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Scholarships are as close as you can get to free money. The funds you receive from a scholarship can be applied directly to your tuition and other college expenses. Scholarship awards don’t need to be paid back, which means you can pay for school without taking on as much student debt.
But even if you’re already sold on the value of scholarships, it can be difficult to actually find them. Here are some of the best resources to find scholarships that fit your talents and interests so you can get a leg up on funding your education.
What the Best Scholarship Websites Offer
The best scholarship search engines will list a wide range of scholarships, including niche awards, sweepstakes and large national prizes. Most sites also let you create a profile where you can save scholarship applications for later or receive notifications when a scholarship matching your skillset is posted.
Scholarship sites should also let you filter awards by specific categories and characteristics, such as your location, grade point average (GPA) or ethnicity. Narrowing down scholarships is crucial to your success because you’re more likely to win awards that pertain to your unique talents and interests.
9 Scholarship Websites to Help You Find Awards
We reviewed popular scholarship websites and compared them based on factors like the ability to filter and sort listings, save information to your profile, the sites’ ease of use and added tools such as auto-match functionality. Here are the best websites for scholarships you can use to find awards you’re eligible for:
Scholarships.com divides scholarships by a variety of unique categories, including GPA, military affiliation, ethnicity, artistic ability, ACT or SAT score and residing state. And when you select one of these categories, you’ll likely see a large list of subcategories, where you can then view all eligible scholarships. This system helps students find niche awards with smaller applicant pools that they’re more likely to win.
Fastweb aggregates awards from both large and small directories. You have to make a profile to search for scholarships, which is similar to other sites. But after the initial sign-up process, you can easily search for scholarships and filter your results based on several data points. Fastweb will also notify you when a new scholarship matching your description is posted and when you have upcoming deadlines.
3. College Board
You’re probably familiar with the College Board if you’ve taken the SAT, AP tests or other college entry exams. But the College Board can help you after you’ve been accepted into a school—its scholarship search helps you find awards to help you pay for college.
After you create an account, you can filter awards by your interests, field of study, club affiliations or specific situations, like if your parents are divorced. College Board will also automatically match you with eligible scholarships based on the information in your profile. There is also an autofill function, which allows you to reuse information from other scholarship applications, saving you time and helping you apply for more awards.
4. Going Merry
Applying to scholarships can feel repetitive; that’s why Going Merry lets students type in information once and apply for multiple scholarships at the same time. If you’re in a time crunch, look for awards on Going Merry before checking out the other major sites.
The site also prides itself on including local awards, which are less competitive and may be easier to win than big national scholarships.
ScholarshipOwl is a popular scholarship website that compiles awards and organizes them by amount, types of requirements, number of winners and length of time until the application is due.
ScholarshipOwl will automatically resubmit your application to recurring scholarships that don’t require anything beyond your basic information. This leaves you more time to focus on awards that require essays and recommendation letters.
While many scholarship sites are difficult to navigate, Bold.org has one of the cleanest interfaces. It’s easy to search and find different scholarships you may be eligible for and you can filter by your education level, award category, award amount and deadline. You can even toggle on the “no-essay” button to find scholarships that don’t require a written essay.
Cappex claims to be the biggest online scholarship database, so it could pay to check the site for possible leads. Like other sites, you have to create an account to see all the scholarships you might qualify for. Their filter system lets you sort awards by year in school, scholarship amount, gender, ethnicity and award deadline. You can also search for renewable scholarships, which offer college funding for multiple years.
When you fill out a profile on Scholly, their algorithm will comb through available scholarships and create a list of eligible awards. Each scholarship will have a Scholly score, which ranks how good of a fit it is for your background and experience. The higher the Scholly score, the stronger match you are with the scholarship’s requirements.
The U.S. Department of Labor has its own scholarship website through the CareerOneStop portal. There are more than 8,000 scholarships listed, and you can filter awards by keyword or sort them by amount, deadline, residing state and state where you’ll be studying.
