Scholarship lotteries are not really proper scholarships. While they do involve a cash payout, awards are not based on merit or need. Rather, scholarship lotteries are exactly what the name implies-a game of chance. A student may enter their name in the pool, and if it is drawn they win money for their college education.
Also know as scholarship sweepstakes, these lotteries are open to all students attending, or planning to attend, university. Students who apply for scholarship lotteries do have to meet the minimum GPA and ACT/SAT test score requirements, but these are much lower than those for most merit-based scholarships. While entering a scholarship lottery is a game of chance, it can be a great opportunity for students searching for money to fund their college career.
Like any sweepstakes, the chances of winning a scholarship lottery are relatively slim. The odds can be as low as 1 in 10,000 for the most highly publicized competitions. While merit-based scholarships are wholly contingent on your performance as a student, and on your test scores and essays, a lottery is purely chance driven. So definitely apply for any and all proper scholarships for which you may be eligible. Work hard on your applications, and do your best to demonstrate your academic prowess. But when the time comes to look for money to pay for college, every avenue should be explored. Your chances of winning a scholarship lottery are as good as any other students, so go ahead and enter. After all, as with any lottery, you have to be in it to win it.
Entering a scholarship lottery should never cost you a penny. If you are considering a lottery, and they ask for any applications fees stop and and walk away. There are many scams out there to take advantage of students looking for financial aid, and you may well end up losing your entry fee and gaining nothing. Only enter scholarship lotteries if they are free, and after you have investigated the lottery fully.
Scholarship lotteries are sponsored by education lenders looking to promote their businesses, and to bring in traffic to their companies and websites. They are a promotional tool to increase their visibility in the marketplace. When you enter a scholarship lottery, you will have to provide some basic information about yourself, such as your street address and e-mail address. Don't be surprised if, after you've entered a scholarship lottery, you begin to see in increase in junk mail and spam. The companies sponsoring these lotteries make money by selling this information to other marketing firms
If you want to enter a scholarship lottery, but would prefer to avoid an avalanche of junk e-mails, set up a secondary e-mail account with a free service like Yahoo or Hotmail. Use this address on your entry forms, so if the spam starts to roll in your real e-mails won't be lost in the shuffle. Don't forget to periodically check this secondary mail service however, because any notifications will be sent to you at that address.
Many scholarship lottery forms will have an 'opt out' option when you apply. If there is, be sure to tic the box marked 'opt out' to avoid having your in-box flooded with useless ads and offers.
The first, and best, source for information on scholarship lotteries is at your fingertips – the internet. Using the search terms 'scholarship lottery' or 'scholarship sweepstakes' will bring a large number of results for you to sift through. Some results may be for regional lotteries like the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program, while others may be sponsored by national educational lending companies like Nelnet. Be sure to investigate any scholarship lottery that you are considering fully, however, so as to avoid any online scams.
Students searching for scholarship lotteries should also look into competitions being sponsored by major banking institutions like Wells Fargo, Bank of America or Wachovia. Large national banks often offer scholarship lotteries as a way of drawing attention to their student lending services, in the hopes that students who fail to win the lottery will ultimately choose to borrow from them.
While scholarship lotteries are not the best way to fund your college education, they do provide a chance to win much needed supplemental monies to help defray the ever-growing cost of tuition. However, in no way should you rely on them for college funds. Scholarship lotteries are a gamble, and are no substitute for a sound financial plan for your college education.