It’s sad how so many people still fail to realize the limitless amount of scholarship opportunities there are on the internet. But when you figure out that most people aren’t looking in the right places, this fact isn’t so surprising anymore. Indeed, there are a lot of ways to find funding for both high school and college education that people either don’t know about or just take for granted.
But if you’re really looking to find the right scholarship for you, then your first step to success is knowing about the top scholarship search websites that you can explore. The list below alone will help expose you to countless grants and opportunities that will match what you’re looking for. Recommending a single search site wouldn’t be such a good idea because you’re supposed to be taking in as many options as possible – the internet is too big to be covered by a single search site.
What Makes the Best Scholarship Websites?
There’s really no one-size-fits all criteria for the qualities of good scholarship websites for high school or college, but there are some criteria that can get you close. With so many websites out there, it’s wise to watch out for those websites that show signs of being an effective resource while being wary of the ones that have telltale signs of being unreliable.
- Always Up to Date. Close to the #2 item, this has got to be the most important aspect of the top scholarship websites that you can find on the internet. Scholarship programs and grants are by nature limited, which means that sites have to be accurate as to their availability at the time when you’re searching them. Whether it’s about the availability of slots or simply the existence of the program, good scholarship search engines will show you results that you can still avail of based on your search criteria.
- This is a close second to the first criteria for what makes a good scholarship website simply because legitimacy is sort of a vague issue on the internet. But still, these search engines have to show off some degree of legitimacy about them. They have to show you that they are indeed experts in gathering information about the most relevant scholarships that you can find online based on your search. They have to deliver relevant, genuine results and aren’t just some random makeshift website for click baits and scams.
While not all website that are professional looking are legit, the websites that are usually bear the mark of accreditation of review websites and other online regulatory bodies. You can see their logos at the upper or lower part of their home pages. Testimonials from real people about how the website works are also badges of legitimacy to look out for.
- User Friendly. If these search sites are going to cater to a wide audience online, they have to account for those people who aren’t as tech-savvy. This means that their search engines have to be easy to use but at the same time still have enough features to allow users to narrow their searches according to a lot of criteria, including by:
- Educational program
- Type of grant
- Number of years
- Type of university/school
- And more!
While scholarship websites are supposed to provide a wide selection, the best scholarship websites can provide means to allow people to find exactly what it is that they’re looking for to help save time.
- Detailed and informative. These websites should at least help applicants get a bird’s eye view of every program that they show on their search results. And as the user digs deeper, the website should be able to provide even more information about the selected scholarship program including, but not limited to:
- Brief descriptions of the university or school as well as the program they’ll be enrolling in
- The coverage of the scholarship
- Other details like the term of the scholarship
- Application requirements
Good scholarship websites will even help their users make their way to the application page of these scholarships or at least provide means of contacting the institution concerned.
- The better scholarship websites don’t just provide you with a search engine for available scholarships, but they go the extra mile by providing their users with useful information that could help them maximize their chances of getting the scholarship they need. Most of these websites have their own blogs to provide users with helpful resources that will make them better applicants of their respective scholarships.
- Yes, the best scholarship websites should be for free. They shouldn’t be charging you for any kind of membership or commission. There are so many good websites out there that don’t impose any fees, which means that other sites that do just aren’t worth it.
Some Scholarship Sites for High School Students and College Students to Try
There are indeed a lot of good scholarship websites out there, but here are some of the pretty good ones. They’ve been tried and tested by many people looking for scholarships just like you, and they’ve had good experiences with them.
Scholarships.com: This website has been around since 1999 and has since amassed over 2.7 million scholarships in its database that totals over $19 billion. Simple and free, using this website only takes a couple of minutes of signing up to get started.
This website uses three main methods in helping you find the scholarship you need. First, it has the typical matching system where you input your student data and the engine will provide results. But if you think you know what you’re looking for, you can head on to the site’s college directory and just directly look for the college and any possible scholarships it might offer. Finally, there’s the college matchmaking system where, instead of going through a wide selection of scholarships, you can get yourself matched with a specific college or university based on the information that you provide.
Scholarships.com opens itself to all kinds of applicants, may they be currently in college or still in high school. They’ve helped a lot of people find ways to pay for what otherwise would be expensive college programs. They also have a blog that’s constantly updated for the latest news in the world of college grants and funding.