There are scholarships available for students enrolled in a vocational school or working toward an associate’s degree, as well as for undergraduate and graduate students.
College Financial Aid Website
The official financial aid website from your college may have a list of internal scholarships and grants you can apply to. It may also offer suggestions on how to find more scholarships, like applying through a certain department or applying to local institutions that give out awards to students.
Don’t forget about your local network. Look for scholarship opportunities with nearby community foundations, rotary clubs, women’s clubs and more. Do a Google search for these kinds of organizations in your community and see if they have a list of scholarships on their website.
You should also search online through your state’s Department of Education or higher education agency, which may also list local awards and grants. Remember, local awards are often easier to win than national scholarships, since the applicant pool is likely smaller.
Applying to scholarships can seem like an exercise in futility if you don’t have a 4.0 GPA or an impressive extracurricular record. But winning scholarships is more about your attitude than your accolades. If you’re persistent and apply to scholarships you qualify for, you’ll have a much better chance than if you phone it in.
Set aside time every week to look over these resources and find scholarships that you may be eligible for. Every dollar you earn in scholarships is a dollar you won’t have to borrow in student loans.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I write a scholarship essay?
To write a scholarship essay, make sure to read the essay requirements and stick to answering the prompt. As you’re writing, organize your ideas using a clear essay structure with an introduction, body and conclusion. Let your personality shine through, and when appropriate, share personal stories to help you stand out.
Always proofread your essay to spot typos and grammatical errors. It’s often helpful to have a trusted family member, mentor or friend read your essay to point out areas that are unclear.
How do scholarships work?
Scholarships are a type of gift-based financial aid that’s offered to students. They’re offered by different organizations and nonprofits which set eligibility guidelines for scholarship applicants. Examples of eligibility criteria might include having a certain talent, trait, special interest, or academic or professional pursuit.
If you’re selected for a scholarship award, you’ll receive money that doesn’t need to be paid back, and can be used toward your education.
What scholarship can I get?
The type of scholarship you can get varies depending on your unique interests, talents and other factors. Some scholarships are need-based while others are merit-based. Consider the attributes and skills that make you unique, and use a scholarship search website to find awards that you’re eligible for. You can also ask your school’s financial aid office for scholarship opportunities that are a good fit for you.
How is a student loan different from a scholarship?
A student loan is financial aid that you’ll eventually need to repay in full, plus interest. Student loans are offered by the federal government, private lenders or your school.
A scholarship, on the other hand, is considered gift aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. Scholarships can be found through your school, private companies, nonprofits, community and social organizations, and professional associations.
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Each Fastweb scholarship is vetted by a real person to make sure it is legitimate. They also rigorously update our database to ensure that members have the most helpful, up-to-date information on each scholarship.How do you know if a scholarship website is real? ›
- Charging a fee. Most scholarship scams charge some kind of fee. ...
- Requesting unusual information. ...
- Asking for your bank account number. ...
- Telling you that you won a scholarship, but you never applied. ...
- Claiming to be a foundation or tax-exempt charity. ...
- Sends you a scholarship check.
- the financial aid office at a college or career school.
- a high school or TRIO counselor.
- the U.S. Department of Labor's FREE scholarship search tool.
- federal agencies.
- your state grant agency.
- your library's reference section.
