks before the deadline. Also, be sure you know whether your application must be postmarked or received by a specific date.
Don’t Rely on Scholarship Search Engines
Goodman recommends that students begin their searches online as most scholarship engines, including FastWeb and AbsolutelyScholarships, are free. However, don’t make online searches your primary source for finding scholarships. “It’s a good start to know what’s out there, but thousands of people sign on to Websites, and they’re pumping out the same scholarships to everyone,” Johnson says. Add the scholarships you find on these search engines to your list, but continue looking for money in books, from counselors, etc.
Establish Connections with Professors
Visit the university you plan to attend and establish relationships with professors. One of the main sources of aid for graduate students comes in the form of an assistantship, where the student helps the professor in his or her classes. If professors think you’re someone they can work with, they can vouch for you, which could give you a better chance of getting aid.
Some Scholarship Websites to Check Out