Fastweb: Money 911’s experts, along with many other reviewers, say that Fastweb is one of the top scholarship websites to check out. This is where targeted scholarships, financial aid, college searches, and career advice is mixed in one place, making it a one-stop resource for people looking to find ways to pay for their college tuition.
People who sign up for Fastweb get access to 1.5 million scholarships which amount to $3.4 billion in funding. After some quick information input, members can organize and manage their scholarship lists to tidy up their search results. They can indicate which scholarships they like and which ones they’re not interested in.
On top of the simple search engine, members are also given the chance to enjoy other perks, such as:
- A chance to win in monthly sweepstakes
- Find internship opportunities
- Read about the latest issues that matter in the student news
- Explore colleges with more detail by searching them based on location, costs, and available programs
Fastweb is also known for providing $2,000 no essay scholarships, making it an easy way to find quick funding for school.
Peterson’s: This one is popular for being a one-stop scholarship resource. It provides a lot of free resources to help applicants maximize their potential for getting the scholarship they want. They’ve been around for more than 50 years, so they’ve built quite the reputation for legit resources.
This top scholarship website caters to a more diverse audience because they allow categorized searching for colleges, grad school, and even online courses. So whether you’re looking for an undergraduate course, a masters or PhD, or want to get a degree online, this is the best college scholarship site for you.
But what sets Peterson’s apart from the other great scholarship websites is that they go beyond scholarship searches and matches. Sure, you’ll have access to a database that includes 50,000 accredited schools and more than 5,000 scholarships, but Peterson’s goes the extra mile with helping you prep for tests that you might have to take and polish whatever essay you might need to write in order to get into the school you want. You also get 50% off at the website’s bookstore to help you out even more.
Unigo: With over 650,000 college reviews, 7,000 colleges, 3.6 million scholarships, and 3.3 million text books in its database, Unigo really has a lot to offer to those looking for the top scholarship websites out there. The site offers detailed stats, reviews, and ratings of big universities and colleges like Stanford, Brown, and Harvard. Members who sign up for the website are also able to fully personalize their searches to get the results closest to what they want.
More than that, Unigo gives its members a chance to interact with real people for whatever questions and concerns they need help with throughout their application. This is also one of the few websites that have gone mobile, so you can track your scholarships and grab your needed study materials with a smart phone or tablet.
Chegg: What used to be a simple bookstore has somehow made its way to become one of the internet’s top online resources for education as well as one of the more effective college scholarship websites to rely on! It was even able to expand its scholarship database to over $1 billion worth of funding when it acquired Zinch in 2011.
Chegg, however, remains to be a site that mainly helps students excel at whatever stage they are in their education. It provides programs to help members with their homework, essays, and problems with one on one tutors and helpers. It helps them find the right college to apply to before they graduate. Chegg also helps members find internships to help kick start their careers. They even help their students have some bit of fun. This one is definitely more than your average scholarship search website.
College Board: Like most of the best scholarship websites mentioned here, College Board takes the extra mile in helping their members succeed in their scholarship search and applications. This scholarship search website also provides test preparation materials, search tools, and other online apps that have proven to be helpful for undergraduates and graduates alike.
The user profile is very comprehensive. You can make more specific scholarship searches by adding applicable loans, internships, and research grants with the scholarship. You’re definitely going to love this website if you’re looking for apps to help you do well with your SATs, CLEPs, and other exams. You’ll also love the mentoring apps and features for AP mentoring.
The websites mentioned above are just some of the legitimate scholarship websites that you can try. Make sure to look up other similar search engines and see what they can offer you as well. Just don’t forget to keep an eye out for the telltale signs of what makes a good scholarship website as discussed above.
How to Find Legitimate Scholarship Sites and Sources
As mentioned before, legitimacy is a big issue when it comes to picking the right scholarship websites. But it’s not just about accuracy of information. There are those who will try to pose themselves as a site that offers aid and funding for education but are actually scams. So before you head on to exploring other websites for financial aid, you’ll want to learn how to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.
Don’t Pay for any Kind of Service to Help Find Money for College. First of all, charging fees for aid and information isn’t illegal or fraudulent per se, but on the internet it’s easy for sites to run away with your money without delivering what they promised. Sometimes the fraud is subtler, such as when the site gives less than what it promised in exchange for payment.