Each Fastweb scholarship is vetted by a real person to make sure it is legitimate. They also rigorously update our database to ensure that members have the most helpful, up-to-date information on each scholarship.Is Peterson's scholarship legit? ›
Peterson's is perhaps best known as a publisher of educational materials, including test prep books and guides to colleges, financial aid, and careers. Besides their print and online publications, they also offer a modern, easy-to-use scholarship search tool, which scored 73 out of 100 across our metrics.Are scholarships without essays legit? ›
Many students find no essay scholarships to be one of the easiest ways to land free money for school. And yes, students do actually win them. But no essay scholarships shouldn't be the only type of scholarship you apply for.Are no essay scholarships legit? ›
Yes, no essay scholarships are a real thing! Some might ask you to volunteer or fill out a survey or make a short video -- others may just ask for your name. The important thing is that you don't have to push out a million different essays to qualify for financial aid.How do I find hidden college scholarships? ›
Talk to your high school counselor. Use the Department of Labor's scholarship search tool to sort more than 8,000 opportunities for student aid. Inquire at the financial aid office at your college of choice. See if your employer or your parents' employers offer assistance.Do you actually get scholarships from bold org? ›
While Bold.org is a legitimate scholarship website, not every scholarship platform truly provides financial aid to the students who apply for scholarship opportunities on their websites. There are scholarship scams out there that students need to be aware of while doing their scholarship search.How hard is it to get scholarships? ›
Odds of Winning a Scholarship
Only about 1 in 8 college students wins a scholarship, and the average amount used to pay for college is about $4,200 a year. Very few students win $25,000 or more in scholarships each year (only about 0.1%). Among the students who win scholarships, 97% win $2,500 or less.
If an application asks for money, walk away. Don't give out bank or credit card information. Any financial data you provide should come from IRS or FAFSA data. Legitimate providers do not ask for bank information.Is scholarship Owl a good website? ›
Yes, Scholarship Owl is a legit website. It connects you with scholarships that could help you get free money for college. That doesn't necessarily mean the paid features are worth it, though.Do you have to pay back Fastweb scholarships? ›
It's not a student loan; scholarships are a gift that does not have to be repaid.What is a BBB scholarship? ›
BBB's Student of Integrity Scholarship program recognizes high school seniors who personify sound ethical behavior as demonstrated through Leadership, Community Service, Personal Integrity, and Academic History.Is Nitro scholarship real? ›
1. Nitro College Scholarship — $2,000. The $2,000 Nitro College Scholarship is an opportunity for anyone enrolled in an accredited college or university for the upcoming school year.Are Scholly scholarships legit? ›
So, is Scholly legit for college scholarships? In short, Scholly is a legit company that connects students to scholarships. Since 2013, Scholly users have won over $100 million in scholarships. And with 3,000 five-star reviews on the App Store and Play Store, Scholly is the number one scholarship app on the market.What should you avoid in a scholarship essay? ›
Don't use words like “finally”, “in sum” or “in conclusion”. Don't repeat or sum up in any way. Don't start too many sentences with the word “I”. Don't tell the reader explicitly, “I am a unique and interesting person.” Instead, let the reader glean this from your unique and interesting essay.What happens if you get a scholarship and don't use it? ›
What happens to leftover scholarship money. If you earned scholarships and grants that add up to more than your total cost of attendance, your school may send you a refund of the leftover scholarship money. Keep in mind, you may have to pay taxes on that amount.What is the no essay college scholarship? ›
No-essay scholarships are any scholarships that don't require an essay to apply!Are all scholarships on niche legit? ›
Niche is 100 percent legit and people really do win each month. While you definitely should be on the lookout for scholarship fraud (better safe than sorry), rest assured that Niche scholarships are the real deal.
The $2,000 No Essay Scholarship is an easy scholarship with no essay required! The scholarship can be used to cover tuition, housing, books, or any education-related expenses.Is the Coca Cola Scholarship legit? ›
The Coca-Cola Scholarship is a legitimate scholarship. Since the organization behind it, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation (CCSF), was formed in 1986, the scholarship has granted over $72 million to thousands of students. Yearly, CCSF supports over 1,400 exceptional college students.Who is most likely to get a scholarship? ›
Over 33% of private scholarships are provided to STEM students. The chances of a white student getting a scholarship are 14.2%, while the odds for minority students are 11.2%. What is this? The odds of a Black student winning a scholarship is 11.4%, 9.1% for Hispanic students, and 10.5% for Asian students.How to find rare scholarships? ›
- Scholarship Owl.com.
- FinAid.org (affiliated with FastWeb)
- Scholarships. com.
- The US Department of Labor's Career OneStop site.
