Ever been in the middle of an application and thought to yourself, “What’s going to happen to my information?” You might jot down your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and even your social security number without thinking about it. But with identity theft on the rise, it’s important to protect and safeguard your personal information, including when you apply for scholarships and financial aid.
Carefully consider the consequences when applying for a scholarship that requires disclosure of your qualifications or other personal attributes you may wish to keep private (e.g., a scholarship for homosexual students). Many sponsors want to spread awareness about their cause, which means they may require permission to use your name and other identifying information when promoting the winners of the scholarship. If you have questions about how this type of information will be used, ask the sponsor and check over your privacy rights before you apply.
Do Your Homework and Trust Your Gut
Still doubt the legitimacy of a scholarship? Make sure you’re aware of
For instance, no scholarship should ever charge a fee or require credit card or bank account numbers.
Check with your local Better Business Bureau office to see if any complaints have been filed against the organization. You can also check a domain name registration site such as Register.com, where you can look up contact information like address and phone number with the sponsor’s Web address. If you write to the e-mail address or contact information provided, and you don’t get a response or your message is returned, think twice about applying.
A big part of side-stepping scams is listening to your instincts. “If it feels wrong, if an organization asks for your social security number or bank account information, ask for help,” says Amy Weinstein, executive director of the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA). “Be skeptical and ask for help before you proceed.” If you suspect that you’ve been taken in by a scam, for what to do.
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The best essays convey your academic goals and clearly explain how the financial assistance that Foundation scholarships provide will assist you. We encourage you to be honest and forthcoming as you write your essay. Things to think about: who are you, why are you here, and why do you deserve this scholarship above someone else?
When beginning your essay, look at the prompt and address each point the scholarship application is looking for.
CCA Foundation and CCA Institutional Scholarships ask for the same thing:
The essay must be from 500 – 800 words
Write a brief biography of yourself.
What are your academic and career goals and why have you decided to pursue these goals?
Tell us about your participation in activities at school, in clubs, or community service organizations and how it contributed to the organization and to your personal growth.
Explain why you are applying for a scholarship and why you should be given one. Include any special circumstances (such as financial need or family situations that the selection committee should consider)
Most essay prompts will include some similar requests (ie: "tell us about yourself"), but not all are the same. If a scholarship is geared toward volunteer work with at-risk youth, they may only ask you to address your volunteer work in that specific target area.
Make sure you read the prompt thoroughly and tailor your essay to match the application
Applying for a scholarship is like applying for a job- Make sure you know what you're applying for and portray yourself to be the best fit for that opportunity