Paying for college/University can be a daunting and downright scary task and without sponsorship from your parents and guardians that dream may just seem like a fool’s musings.
The additional challenge and possibility of falling prey to internet scholarship fraudsters will make you feel that treading the scholarship path i.e. trying to obtain funds for college from a body or organization is not a worthwhile venture as scammers have been known to wreck untold emotional and financial havoc on unsuspecting students.
While this is true, you can’t just sit on the sidelines and expect a miracle to happen- of course you know that’s unethical!. So to your fragile heart I say fret not! For there are lots of free money for college up for grabs and information about this free money can be found on legit and trusted websites that I promised to share with you in a previous article. In fact, Debt.org reveals there’s almost $50 billion worth awarded in grants and scholarships each year.
With that kind of money available, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t get a piece of the pie for your college education. Typically, scholarships are merit-based, meaning you earn them based on your performance in one or several areas (like academics, athletics, civic responsibilities, extracurricular activities and more). And the best part about scholarships? You don’t have to pay them back. They are often referred to as “gift aid” because that’s exactly what they are–gifts.
Why Should I tread the Online/Website Path in Looking for Scholarships?
There is totally nothing wrong in asking a family member, friend, a beneficiary of a scholarship award, your academic advisor, lecturers or even the financial aid office in your school of relevant scholarship information but you will agree with me that the internet has made things easier with regards to information. Online scholarship search engines and scholarship information websites make it easy for students to quickly find and apply for scholarships.
I’m sure you are surely asking this: there are lots of scammers on the internet, how do l know the legit guys? Just go through my previous post on how to identify and avoid fraudulent scholarships and you will be fine. So though there are lots of criminal masterminds roaming the web looking to prey on your desperation for college money, there are certainly many reputable scholarship websites out there that gives out this precious information to you at no cost i.e they are totally free.
How Does These Scholarship Websites Work?
Alot of the best scholarship websites that are discussed below has related setup or layout to create an account for free in other to search and apply for scholarships. (With the exception of Scholly which requires a paid monthly subscription and is totally legit).
List and details of Genuine and the Best scholarship websites
To help you in your search to help pay for your college education, take a look at the list below of the best scholarship websites. They are listed in random order, not ranked in any way. Just a few minutes browsing the web could turn into a very practical way to pay for your schooling.
1. Going merry.com
Going Merry began in 2016 as a solution to make the process of finding scholarships simpler for students. While in graduate school searching for scholarships, Charlie Maynard and Ray Murthi found other websites frustrating to navigate. They had to sift through lots of listed scholarships that no longer existed, and when they went to apply, they would get redirected to sketchy scholarship provider websites.
Charlie and Ray wanted one of the best scholarship websites that would make both finding and applying for scholarships a bit easier. So they built the Going Merry scholarship finder, with the goal of saving students time and helping them win more scholarships.
Key features to note:
- No advertisements
- Free and fast to sign up
- Personalized list of “matched scholarships” i.e ones you are eligible for based on your profile.
- Less redirects – Students can apply for thousands of scholarships without leaving the site.
- Auto-filled forms – Students enter their information once, and then Going Merry fills in application forms using profile information
- Bundled scholarships – Going Merry has bundled scholarships with similar essays, so you can apply for multiple scholarships simultaneously with one application.
- Estimated completion time – So you know what you’re getting into with each application!
- Favorite or ignore – Favorite scholarships you like to keep them on a shortlist. Ignore scholarships you don’t like, and they’ll disappear from your list. This helps keep you organized.
- Save (and request) documents, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, SAT scores, and essays — for easy one-click attachments to your scholarship applications.
- Track application status, after it’s been submitted.
FinAid.org is one of the most well-known online resources for finding out more information on college scholarships and financial aid you are qualified to receive based on your income, age as well as your previous schooling and education you have completed.
Although there is currently not a live search to find various scholarships that you are qualified for or that you may be interested in pursuing yourself, it is possible to seek out additional information regarding the authenticity of scholarships being offered and how to determine whether an opportunity is credible and legitimate before applying and submitting your own personal information. Learning more about various potential scholarship scams as well as the tax liabilities you may face with different scholarships available today is also possible with the use of this website.