The main challenges of searching for scholarships are finding opportunities you are eligible for, as mentioned, and taking the time to search for scholarships. Though most students have a busy schedule, it can really pay off in the end if students can find the time to apply for a few scholarships.How to win online scholarships? ›
- Create an accomplishments resume. ...
- Don't miss deadlines. ...
- Complete the scholarship matching profile thoroughly. ...
- Apply to as many scholarships as possible. ...
- Look for scholarship listing books. ...
- Find local scholarships on bulletin boards. ...
- Tap into family connections.
This no-essay scholarship is awarded to students with the boldest profiles. Students must have earned 100+ Bold Points to be eligible. To us, boldest does not mean “best”, or “most accomplished”.Can you win multiple scholarships on bold org? ›
There is also no limit to how many scholarships you can win on Bold.org.What is the #1 way to increase your chances for a scholarship? ›
If you apply to more scholarships, you will increase your chances of winning a scholarship. Often students dislike smaller scholarships and essay competitions. But these scholarships are less competitive, so they are easier to win. Small scholarships do add up and may make it easier to win bigger awards.What is the easiest way to get a full scholarship? ›
- Start preparing early. ...
- Perform well academically. ...
- Take challenging classes. ...
- Excel in extracurricular activities. ...
- Apply for admission at multiple schools. ...
- Develop relationships with teachers and counselors. ...
- Submit a stellar application. ...
- Private scholarships.
Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.How do you impress scholarship judges? ›
- First Impression is KEY.
- Follow Directions.
- Essay Scholarships Must Address the Essay Topic.
- Showcase your uniqueness.
- Judges really like these qualities in applicants.
Down in the nitty gritty, judges will compare GPAs, test scores, experiences, essays, in order to see which candidate is most suited for their scholarship award. After this step, they'll pick their winner—or winners, depending—and send out notifications to the lucky and deserving student.How do you get rejected from scholarships? ›
In reality, scholarship rejection reasons can run the gamut, but they aren't a judgment of a student's worth or character. Instead, they typically involve other factors, such as another student having a greater need or sharing a unique experience that happened to resonate with that specific scholarship committee.Has anyone won a scholarship from scholarship Owl? ›
Sometimes it seemed like a waste of time, but in the end, it was definitely worth it. I did win a few. Thanks to scholarships that I found I have received $10,500 and I will finish my first year of college loan-free!What is an alternative to scholarship owl? ›
The best alternatives to ScholarshipOwl are Scholarly, RaiseMe, and RaiseMe for iOS. If these 3 options don't work for you, we've listed a few more alternatives below.Who are the competitors of scholarship Owl? ›
Alternatives and possible competitors to ScholarshipOwl may include Showbie , Alma , and Quonder .Can you live off of scholarships? ›
Just as you can use scholarships to pay for tuition, you can use scholarship money for living expenses as well. What some students may not realize is that room and board can oftentimes be just as expensive as tuition – if not more.Can I have multiple scholarships? ›
There is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for, and you actually should apply to many. Scholarship awards can vary greatly, so you might apply for a few scholarships with huge awards, and you might also apply for some that are only worth a few hundred dollars.What happens if you dropout of college with a Pell Grant? ›
If you drop out of school before the end of the program for which you were awarded the grant, you will have to pay back at least part of your Pell Grant. The government views this as unearned money since you didn't complete the program. Be prepared to pay back half of the "unearned" money.
Empowering U.S. Army Student Veterans
The Patriot Scholarship is offered exclusively to U.S. Army veterans, and is named after Raytheon Technology's Patriot Air and Missile Defense System.
