Resources for Scholarships

97825-main_fullCollegeScholarships.org

Must register to use website? – No

Description:  ‘College Scholarships’ is an awesome website that allows you to browse through specific and non-traditional categories of available scholarships. No need to complete a complicated profile – if you are a twin, click on the “twin’s” link; if your parents are broke, click “Low-Income.” You can also search by state, career of interest, etc.

Bonus Features:  College Scholarships also allows you to browse an extensive list of grants opportunities and student loans. The site’s list of resource articles, cover interesting topics such as tuition reimbursement and how to write thank you letters to the organizations that have granted you scholarships.

Sweepstakes Offer:  No free sweepstakes, but ‘College Scholarships’ sponsors its own collection of competitive scholarships, including unique opportunities for people who blog or tweet.

 

TheCollegeAnswer.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  ‘The College Answer’ is a subdivision of the Sallie Mae (Student Loan Marketing Association) website. After registering, you complete a fun profile about yourself that allows you to make multiple selections in a variety of categories. With any luck, your favorite hobbies, clubs, etc. will be represented in their drop-down menus.

 

After you submit your profile, you are matched up with a list of scholarships appropriate to your talents and interests. The results are assigned a percentage number on a scale of how applicable the offer is to your personal profile. You can adjust the “Match Accuracy” bar higher to see only the listings best suited to you, or lower to view scholarships that you may be ineligible to win. You can update your results list at any time by clicking the “Re-run Match” button in the side panel.    

 

Bonus Features:  ‘The College Answer’ provides a complete guide to planning your higher education. You will find educational articles under the headings of Preparing, Selecting, Applying, Paying, Deciding, and Financing.

 

Sweepstakes Offer:  By registering with ‘The College Answer’ you are automatically entered into a sweepstakes for $1000. One prize is awarded each month.

 

Parents are eligible to enter an annual drawing for a $10,000 scholarship if they sign up to receive the Parent Answer e-Newsletter. One prize is awarded per year.

Scholarships4Students.com

Must register to use website? – No

Description:  Scholarships4Students is a no-gimmicks website that gives you exactly what you are seeking – plenty of scholarships. The offerings are presented by a series of top category links (example: Heritage Scholarships), followed by sub-category links (example: Armenian, Chicano, Chickasaw, etc.). The top-level listings are always available in left menu on each page, which makes for easy navigation from one category to the next.

Bonus Features:  Scholarships4Students is a fairly simplistic site, but there are several links at the bottom of the menu that provide resources for homeschoolers, grants, college humor, etc. In case you’re in the market for some torturous hazing, the site also offers a directory of existing fraternities and sororities.   

 

Downside:  None, unless you hate simplistic websites and prefer to jump through hoops to find your scholarships.

Sweepstakes Offer:  None

 

Scholarships.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  At scholarships.com you will be asked to register, and then complete a fast – but thorough – profile for yourself. The system will match you to potential scholarships based on the boxes you click under a series of categories. Your personalized database appears with the scholarships that expire the soonest listed at the top (just beneath the ‘sponsored’ links), then proceeds downward to the ones with later deadlines. Click on the scholarship title to learn more details and be directed to the sponsor’s website.

 

Bonus Features:  Extras on the website include financial aid information, a college search tool, and a variety of articles teaching study skills and explaining college life (found under “Resources” tab). If this book didn’t provide you with enough inspiring examples of real-life scholarship winners to keep you drooling with envy, be sure to check out the website’s collection of “success stories”!

 

Downsides:   Endless pop-up advertisement. If you don’t want your email account filled up with offers, you must opt out of four different email lists EVERY TIME that you log into the site.

 

You cannot view a list of all open scholarships; only those that the system decides you qualify for.

Sweepstakes Offer:  The “Tell A Friend” $1000 Sweepstakes – Refer a friend to sign-up for the website, and both of you will receive 1 entry for a chance to win $1000 toward college tuition. Odds of winning are slim, as only $1000 is awarded in a 3-month period.

 

BrokeScholar.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  The ‘Broke Scholar’ website is sponsored by Chase bank. After registration, you follow the familiar process of providing basic information and selecting your personal attributes before receiving a list of applicable scholarships. The site offers a deadline calendar and deadline email alerts to help keep your scholarships organized.

 

Bonus Features:  Nothing. This site is solely a scholarship search tool.

Downside:  JPMorgan Chase is not secretive about wanting to provide you with a student loan should your scholarship dreams go unfulfilled. They almost seem like vultures, eagerly awaiting your failure. Don’t let them win!

Sweepstakes Offer:  None – but you are certainly welcome to apply for a student loan!

 

FastWeb.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  FastWeb starts out slow as you create your initial profile. You are asked very few questions about yourself … yet they want to know both your intended college major AND your future career choices, which are essentially the same thing!

