Scholarship Search Sites
Free scholarship search sites are everywhere on the Internet. You can find many (but certainly not all) available college scholarships fairly quickly this way. Free college grants, college internships, and teaching assistantships are also listed in some of these directories. These services ask you to create a personal personalized profile and then search through thousands of awards to find the ones which you are eligible to apply for. Some of these profiles are fairly specific, which is good for you because this produces the most accurate list possible. Expect to spend about 10 to 30 minutes to fill out each site’s profile.
It is the profile that makes these scholarship engines so useful. We have found them particularly helpful for minority scholarships, as well as awards for women, specific majors, and people with special skills. You will likely be pleasantly surprised when you see how many scholarships and grants that fit your profile.
Unfortunately, many of the scholarships identified by the database will not really be a good match for you. Yes, you will be technically eligible for each award, but quite often the specific requirements of the scholarships will fit your profile in only the most tangential way. For a variety of reasons, you may find that only a few of these awards are worth the effort of applying. Our course, you are not assured of actually winning any particular award. This is one more reason you must seek out as many opportunities as possible.
The catch? While most offer a free online scholarship search, they usually require you to register with an email address, which may be used for marketing purposes. Keep unwanted spam out of your regular mailbox by setting up a free Yahoo or Hotmail account just for these sites.
No single database has every scholarship listed, so it is best to try at least three or more services. Also, start your search as early as your junior year in high school, so you will have time to meet all application deadlines.
We highly recommend the Fastweb.com search site. It may be the best scholarship search engine on the web, and of course, it is free. After filling out a profile, you can also choose to have new scholarship alerts emailed to you. They have a database of over 2.4 million awards, so it is an excellent way to find even the most obscure awards.
If you are considering a professional scholarship search service you should be very careful as many are scams. However, using a pay service may save you time and could be helpful if you are in a hurry. Will they have more listings than the free sites? There is no guarantee they that will, and some may simply use the same free databases that you can access online.
Some businesses have been known to charge $200 or more for a search you could conduct for free on the Internet!
Before you pay for a search, make sure you are getting more than just access to a database. Look for real research that will be done on their part. Also, consider whether you are interested in other services these sites offer, such as help submitting the forms. Look for services that specialize in lesser known, regional scholarships, which are sometimes not listed in the big databases. This is the sort of advantage you should look for in a pay scholarship search service. In any case, be very careful when using a pay service, especially if they demand a significant fee upfront or make unreasonable claims of success. Services that guarantee they can win an award for you are mostly likely scams. They cannot possibly determine who will win a particular award. If at all possible, talk with someone who has already used the service before you spend any money.
The online scholarship search is now an essential part of finding money for college. The above link should get you off to a good start. For a more complete list of the best search sites available, including more than 100 of the best private scholarship foundations, please consider purchasing our downloadable Scholarship Search guide.
Go to Page 2: Minority scholarship programs