Scholarship winner Madeline Judd hiking outside St. George, Utah. An aspiring physical therapist at Utah Tech and a civil engineering major at Western Kentucky University are winners of the U.S. Bank Student Scholarship program.How much money is the Dream US scholarship? ›
TheDream.US National Scholarship Program is for undocumented students who are eligible for in-state tuition at one of our National Partner Colleges. This scholarship is for up to $16,500 for an associate's or up to $33,000 for a bachelor's degree at one of our National Partner Colleges.What is the $2000 Nitro scholarship? ›
The Nitro No-Essay scholarship is open to anyone who is a student (aged 17 or older) currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. high school, college or university; a graduate of a U.S. undergraduate school who is currently paying back a student loan; a parent of any of the above enrolled students; or a parent of a recent ...Are full ride scholarships real? ›
Full ride scholarships cover the cost of tuition and more, removing the difficulty from paying for an education. These scholarships are available to all types of students, too, and there are plenty of full ride opportunities available.Is the niche 50000 scholarship real? ›
It isn't with Niche. We are giving one student $50,000 (our biggest scholarship yet) to help pay for tuition, living expenses, books, and other educational expenses. All high school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year.Is Going Merry scholarships legit? ›
Q: Is Going Merry legit? A: Yes, Going Merry is legit, and it is recommended by many student counselors.Is scholarship America safe? ›
Scholarship America has been highly rated by Charity Navigator for more than a decade. The Chronicle of Philanthropy recognizes Scholarship America as one of America's largest nonprofits as part of its Philanthropy 400.Is verified scholarships website legit? ›
Search our database of 3 MILLION VERIFIED SCHOLARSHIPS. Every scholarship has been certified as a REAL SCHOLARSHIP. You won't waste your time with scams, fakes or shady programs.What financial information should a scholarship website never ask for? ›
Students should never give out personal details or banking information when applying for a scholarship. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
The short answer is that, yes, scholarships.com is legit. Better yet, Scholarships.com is one of the more useful scholarship websites. They place 5th in our rankings of the 15 best scholarship search engines.Should you pay for scholarship searches? ›
Do not pay for information, to apply for the scholarship, or to receive the scholarship. You should never have to give money to apply for or receive a scholarship. Always use reputable sources for your search. Many phony websites are set up to trick you into providing personal or financial information.Do scholarships verify GPA? ›
Many scholarships require a transcript to verify your GPA. What is a transcript? It's a complete record of all of your academic achievements. It lists every class you've taken, the grades you got and when.What can stop you from getting a scholarship? ›
- Paying for scholarship assistance. ...
- Failure to meet the application deadline. ...
- Failure to follow directions. ...
- Failure to send in a complete application. ...
- Failure to write legibly. ...
- Failure to proofread their application.
The main challenges of searching for scholarships are finding opportunities you are eligible for, as mentioned, and taking the time to search for scholarships. Though most students have a busy schedule, it can really pay off in the end if students can find the time to apply for a few scholarships.How do you find scholarships that almost nobody knows about? ›
Talk to your high school counselor. Use the Department of Labor's scholarship search tool to sort more than 8,000 opportunities for student aid. Inquire at the financial aid office at your college of choice. See if your employer or your parents' employers offer assistance.Should scholarships ask for your Social Security number? ›
In some instances, a scholarship provider may request a Form W-2 as proof of income if you are applying for a scholarship specifically for low-income students. If required, blacking out your SSN is recommended. Bottom line: Protect your SSN. There's no reason to provide it on a scholarship application.Is it safe to give scholarships your address? ›
The point: Be careful when entering into a scholarship drawing or offering any of your family's information such as: Name, Email Address, University Data, Majors, Minors, FAFSA IDs, Credit Card Information, or any other identifying specifics. If the application sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.Are scholarship emails real? ›
You always have to apply for scholarships in order to receive them. If you receive an e-mail that says you have won a scholarship from an organization that you have never heard of, let alone applied to, ignore it. Such e-mails could easily be an internet phishing scam or some other type of ruse.Is Nitro a real scholarship? ›
Nitro cares about providing you the resources needed to successfully navigate financing college. That's why we're offering you the opportunity to earn a $2,000 scholarship. We know that college is a big step forward in achieving your goals and we want to help you get there using all the tools Nitro has to offer.