Whether you are a high school freshman, a current college student, or a graduate student, you can find scholarships to help pay for your education. In addition to working with the guidance counseling or financial aid office at your high school or college, you can find scholarship search tools online.
Before you embark on a scholarship hunt there are a few tips you should consider:
- Agree on the number of scholarships you will apply to each week, month, or in total. It can become a full-time job.
- If you haven’t already, create a separate email account for college/scholarship information versus your personal and school communication.
- Don’t let the volume of information overwhelm you. Be ready to adjust your email preferences to get weekly summaries rather that separate emails for every possible scholarship.
- Organize your written responses so you can reuse answers as much as possible. This helps if you plan to apply to multiple scholarships.
- Before you work on any scholarship or apply to any program you find online, verify that the program is still in existence. Companies and colleges discontinue funding at times and you don’t want to invest 15 hours of effort only to find the program ended last year.
First, NEVER PAY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS. Ever. If you are told there is a fee to accept your award, it is a scam. You should not have to pay for legitimate scholarships.
The sites listed in this article work to include only legitimate programs, but there are a lot of companies out there preying upon people’s desire to find college money. These shifty businesses promise results. Use your good judgment. No one can guarantee scholarships.
Also, these scholarship search sites ask for your personal information to help find scholarships that meet your specific profile. Use caution when providing personal information, as some sites may sell your information. Read the registration forms carefully, and if you do not want your information shared with third parties, be sure to opt out.
Here are some top online resources for finding scholarships.
Fastweb is an online scholarship database with more than 1.5 million programs listed. Students can register with Fastweb, create a profile, and receive customized emails with scholarships right for them. Fastweb has scholarships for every year of study, beginning with high school freshman and going all the way through graduate school. Since 1995, Fastweb has been helping students with free scholarship search information.
Scholarships.com is another online database dedicated to helping students find money for college. Scholarships.com features 2.7 million scholarships and grants worth more than $19 million. Students and guidance counselors can search according to a variety of criteria. In addition, Scholarships.com includes a matchmaker and directory feature to help students find the right college.
Big Future is one part of the College Board’s extensive website. You are probably familiar with the College Board site because it’s the resource for SAT practice and registration. However, the site’s “Big Future” section also includes college and scholarship search features. The scholarship search feature is a recent addition that includes 2,200 programs totaling more than $6 million in awards. College Board is working to expand the listings, so the number of scholarships listed will increase.
Cappex, a popular college search site, gives you access to more than $11 billion in scholarships. It is a great tool to search for scholarships offered by specific colleges and universities. The focus of the site is matching students with merit and academic scholarships offered by more than 3,000 schools.
CollegeNET is a technology company that focuses on web-based tools for education. The scholarship search program is unique, because in addition to information on programs and awards, CollegeNET encourages students to create forums and vote online for the most interesting discussion. Weekly voting and site participation determines the CollegeNET social networking scholarship, which ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the level of participation. In addition to the social aspect, CollegeNET has a database of $1.6 billion in scholarships.
By using these online resources you can find scholarships, even if you are not a top academic student. There will be overlap in the scholarships described on these sites, but each site claims to have unique content. It’s a good idea to use more than one of these sites as part of your scholarship search.