Scholarship Websites: Are they Worth the Time?
A Review of the Top Scholarship Websites.
In my professional experience (and personal) when the term Scholarships comes up in conversation, the first question is “what scholarship websites are out there for me to look at what’s available?”
What seems like an overwhelming task of finding them, the good news is there are scholarship websites out there to help us navigate through this.
For parents of soon-to-be-college students and soon to be college students this is something I would recommend looking into and as you develop a list of potential scholarships that you can apply for.
Scholarship by definition is the grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement.
There are quite a few scholarship websites out there where one can search for what is available. So are they good and legitimate? Well let’s take a look.
If we type in scholarships in our “google machine” we will get quite a few results for. Let’s talk about these scholarship websites and go through what I feel to be the top 5 based on all the ones I looked at.
First up is Scholarships.com. They have been around for a while and in my professional experience this is the place where students would get referred to the most. Here is how it works:
- Create a free account
- It will ask for information about yourself and then match you to scholarships you qualify for
- You will need to sort through the ones that are relevant as you will get several back that are not relevant
They also have a directory which you can then select what is applicable to you and see the results that come up. In addition, there is a college search where you can plug in the school or browse by state. They also put some work into the student resources tab that would be helpful for those searching.
Next let’s look at Unigo.com. Well they pull at our money heart strings for sure as they talk about how can one pay for school and comparing it to a puzzle. Boy are they right about that. So like the other college scholarship search sites there are going to be similarities with a college search, scholarship search, and match features. What caught my eye is the tab that says EASY SCHOLARSHPS!
What are Easy Scholarships?
The paranoid and skeptical version of myself is saying “how easy can it really be?” So they list what looks to be 13 scholarships that show the deadline and amount. I’m laughing because you have to see some of the names of the scholarships.
- DO-OVER SCHOLARSHIP
- FLAVOR OF THE MONTH SCHOLARSHIP
- MAKE ME LAUGH SCHOLARSHIP
- Zombie Apocalypse
- Shout it Out Scholarship
- Education Matters Scholarship
- Top Ten List Scholarship
- I Have a Dream Scholarship
- Sweet and Simple Scholarship
- Superpower Scholarship
- All About Education Scholarship
So let’s talk about a Monster of a site called Fastweb.com. Why is it a Monster site? Well caused they are owned by Monster! They are one of the leading online resources for finding scholarships.
They offer the following:
- Targeted Scholarships based on interests and skills
- College search where you can discover the perfect school for interests and budget
- Financial Aid resources to help guide you through the process
- Part-time jobs! What??? Yes that’s right part time jobs. What does that have to do with paying for college and finding scholarships? Stay tuned to the end and I’ll tell you.
They seem to be geared to parents as well or at least that is the vibe I have received from it. It has an exception tool and visually the presentation makes it easier on the eyes. You can save the results you are interested in and check the boxes on the ones that you’d like to say goodbye to.
Next is Cappex. Visually Cappex looks great! In fact I was daydreaming for a moment just looking at the homepage before I released I was there to check it out!
How it works taken right from their site:
- Create a free account
- Get matched with colleges of your interest
- Colleges will then send you a message if you were identified as a good fit
- Add that college to list and they will be notified of interest in attending
- Colleges will contact you about a visit and applying
- Check out eligible scholarships and start applying
So it’s a large database and a good place for students (and parents) to cast their net. I personally like their college search (with the exception of the displaying of the sticker price…lol). Just kidding of course. Listen, it’s something we need to be aware of and make goals for ourselves as parents and students. Because what will happen if swept under the rug is our children will get to the point that they are ready to go off to school and we are going to say “where is money coming from?”
They have a nice scholarship search that looks similar to the college search page. Again, the scholarships are displayed and you can see the amounts and save. What neat is they also talk about the 10 most popular majors which is nice because something gets overlooked and that is the ROI of the degree.
Lastly, let’s look at Thrivenet. As the site says “Complete your college journey with less debt.” What neat is they have a chat feature where you can actually speak to someone. This is the only one I found that has this. You see the site mentions student resources often and rightfully so. They even have a section where you can watch prerecorded webinars the two in particular they are showing are:
- Top 3 ways to reduce student loan payments
- Paying for college with less debt
Similarly to the other sites, their search tool for scholarships gives you the ability to filter results by award type, filed of study, and school type. They even have a college savings estimator where you can track the progress per child and see how the Future College Savings compares against your Savings Goal.
To me this site really is about what is called responsible borrowing. Its intent is to educate those so they know exactly the commitment and what needs to be known when embarking on this path.
A Practical Philosophy
So earlier I mentioned what do part-time jobs have to do with paying for college??? They should intertwine with your overall strategy.
Well I’ll tell you and it’s a philosophy that many successful people practice and that’s called multiple streams. In conclusion, I’m thinking it’s best not to think put all of our eggs in the basket of something that produces a large amount. Instead chop away at the massive tuition from small amounts of funding here and there (multiple small scholarships perhaps) and yes that may even mean having a part-time job and using that as a stream to pay for college.
It’s important to be organized and have a strategy when looking at these scholarship websites. Yes, it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of research but well worth in the end.
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