FinAid.com is also a great resource to find more information about saving with prepaid college tuition plans as well as various savings accounts and plans available from loan companies and scholarship programs for students today. You are being educated on the entire process of applying for and getting approved of financial aid is also possible when browsing FinAid.com, providing all of the free resources necessary for you to ensure you are following all of the right steps and procedures to get the financial aid for the education you desire. You can also learn more about military aid and benefits with the use of FinAid.com
Scholarships.com has a simple mission: ‘you find money and colleges find you.’ Their number one goal is to match you to awards that will help pay for your college. Scholarships.com was originally founded in 1999, and now boasts more than 2.7 million scholarships with a total value of more than $19 billion in value since its launch within its record database.
Using Scholarships.com is simple and free and only requires a few minutes to get started. All you have to do is create a profile, fill in some details, and get searching! You can even let the website do the work, and get matched with eligible scholarships through the information in your profile. This option can help you save hours and hours of online searching or if browsing is your thing, you can utilize that feature too and look for scholarships that fit what you need. You can find scholarship options in a wide variety of categories including academic majors, athletics, art, ethnicity, first in family, GPA, minority, music, state, name, or type.
The site also provides many resources for students on how to write a standout college scholarship essay to college application checklists and timelines. While you’re on their site looking at scholarships, you can also take a look at their college search tool, which offers a variety of information about colleges like tuition, enrollment programs/majors, admission requirements and many more!.
You might recognize the scholarship finder website MyScholly from being featured on Shark Tank after landing a deal with Sharks Daymond John and Lori Greiner. MyScholly CEO Christopher Gray won $1.3 million in scholarships and created MyScholly to help students like him find little-known scholarships to help fund their education. This website provides accurate information about popular as well as the not so popular scholarships.
What this means for the later category is that you get to have information on less known scholarships which are usually less competitive and you stand more chances of being selected once you meet the requirements of the school or organization offering the scholarship. Unlike other websites you have to pay a little token to have full access to the information posted. It costs $2.99/month or $44.99/year.
Key features to note:
- Free 3-day trial
- Access to winning scholarship essays and scholarship list
- Exclusive, brand-backed scholarships, such as the “Grown-Ish Student Loan Pay-Off”
- Scholly Editor – you can copy and paste your scholarship essays and school assignments into a text box for an artificial intelligence writing assistant to review your document. The system will suggest revisions based on grammar, structure, punctuation, etc., and you can download the revised version
- Another resource, Scholly Math, helps solve math problems for school assignments
- iOS and Android apps are available
Fastweb.com boasts itself as the ‘leading online resource in finding scholarships to help you pay for school.’ Not only do they help you find money for college, they make it easy to do. FastWeb was originally founded and launched more than 15 years ago, and currently boasts more than 1.5 million scholarships and $3.4 billion in their database altogether over the years of providing scholarships to students. FastWeb is one of the best online scholarship tools and services to use when browsing for and applying for any scholarships you have in mind for and kind of future you desire for yourself after graduation.
Using FastWeb is possible daily, as their databases are updated at least every 24 hours, making them the most updated scholarship search engine available to use to date and also setting them apart from all competitors who are currently on the market today. Once you register for an account with FastWeb.com with your own email address, you will then receive notifications of new scholarships that have been discovered by FastWeb.com daily that also meet your educational goals and criteria when seeking scholarships to apply for.
The website doesn’t stop there, though. You can find information on student loans–which are different than scholarships. Scholarships are ‘free money’ you don’t have to pay back, while you must pay back student loans, most times with interest. In addition, you’ll even get an extremely well-rounded plethora of information in other related areas like available internships and part-time jobs.
Another reason to use FastWeb is that it is entirely free to use and to register to become a member, regardless of the type of scholarships you are interested in for yourself. FastWeb also features the ability to browse through scholarships based on amount, deadline, the various types available and what they require you to submit in order to enter or qualify for the scholarship. FastWeb also states they will never sell or distribute your personal and private information to any company or another third-party without your permission and prior notification.
The College Board has been committed to higher education for over a century. Founded at the turn of the 20th century, making it one of the oldest educational-based organizations still in existence and thriving today, the College Board website houses a membership association of over 6,000 schools. You might recognize the name College Board if you took a college-entrance standardized test like the SAT. And yes–it’s the same entity.
