TGIF, scholarship seekers! It’s nearly the end of August, which means that many of you are heading back to school, busy figuring out how best to arrange your dorm room — and your class schedule. August also brings a brief lull in my list of scholarships with immediate deadlines. While there are still a few opportunities out there, many scholarship committees take a break in August to gear up for the coming year. So, I thought I would take this week to focus on ways to find a scholarship, specifically through free scholarship search engines.
If you have ever Googled “free scholarship search”, you know that there are a plethora of sites out there claiming to have the inside scoop on the scholarship world. But can you believe their claims? Or is there a catch? If you are worried about finding a reputable scholarship search site, follow these three simple rules:
1. The site utilizes personalized profile matches.
A personalize profile is based on sophisticated matching technology, which can cross reference the information you provide to find the best matches to your particular academic record, interests, leadership experience, ethnic background, college major, geographic location, etc. A thorough in-take questionnaire may seem tedious, but it is the mark of a good scholarship search engine.
2. The site has the most current information on scholarships.
Scholarship committees change their requirements all the time. A good search engine will constantly review and update its information, from the scholarship deadline to the application requirements. After all, giving you a list of 20 scholarships to apply to does you no good if, upon further investigation, 19 of them are no longer accepting applications. Check the site’s About section to find out when the info was most recently updated. The best sites update their databases annually.
3. The site is free.
Let me say this again: The site is FREE. You should never pay a fee to run a scholarship search. Paying a fee will not get you better information. Paying a fee will not give you secret access to the goose that lays the golden eggs. Paying a fee will just take valuable dollars out of your pocket that you need to be spending on your tuition bill. If a website asks for your credit card information, close the window and look elsewhere.
Now using these three tips is a great way to evaluate a search engine, but you can also save yourself some time and just go to one of the big-three — all of which are free, have current and annually updated information, and utilize advanced personal profiles:
Have you had good luck with a scholarship search engine? Which one do you prefer?