Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Financial Aid Scholarships 7 Things to Know Before Applying for Scholarships Updated Apr 05, 2023   |   4-min read Written by Jeff Gitlen, CEPF® Written by Jeff Gitlen, CEPF® Expertise: Student loans, personal loans, home loans, insurance, credit cards Jeff Gitlen, CEPF®, is the director of content operations at LendEDU. He graduated from the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware. Learn more about Jeff Gitlen, CEPF® Wouldn’t you love to be able to go to college and never have to worry about taking out a student loan? That would be nice, but not everyone is able to do so. In fact, many students need to borrow money to complete their college education. The number of student loans that are outstanding is growing year after year. Before you start applying for federal student loans, consider some of your other options such as scholarships, but never place all of your trust in them either. Check out LendEDU’s scholarships page for information on different kinds of scholarships available! Below, you can learn some interesting facts about scholarships before you apply to them. 1. You Don’t Have to Have a School Picked Out If you are planning to go to college, but you do not know where you want to go yet, you can still apply for scholarships. In fact, you can begin applying for scholarships while you are still in high school. One thing to keep in mind is whether or not there is a specified school on the scholarship. For example, some scholarships may be school specific, so make sure you choose one that is not. 2. The FAFSA is for Everyone Many people believe that their only option for college is to apply for scholarships, but this is incorrect. The FAFSA is designed for everyone and not just low income households. It is recommended that everyone who is going to college fill it out. Often, when you apply for the FAFSA, you may be awarded grants and scholarships that you qualify for as well. All schools accept the FAFSA so you do not have to base your decision on which schools do and don’t. In addition, if you do not qualify for or receive all of the scholarships you apply for, the FAFSA will allow you to receive federal student loans. 3. Scams Exist When you are filling out scholarships, make sure that you are going through a reputable site. There are many scholarships scams out there that may ask you for your social security number or even ask you to make a payment. Almost all scholarships are free to apply to and you should never have to pay a fee to gain access to the application or to apply. Protect yourself as you browse online by avoiding any websites or applications that seem too good to be true. 4. Scholarships Do Not Always Transfer If you have a scholarship and you are thinking about changing schools, be wary as you may not be able to take your scholarship with you. Sometimes, you can only use the scholarship at the school you are attending when it was awarded. If you can hold off on transferring to another school, then do so, otherwise, see if there are options for taking your scholarship with you. 5. Do I Have to Write a Lengthy Essay for All Scholarships? No. In fact, there are many scholarships that do not require you to write an essay. If you are asked to write an essay, make sure that you concentrate on it and proofread. You want your essay to be the best so that your application is chosen. Students who do not pay attention to the requirements or the essay guidelines will have their application denied. You can check out some good scholarship essay examples here. 6. Are All Scholarships Available to All Students? No. Many scholarships have requirements that you must meet. For instance, you may find that one scholarship requires that you have a certain grade point average while another requires you to meet certain financial guidelines. It is important that you pay attention to these things as your application will be denied if you apply for a scholarship you do not meet the requirements for. 7. Schools Have Scholarships Too Many colleges have their own scholarships that are awarded to students. Sometimes, you have to ask the school as the information is not readily available. If you are heading off to college soon, make sure that you are prepared. You should know how you plan to pay for your schooling before the time comes. Applying for scholarships takes time so start early and always pay attention to all instructions and requirements.