Search for Scholarships

Posted on September 17, 2016 in Scholarships

How to Find Scholarships Online

Whether you are in your freshman year of high school, or already enrolled in your freshman year of college, there could be a college scholarship with your name on it. Finding a scholarship to help pay for college is the dream of many students (and their parents). So where do you start?

Scholarship search websites have been around since the mid 1990s and continually add to their databases of scholarships. Some new scholarship search websites have sprouted up recently to provide enhanced application services (read on to find out).

Below is an overview of five of the most popular scholarship search websites. Each of these sites provides valuable information about scholarships that could help you get some money to pay for college. What's more, they allow for faster and more precise scholarship searches than ever before, as these sites harness the full power of the Internet to help you find the funds you're seeking.

Popular Websites to Search for Scholarships

Fastweb.com. Here's a site that has been helping students find college scholarships since 1995. Students can go to this free website and enter information about themselves and the types of scholarships that they are looking for. Fastweb's technology searches its database of more than 1.5 million scholarships, and finds matches to the student's information.

Information that you must provide to a Fastweb scholarship search includes:

  • Current grade level
  • Date of Birth
  • Current Grade Point Average
  • Major or Intended Major in College
  • Some colleges you are interested in attending
  • Whether or not you are a US Citizen
  • Your ethnicity (this is optional, but could qualify you for special minority scholarships)
  • Your contact information (including address and phone number, which are not optional to receive search results)

Once you've entered the required information, Fastweb will give you your total number of scholarship matches and the potential value of them. By providing just the basic information listed above, our scholarship search tester had 77 scholarship matches worth a potential $235,250! You can scroll through your matches, see who offers the scholarship, what the application requirements are, and what amounts are awarded to students. If you want to apply to a scholarship, Fastweb will forward you to the scholarship website.

In addition to matches from the basic information that you provide, you can provide additional information about yourself, like if you play sports or if you're a member of student government. You can even enter your SAT/ACT scores. The more information that you provide about yourself, the more scholarship matches you'll receive.

BigFuture by The College Board. This website is more than a scholarship search engine; it is a full-fledged college knowledgebase. The free scholarship search that they provide doesn't even require your email address or date of birth to give you potential scholarship matches. It took our search tester less than 4 minutes to complete the search questionnaire, resulting in 158 scholarship matches.

The scholarship match results are instantly listed with the name of the scholarship, the scholarship sponsor, the type of award (state and private were the most common), the amount of money awarded, and the closing date for applications. Simply click on the name of the scholarship to see more information, including the website to apply.

Of course, by providing less information on the questionnaire (no date of birth or GPA), you'll get matched to some scholarships for which you won't qualify. If you don't want to provide too much personal information up-front, however, this site is for you.

Scholarships.com. Scholarships.com is another free website that has a scholarship search function. The site was started in 1998, so it has a wealth of information and scholarships to find.

Compared to Fastweb, Scholarships.com asks for a lot more information right up front in order to help you refine your search criteria. You'll be asked about your extracurricular activities, religion, minority status, and test scores; it's all optional, but submitting this information while you set up your profile helps to get more scholarship matches.

You can also just browse through the Scholarship.com directory of scholarships, which is broken out by many popular search criteria, like college major, student gender, scholarship amount, and student religion. If you're looking for even more scholarship categories, go to the footer on their website, where they list even more options.

ScholarshipOwl.com. This website is a different take on scholarship searches. ScholarshipOwl uses your profile to complete a general scholarship application, which you can use to apply to your scholarship matches. Using their 'full range of services' comes with a fee, although you can try some of their services for free.

Using ScholarshipOwl could save you time when you want to apply to a number of different scholarships, but if each scholarship requires a different personal essay, you'll still need to do that part separately.

ScholarshipAmerica.com. Scholarship America provides all sorts of resources and advice about college and financial aid. The website doesn't have the type of search engine that you'll find on Fastweb or Scholarships.com (they partner with Fastweb for certain services). Instead, Scholarship America provides a list of 'open scholarships', which are currently taking applications. You don't have to answer any questions, just scroll through and read a little about each scholarship, its requirements, and the amount awarded to winners.

Scholarship America also has a Dollars for Scholars program, which works with affiliate partners around the country to provide resources and scholarships to students. You can use their site to find out if there is a local affiliate near you.

Go Exploring & Find Some Money

There are scholarships for all types of students, from super-nerds to all-star athletes, to drama-geeks and gamers. You could be surprised to find a scholarship that is specialized to your race, religion, and hobby! It doesn't take a lot of effort to search online for scholarships; most of the websites have technology that will do that for you. You never know what kind of money you could find waiting for you.

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