They not only own the SAT but also are in charge of ACT and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which allow high school students to take college courses while they are still in high school. But I’m sure you did not know that their reach goes beyond testing. That’s right– their does go beyond testing as you can search for college scholarships on their website too. Register for the SAT, take a practice test, and find money for college all in the same place. Search from over $6 billion worth of scholarships, and find what’s right for you!.
Niche.com was founded in 2002, originally operating as a publisher of printed U.S. college guidebooks known as College Prowler. The website now operates as a resource with information on colleges, neighborhoods, cities, and companies around the U.S. Niche.com provides information on several topics, from places to live to K-12 schools to scholarships. You’ll even find college rankings and college search capabilities.
This website combines personal reviews and real experience with scientific data, research, and analysis to create in-depth profiles and rankings to help you find jobs, schools, and places to live. Even though it might have a little extra information, you can still find what you need with regards to financial aid for college!
There are two ways to utilize this website for finding the money for college: (1) browse their scholarship categories or (2) set up a profile and get matched with potential scholarship opportunities. Choose one, or the other, or both! Categories include filters by state, major, niche-specific scholarships, minority scholarships, or easy-to-apply scholarships. Other categories include options for religion, sexual orientation, military service, disabilities, gender, and more.
CollegeNet.com is a service that works to develop applications and web-based events. Based in Portland, Oregon, CollegeNet is a technology company that was the first to automate classroom scheduling for higher education. The company has since expanded to include online admission software, career services, recruitment, and management tools. College Net has a long list of prestigious clients like Stanford and Princeton Universities. In addition to the tech services it provides, this website has an entire search for students who are interested in seeking out updates and newly-promoted scholarships. The database is updated monthly at CollegeNet.com, giving students new scholarships to review and to vote on once becoming a member of the site themselves.
The site itself also allows users who are involved in the community to vote on scholarships they want to have featured or promoted to go live. Scholarships that receive the most votes are brought to fruition for the users of CollegeNet.com. In addition to providing an array of various scholarships to browse through and choose from, CollegeNet.com also has a live forum for students from all across the country to join in on and participate in daily. Each week, the community online invites members to join in on various discussions, requests, comments and opinions.
The student who earns the most vote within a week’s worth of time is awarded anywhere from $3000 to $5000 in scholarship money for the type of education of their choice, making the company a major contributor of scholarship monies, awarding over $2 million to students.
Cappex was founded in 2006 as a tool to provide guidance, helpful tools, and information for every student. The name Cappex comes from the phrase “College Application Exchange.” The website has helped more than 12 million students to date. At Cappex, you’ll have access to scholarships worth $11 billion.
Their scholarship search tool allows you to filter options to find the best fit for you! The website goes beyond just finding the money for college, though as it is a website that is a hub for all things related to college, or as they call it, “your entire college search in one place. With the most current and complete college profiles in the business, Cappex uses advanced algorithms to match you with your best options.
They will also get you connected to colleges directly. Utilize advanced tools like:
- a Fit Score: a tool that helps you find colleges that match what you are looking for
- a calculating tool: an online tool that helps you calculate your chances of getting admitted into any school
- a major or career finder: a tool that helps you find the right major and career options.
SallieMae considers themselves a ‘bank with a purpose’ whose goal is to help families plan/save for and pay for college. SallieMae has shared more than $18 billion worth in scholarships with millions of students since it began providing resources and opportunities to online users and students. Using the Scholarship Search by SallieMae is possible by first registering to make an official account of your own on the site itself. Once you have verified your account with an email verification link sent to your inbox directly, you can then log in to begin browsing for scholarships that are right for you and the future plans you have for your education.
Once you join to become a member of the SallieMae website, you will immediately gain access to the actual scholarship searching tool as well as the college-planning calculator tool and letter analyzer for any type of letters you plan to send off to colleges and universities you are interested in attending. Additionally, Not only can you find applicable scholarships through their website, but can as well apply for one of their own scholarships. In 2018, Sallie Mae awarded $500,000 in monies through scholarships, contests, and sweepstakes.
All the information and resources you need to help fund your college education are now at the click of a button and the swipe of your screen! These best scholarship websites will direct you to college-specific, program-specific, usual, and personal scholarships. Don’t be discouraged from applying because you think the pool is too large i.e there’s a lot of competition. In fact it should be your major reason for applying for these scholarships. There is so much money to give away–why not to you?. Success!!! in your applications.