Niche (formerly College Prowler)
This website allows you to use it as a scholarship search engine or as a web portal. If you elect to create a student Profile, you can use the search engine feature. However, it has an easy-to-use web portal that does not require disclosing your personal information in order to be matched with scholarships. Let’s take a quick look at this feature.
Click on the “Find Scholarships” tab at the top of the page and then select “Scholarship Search” from the drop-down menu. We were immediately presented with 48 general scholarships with an award amount column. Clicking on a scholarship link expands the listing to indicate deadline, whether or not it’s renewable, the contact information for the sponsoring organization, and eligibility. The listing includes an APPLY button that takes you directly to the funding organization’s web page. Note that you may need to explore their website to locate the scholarship application. When you explore this general list, be sure to avoid the “AdChoices” listings and the “sponsored” results. These links will ask you to enter contests, complete a quiz, sign up for their service and provide detailed personal information. Some of them are links to other search engines (many of which we discuss in our book).
Take a look at the left sidebar titled “Scholarship Categories.” You will see links to “General,” “Career,” “Interest,” “Major,” “Military,” “Race,” “Religion,” “Sports,” and “State. These will filter your results by the category you select. When you select one of these links, you will be provided with numerous subcategories from which to choose. You might find this to be a quick way to discover new scholarships not listed at other search engine or web portal sites. Again, we suggest you avoid the “AdChoices” and “sponsored” links to save time.
To use their search engine, go back to the “Find Scholarships” tab at the top of the page and select “Scholarship Matcher” from the drop-down menu. We were presented with 11 scholarships but were told, “Registered users have more search criteria and unlimited results available to them.” Before registering, we decided to enter our GPA, high school graduation year, state of residence, interests/hobbies, and major located in the left sidebar. Then we clicked the GET MATCHES button. This yielded 10 results and a new button REGISTER FOR MORE MATCHES.
We clicked on this button to go register. The first step is to “start your free account” by providing your status and email and set up a user name and password. You will need to uncheck the box to opt-out from email offers and check the box to acknowledge that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions and are 13 years or older. Hit the SUBMIT button.
The next page includes an “About You” section (for your name, gender, race, birth date, and zip code). The “Academic Info” section asks for your intended major, intended degree type, current school, college graduation year, high school you attended, GPA, and your SAT/ACT scores. Enter your information and click the CONTINUE button. You must complete all of the fields (except your test scores) in order to continue creating your Profile.
The next page that pops up is “Schools Interested in You.” Unless you want to be contacted by these schools, skip this page. You may get a different message (as we did during our multiple review phase) that thanks you for registering and asks if you would like to take a survey. We suggest you uncheck the survey box and focus on searching for scholarships. Then, click the SAVE AND CONTINUE button or the link below that to “Go Straight to My Account.” Both take you to the same place with a series of tabs running below the College Prowler banner. You can review and research information on your school selection, your major or set preferences, and manage your Profile. We went straight to the “My Scholarships” tab and had a dismal 25 results (including those we got just by conducting a scholarship search instead of building a Profile). Again, we caution you against clicking on the “AdChoices.” This list gives you scholarship links, deadline, and award amount along with the ability to indicate if you’ve applied or to remove the listing. If you click on a scholarship name, you’ll be provided with additional information including eligibility requirements and an APPLY button.