 

After you receive your first list of available scholarships, you are invited to complete your profile with further information about yourself – which is almost guaranteed to result in more scholarship “hits”. Your category options are sparse compared to other websites, but FastWeb still delivers an extensive list of valuable scholarship opportunities – more, in fact, than most of the similar Internet sites.

 

One unique and useful feature of the FastWeb scholarship search results page is how they mark along the side of each entry whether the listing is a traditional scholarship, a contest, a promotion, a grant, or some other type of funding offer.  

  

Bonus Features:  In addition to scholarship listings, FastWeb provides articles on financial aid, internships, student life, and other topics. The site maintains an active discussion forum where you can ask questions, share stories, and connect with other college hopefuls.

FastWeb will send a TON of emails to the account you used when registering. This can be either a bonus or an annoyance, depending on how valuable you find their information.

 

Downsides:  Many ‘special offers’ to decline.

 

Poor profile options – FastWeb asks nothing about your additional talents/hobbies, aside from clubs, music, theatre, etc. There is no section to record disabilities or religious affiliation, and your choices are limited in other areas. FastWeb gives you less than 10 different races to choose from, and if your parent’s career begins with the letter ‘A’ but is not “Air Traffic Controller,” then you are out of luck!

 

Your profile will be displayed as “incomplete” if you are not able to select an option from EVERY category provided. So, if you are not enlisted in the military, if you do not belong to a fraternity/sorority, or if your parents are architects instead of air traffic controllers, you will never know the satisfaction of a completed profile.

You cannot view a list of all open scholarship – only those that the system decides you are qualified to win.  

Sweepstakes Offer:  FastWeb sponsors contests periodically, but they do not have an ongoing sweepstakes.  

 

ScholarshipExperts.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  ‘Scholarship Experts’ has the most extensive profile questionnaire on the market, plus a unique method for adding choices from their drop-down menus. Be sure to carefully read all of the options provided – if you don’t click that you have never been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, the system may assume that you have! Once you’ve received your listing of scholarship possibilities, you’ll notice the “Apply Now” button next to each entry. This link will either take you to the website of the scholarship’s sponsor, or directly to the actual application. In certain cases, your basic information might be automatically filled in for you.

 

Bonus Features:  ‘Scholarship Experts’ is all about finding scholarships … but not much else. The site’s “E-Organizer” will link you to the government’s official site for financial aid information, and also provides a portal where you can search for the perfect college.

 

Downside:  You cannot view a list of all open scholarship – only those that the system decides you are qualified to win.

Sweepstakes Offer:  This is not a random sweepstakes drawing, but ‘Scholarship Experts’ holds an annual “Top Ten List” scholarship competition. They award five $1000 scholarships each year.

 

StudentScholarshipSearch.com

Must register to use website? – No

Description:  On ‘Student Scholarship Search’ you do not need to register or sign-in in order to view their scholarship listings (although you have the option to do so). This site seems to have fewer listing than most Internet scholarship searches. I thought I might be granted a more extensive directory if I registered with the website, but nothing changed after my membership was validated.   

 

Bonus Features:  ‘Student Scholarship Search’ is part of the vast family of websites maintained by Student Loan Network. From this site, you can easily navigate to GradLoans.com, FAFSAonline.com, plus other affiliated college-related destinations. ‘Student Scholarship Search’ also offers a free Scholarship eBook.

 

Downsides: Every time you click a link on the website, your action opens up a tab for ScholarshipPoints.com. You can avoid this inconvenience by leaving the window open until you are finished browsing ‘Student Scholarship Search’. At the time of review, some of the site links were outdated and went nowhere.  

Sweepstakes Offer:  ‘Student Scholarship Search’ takes sweepstakes to a whole new level with their alternate website ScholarshipPoints.com.

 

CollegeNET.com

Must register to use website? – Optional

Description:  CollegeNET offers an amazing number of scholarship listings – if it’s offered, you are likely to find it here! You can search for the perfect scholarship either by entering a keyword or by creating a profile about yourself and requesting matches (if it works – see below). You are able to save the scholarships that interest you to a temporary list for further inspection. The many scholarships offered will appear in order of the highest award amount down to the lowest.   

Bonus Features:  You can search for and apply to a large number of higher educational institutions right from the CollegeNET website. They also host a very active forum.

 

Downsides:  The profile search is not very accurate. I answered the questions quite specifically, yet found that my fictitious persona was ineligible to receive three out of five of the scholarship results the system produced. For example, my subject was not a resident of Tennessee, his parents did not belong to a union, and he did not have spina bifida – all of which were requirements for the “best fit” scholarships according to CollegeNET. Once you’ve created a profile, you must investigate your selected scholarships before closing your browser if you wish to avoid answering the questions again on your next visit. There is no way to save your search results for review on another day.