But the thing is many of the best scholarship website today is for free. So don’t ever waste your money by paying other sites to help you find financial aid or grants. Thankfully, many of these scam websites are easy to spot, like when:
- The site offers things that are too good to be true.
- The charges and fees are way too high.
- The site asks for too much personal and banking information (things legitimate scholarship websites don’t usually ask for).
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t invest, but it is a pretty dangerous investment to make. And given all your alternatives, it is better you save your money and not part with it at all.
Check Out Lots of Free Information on Scholarships Available Online. Scholarships and the companies that sponsor them know that they are reaching out to applicants who are usually short on funding, so they help them out by giving free information. Here are some really good resources to start with:
- Government agencies. Nowadays, they will provide information of not only offline resources, but online sources like scholarship websites as well. You can check with your local government or the federal agency that manages and regulates education scholarships and research grants.
- Your own college or school. If you’re looking for scholarship websites for high school students and college students, you can actually check with the academic institution that you’re currently enrolled with. Because you are their product, they have an interest in making sure that you get the best college or post-graduate opportunity because your success affects their reputation as well. They’ll definitely be able to provide both online and offline resources to help you find the funding you need.
- Foundations and organizations. Some of these organizations are very specific, such as when they cater to a certain minority (i.e. gender, ethnicity, religion), but there are groups that have a more universal coverage too. While these organizations have offline base of operations, the rise of the internet has surely prompted them to have an online counterpart as well. This means that you can reach out to them for inquiries even if you’re far away from their physical office.
Note: There are also some websites that offer to help you process your FAFSA or free application for federal student aid. Avoid these sites. They are not accredited by the government in any way. If you’re going for FAFSA, then you should transact with the federal government’s agency.
Avoid Websites that Ask for Sensitive and Personal Information. Try exploring any of the websites mentioned above and you’ll notice that they have one thing in common: they never ask for personal information in order to give you your scholarship matches. It doesn’t make sense that a website would need your credit card or contact information in order to help you do a search for scholarships based on location, cost, or the degree type. Just like any kind of website on the internet, a legitimate scholarship website will never do anything to compromise your own personal security.
Tip: Think your personal or student information has been stolen? Or is there any website you think that’s engaging in fraudulent activity? Make sure to immediately report it to your local government or federal agency concerned.
Some Tips for Getting the Most from these Scholarship Websites
- Start Early. Many scholars and young professionals have had a common regret – that they wished they started earlier with the program that they’re in. If you’re still in high school or in college looking to get a post-graduate degree, don’t wait until after you graduate to find the scholarship you’re looking for. Start thinking about the future now and look for the funding you’ll need. Here’s why:
- You will need the extra time to work on those requirements so you don’t get delayed with your application.
- Some applications naturally take time to be processed. The sooner it gets processed, the earlier you can start.
- Other people might beat you to it. Funding is always limited (although admittedly, there are a lot of programs out there). Don’t miss out on the scholarship you’re dreamed of because someone else got accepted first.
- Comply with all the requirements in the best way possible. Remember that scholarship applications can be very competitive. If you’re going to send a mediocre application, then you might not get accepted at all. Not even all the best applications get the scholarships they want. These requirements include:
- Your college and high school performance. Make sure you do your best in school so that you’ve got a nice transcript to show to the institution you’re applying with.
- Any essay that’s required for the application. The best scholarship websites will definitely help you out with this one.
- Written recommendations, if any. Make sure the people who you’re asking recommendations from will put in a good word for you.
- Keep track of those deadlines. If you miss out on the date of submission or application, there’s very little to no chance that you’re getting that funding. Because of how competitive these programs are, they tend to be very strict when it comes to deadlines.
- Be honest about your personal circumstances. Some people think it’s a good idea to paint their personal situation as tougher than it actually is to gain the sympathy of some programs. But if you get caught, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. Scholarship programs have a high regard for integrity and don’t want their applicants lying about themselves.
The best scholarship websites will can make a world of difference in helping you find the scholarship that you need. But you’ve got to work hard as well. Just follow the tips mentioned above and make use of the resources available to you and you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for.