When it comes to finding college scholarships, one of the most searched phrases online is, “No essay scholarships.”
Every student dreams of filling out short scholarship forms, without having to do essays, and clicking their way to thousands of dollars to be used for their college education, right?
Have you ever wondered about these so-called “no essay scholarships?”
Do No Essay Scholarships Work?
- What’s the story with scholarships that only take 5 minutes of a busy student’s time?
- Are these scholarship contest awards legit?
- Do the companies actually select real high school students and send them checks that they can use for college?
- What’s the catch?
- What are the scholarship rules?
- Do these awards affect eligibility for a student loan?
I wondered about these things too, as a busy mom searching for scholarships for my own sons. The internet is filled with tempting links promising easy money for higher education without the hard work that usually comes with applying for scholarships.
Asking high school seniors to write a college scholarship essay on a deadline is sometimes harder than getting them to eat their vegetables. As a mom of three boys, I fully understand this dilemma. But I also know that the insanely high cost of college can be greatly reduced by scholarships (if you know where to find them) and it would be foolish to let a scholarship opportunity pass by if it is legitimate.
How to Find No Essay Scholarships
One popular website that boasts a “no essay” college scholarship is ScholarshipPoints by Edvisors. Instead of writing an essay, students are encouraged to take surveys and sign-up for more “easy” scholarships to earn points and enter drawings. There are no other eligibility requirements.
ScholarshipPoints awards three $1,000 scholarships each month and one $10,000 college scholarship every three months by selecting students in random drawings. The more points a student has earned, the higher their chances of winning the award.
Who Wins No Essay Scholarships?
The burning question here is, do websites and no essay scholarship sites like ScholarshipPoints actually choose real students and send them scholarship money?
The answer is YES. I know this because one of my sons received a $1,000 scholarship from ScholarshipPoints!
He was contacted by the scholarship provider via email and had a deadline of three days to respond. Once he did, they sent him a few simple forms to fill out and within two weeks the scholarship money was deposited into his tuition account at his school.
I know what you’re thinking: “Did my son spend hours earning scholarship eligibility points to better his chances of winning?”
“Did he sign up for a ton of survey sites?”
“Did the scholarship money affect the financial aid that he was already receiving at his college?”
No, no, and no.
Actually, my son hardly spent any time filling out surveys or stressing about a scholarship application deadline.
Instead, he faithfully grabbed the free 300 points offered each week and the 35 free points given for logging in daily. That took a total of about 15 minutes a week.
He won the scholarship money in the fall, school had started, and financial aid funds were already disbursed to students. So the money was simply added to his tuition account, where he could use it for books or other college expenses that came later in the semester.
How to Apply to No Essay Scholarships
Yes, my son and many other high school students have been successful with no essay scholarships, but there are several very important points for parents and their students to remember when applying for this type of scholarship program.
First, students should always create a dedicated email just for their college scholarship applications. A simple [email protected] is perfect, adding a symbol or number if their name is already taken.
No essay scholarship sites want the information of college-bound and current college students, as companies will pay big money for these lists.
This is why students should never give out personal information when signing up and filling out surveys.
Bank information, social security numbers, and drivers’ license numbers should never be shared. If a website asks for this data to determine eligibility, it’s a red flag indicating a scholarship scam.
Another reason for having a dedicated scholarship email is so students can quickly delete any spam that gets sent to them, and respond if they have been selected to receive a scholarship award.
No Essay: Scholarship, Lottery, or Sweepstakes?
The reality is many companies use scholarships–particularly no essay scholarship giveaway programs–as a marketing tool to collect contact information for potential customers.
In fact, student lenders and banks identify students who will potentially need to borrow money for college, based on the fact that a high school, undergrad, or graduate student is interested in a scholarship.
The theory is that an applicant looking for scholarship money will eventually need a student loan to cover whatever funding gap they’re trying to fill.
So the next time you (or your college student) come across a scholarship fund that only asks for contact information and doesn’t require an essay, think a little longer about what that company is really trying to do and whether it’s truly a scholarship or merely a scholarship sweepstakes.
Filling out no essay scholarship applications should never be the #1 strategy for students who are trying to win money for college.
A few minutes a day is fine, as long as more time is spent writing essays and finding traditional scholarship programs that are based on merit, cumulative GPA, leadership, volunteering, talents, financial need, or college majors.
For example, students who would like to go to law school should find and apply for scholarships offered by law firms or businesses in similar fields.
It’s very easy for students to be attracted to non essay scholarships, and those who spend HOURS “applying” and then complain that they never win should look closely at the sort of awards they’re spending the majority of their time on.
Time filling out surveys hoping to win a scholarship drawing is totally different from time spent writing essays and submitting applications to small businesses that truly want to help students pay for college.
Hundreds of thousands of students “apply” for no essay scholarships, but the odds of winning can be compared to winning the lottery.
The bottom line is: No essay scholarships are ONE way for students to try and win money for college, but should never be the only way.
Get Real Funding for College
The truth many families don’t realize is that the biggest source of college funding is actually the school itself.
You need to find schools that are generous with aid to families in your situation. That may eliminate the need for your child to get a student loan.
Want to save time and find the right schools for your student? Try College Insights to compare schools based on the percentage of students who receive financial aid, along with other criteria important to you and your student.
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