 

Sweepstakes Offer:  Sign up to participate on the website’s forums, then post messages until your fingers bleed! The topics discussed are varied, interesting, and most often do not relate at all to college attendance. The point is to be active and make a lot of friends who will “vote” for you and your cleverly profound forum posts. Every week, someone from the top ten elected members will be chosen to receive a scholarship of anywhere up to $5,000 (the amount varies each week).

 

CollegeBoard.com

Must register to use website? – Optional

Description:  The CollegeBoard.com scholarship search profiler consists of a series of easy-to-use drop-down menus with the categories of “Personal Information”, “Academic Information”, “Type of Award”, and “Affiliation Information”. Your search results will show a series of scholarships ranked in alphabetical order, and this list can (optionally) also show federal aid programs, internships, loans, and research grants. When you click to view more information about a scholarship, you will be provided with a very useful description of the award – including detailed eligibility requirements. If you register for the website and log in, you can save your profile and scholarship search results.  

 

Bonus Features:  Under their motto of “inspiring minds”, CollegeBoard.com offers a wide array of college resource information for students, parents, and even teachers. As a student, you may find “My College QuickStart” to be a useful planning tool. The site also emphasizes preparation for the SAT and other tests, if you’re into that kind of thing.

 

Downsides:  The profile questions are far more simplistic than you’ll find on other scholarship search websites. For instance, only 14 ethnicities are listed, so if your heritage isn’t Arab, Welsh, or one of other 12 offered in between, your ethnic background is deemed irrelevant. This trend continues, with only 10 choices for religious affiliation, 5 choices of medical conditions, etc.

The profiler never asks you for your GPA or test scores, so the list of scholarship results is likely to include many that you may not qualify for academically.

Sweepstakes Offer: None

 

MyCollegeOptions.org

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  The readily visible MyCollegeOptions scholarship listings are limited to the four very basic categories of Location, Major, Ethnicity, and Religion, but with an Advanced Search, you can add in test scores, a disability, and a keyword.  However, after several attempts, I was still unable to complete an Advanced Search that brought up even a single result! Basically, this is one of the worst scholarship resources out there, but other features of the website make it worth a visit.

 

Bonus Features:  MyCollegeOptions.org offers a great Resource Center containing tons of articles and information for college bound hopefuls. One fun and interesting feature of the site is Zero Hour Threat, a very advanced practice game for taking the ACT and SAT.

 

There are also areas on the website for parents, counselors, and educators.

Downside: Not so great for finding scholarships.

Sweepstakes Offer: None

 

CollegeTreasure.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  From the CollegeTreasure.com website: “Our mission is to catalog all of the $11 Billion in college-based merit aid available to make it easy for students to locate schools where they are eligible for scholarships.” CollegeTreasure.com catalogs the monetary awards being offered by over 1,200 schools. This website is an excellent resource to check out if you already know which school you plan to attend, or if you want to choose your college based on the number of private scholarships they offer to their students.

 

Bonus Features:  CollegeTreasure.com has a small collection of articles under “College Resources” with some useful titles, such as “Overcoming Test Anxiety” and “Ways to Lower Your EFC” (Expected Family Contribution).

 

Downside:  The website hopes to one day maintain a list of talent-based scholarships, but at this time, you can only search for awards offered directly from each educational establishment. You do not have the option of entering a GPA below 2.7.

Sweepstakes Offer: None

 

AIE.org

Must register to use website? – No

Description:  Adventures in Education (AIE) offers several ways to find scholarships. You can perform a “Quick Search” by entering a keyword or clicking on a category, you can create a profile for an advanced search, or you can simply browse their entire list of scholarships.

 

Bonus Features:   There are many helpful articles on the site, group under the categories of “Planning for College,” “Paying for College,” “Finding a Career,” and “Managing Your Money.”

 

Downsides:  Once you’ve created a profile, you must investigate your selected scholarships before closing your browser if you wish to avoid answering the questions again on your next visit. There is no way to save your search results for review on another day.

If you choose to view ALL of the scholarships offered, you cannot view them in one long list. You must click through the entire database one scholarship at a time.

Sweepstakes Offer: None

 

Cappex.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  Cappex.com is mainly a college search resource. The website provides tools that will help you to make a list of the institutions of higher learning that interest you the most, connect with them, and track your college applications. Cappex.com provides a planning tool for college visits and a place where you can view “Admission Trends” to see what kind of student is accepted at your schools of choice.

 

The Cappex.com scholarship search page offers some unique features to help you choose which ones are right for you. In addition to the usual info about amount and deadlines, the website uses a star system to rank the ease of filling out the application and to tell you if the competition for the scholarship is heavy, moderate, average, or “relatively little!” Using a drop-down menu, you can set the “status” of each scholarship on the list with options such as “Might Apply,” “Applied,” and “Does Not Fit.”

