Students often wonder how to begin their search for quality scholarships. Without a clear guide, it is easy to waste precious time looking for and even applying to scholarships that are not a good match for the candidate’s background. This is where the guide of a search engine becomes helpful.
The first step is determining which search engine you want to use. Fastweb.com, Scholarships.com, and collegescholarships.org are among the most popular search engines. However, there are other scholarship search engines available. You may want to explore their websites to determine which one you feel the most comfortable using. Alternatively, you could decide to use more than one to maximize your chances of finding funding.
Once you have decided on which search engine you like the best, the next step is to create an account. All of the major search engines offer free accounts. You should be cautious of using any search engine that requires you to pay a fee. When you complete your profile, be sure to include as much information as possible. This will help the search engine narrow down the scholarships. For example, if you have less than a 3.2 grade point average, you will want to enter that into your profile. The search will then exclude any scholarships that require a 3.3 or high grade point average.
Another reason you want your profile to be comprehensive is so that the search will include suitable scholarships. For example, a number of scholarships exist for student athletes. Thus, if you play a sport, you will want to add that to your profile. There are scholarships specifically for students with disabilities, so if you have one, be sure to include that in your profile so that those opportunities show up. Some opportunities are only open to students majoring in certain fields (i.e., science, education, etc.). Thus, if you know what your major will be you should also include that information in your profile. The more information you include, the better the search engine can match opportunities.
After creating the profile, you will receive a list of targeted scholarships that offer the best match based on your unique skills, interests, and strengths. You will want to spend some time exploring these opportunities and deciding which scholarships you want to apply for. Be sure to read each for additional information about eligibility criteria and application deadline information. Anytime a new scholarship is added, students will receive an e-mail prompting them to log-in to their account.
In addition to matching students with scholarships, some search engines offer additional tools. For example, Fastweb offers students resources to help them understand financial aid awards. For students who are unsure of what college they want to attend, there is a college search option that will help match students with schools depending on their finances and specific major interests. Students can even get career advice through this search engine. Thus, scholarship search engines help students organize their scholarship search.