 

Bonus Features:  The Cappex Cap Challenge is an opportunity for members to earn achievement awards for participating on the site. The program is described like this: “The idea is simple. The more caps you collect by interacting with colleges, applying to scholarships and navigating the Cappex site, the sooner you can travel through higher levels and gain access to neater stuff. Cappex will guide you along providing hints as to which tasks lead to more caps.”

I don’t what all they mean by “neater stuff,” but earning enough caps will unlock opportunities to apply for certain Cappex-sponsored scholarships.

Cappex.com hosts a number of contests where members can win college money by describing their personal innovations or volunteer service.

Downside:  In order to complete your Cappex profile and gain full access to the site features, you must first provide your address and phone number. Some people may not feel comfortable revealing this personal information.

 

Sweepstakes Offer:  Cappex.com doesn’t have a sweepstakes lottery, per se, but they offer many of their own scholarships – such as their famous “A GPA Isn’t Everything Scholarship” – which are said to be awarded based on the extra-curricular activities listed in the user’s profile. Since the information a member enters on his/her “application” (profile) can’t be verified, these scholarships are essentially lotteries?

 

CollegeProwler.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  CollegeProwler touts itself as having the “The ONLY College Guides Written by Students For Students.” I’m not sure if they actually hold the monopoly on insider college reviews, but the website does have over 200,000 reports from students who ready to share the secret specifics of the institution they attend. You can read reviews about everything from housing to the physical attractiveness of the student population.

 

As for scholarships, CollegeProwler’s search is sorted into the categories of Career Choice, Interests/Hobbies, Major, Military Association, Race/Ethnicity, Religion, Sports, State of Residency. Good descriptions of the scholarships are provided, but some of the listings are outdated. At least you get a preview of what you can apply for next year!

 

Bonus Features: CollegeProwler.com runs an online bookstore to provide additional resources, and the site hosts a nice collection of articles about the scholarship application process and other topics relevant to transitioning from high school to college.

 

Downside:  CollegeProwler.com is short on original content. Their scholarship search is powered by SuperCollege.com; visitors are directed to Cappex.com for statistics on college acceptance; connections with colleges are managed through Zinch.com.

 

Sweepstakes Offer:  CollegeProwler holds two monthly lotteries. Their $2000 “No Essay” Scholarship is open to any prospective college student, and once you are already enrolled in an institution of higher learning, you are eligible to enter their $1000 Monthly Survey Scholarship by answering a few questions about your school.

 

FastAID.com

Must register to use website? – Yes

Description:  FastAid.com claims to be the “oldest and largest” scholarship search website … and this is the only service that the site provides. After completing out your personal profile, you will be shown a short – but quite accurate – list of scholarship opportunities. The good side of FastAID is that their list contains only REAL scholarships – your search results will not include the same old lottery and sweepstakes entries that you see over and over again on other sites. The results are not perfect (for instance, I said that I planned to attend college in North America, and my first ‘hit’ was for an international student exchange scholarship), but most of the other listings appeared to be in direct compliance with my profile answers.    

 

Bonus Features:  There really are none. At the bottom of my scholarship results page, there was a link that read: “What Next! We’ll hold your hand! Step by Step Help – Click Here.” I tried clicking this link on different days, using different browsers, and always got an error page.

 

Downside:  You cannot access the scholarship listings without first completing a VERY thorough personal profile. This is the first website that has gone so far as to ask me which continent I live on. You cannot browse the full list of scholarships. You may only see your “matches.”

 

The scholarship info you receive is simply info – no links to websites, applications, etc. Once you are informed that a certain scholarship exists, you must figure out for yourself how to go about learning more.

Sweepstakes Offer:  None

 

FreschInfo.com

Must register to use website? – No

Description:  The FRESCH! free scholarship search site is another resource for lists of available awards. The profile that they ask you to fill out in order to “match” you to the right scholarships is short and simplistic. Put in whatever info you want, because it really doesn’t matter. I signed up as a Belgian male entering his freshman year of college, and near the top of my search results list I found SIX scholarships in a row that are only awarded to females.

 

The FRESCH! listings may not be an accurate fit to your profile, but one great thing about this site is the feature that allows you to hover your cursor above a scholarship link to read the pertinent details for eligibility. This perk will save you a lot of time and clicks on your “back” arrow.     

 

Bonus Features:   FRESCH! has lots of articles and info about applying for scholarships, getting financial aid, and beyond. The social networking features did not work at the time of testing.

 

Downside:  You are only able to see the scholarships that the system “matches” to your profile answers. Out of the 46 listed on my behalf, the character I created was only eligible to apply for 11 of them. Out of these few, a third of them were simply random lotteries.

 

In your profile, you are not able to put a decimal point in your GPA. This small detail would be very important if the system actually attempted to match you with only the scholarships that accepted applicants of your academic level.    

 

Sweepstakes Offer:  None of their own, but they will link you to everyone else’s.

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