You can begin to work with this scholarship search engine by clicking on the “Directory” tab at the far right. You’ll see a drop-down menu with scholarship categories such as scholarships by state, city, college, disability, sports, special circumstances, military, year of study, corporate, race/minority, ethnicity, academic major, women, activities, clubs, and religion. This is a quick way to cut right to scholarships you’re interested in without having to complete a Profile or register (or so we thought). We chose “Scholarships for Women” and were presented with basic information and a list of scholarships with links. When we selected a scholarship link, a pop-up window opened telling us to register. The details of the scholarship are in “preview mode” which means there are no links to the actual scholarship or the sponsoring organization’s website. Back to the drawing board…
Begin your registration process by clicking on the “Scholarships” tab (just above the “Directory” tab). This takes you to the “Scholarships–Sign Up” page where you’ll enter your email address, set up a password, and provide your name, address, and phone number (all required). Keep in mind that by providing this information, you will likely receive unsolicited emails and telephone calls. However, their Terms of Service state that you must use your actual data and keep it up to date in order to use their service. Below the fields for your personal data is a box that is automatically checked. Uncheck this box if you do not want to be contacted by SchoolSoup’s partners and affiliates. Make sure the second box is also unchecked or you will be consenting to be called by an “advisor” to “discuss educational opportunities.” Click CONTINUE.
There are four steps to complete before being matched with scholarships. The first one is to register. Once you click the CONTINUE button, you’ll be asked to enter personal information such as gender, birth date, zip code, US residency, careers of interest, qualification for “need based” scholarships (low-income), current GPA, high school graduation year, plans for enrollment, highest education level completed, and current year in school. You’ll also be asked to select a state where you would like to go to college and then select from a drop-down menu the colleges in that state. If you’re unsure which state, you can always go back and revise this field. Click CONTINUE–STEP 3.
The next page that pops up is one big ad called a “Special Offer.” Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the very small NO THANK YOU >> button (just below the large orange YES PLEASE button. Always look for a way to opt-out of ads, contests, sweepstakes, or “scholarship points” offers. We suggest you stay focused on researching scholarships and not get sidetracked by these offers.
Step 3 begins by asking you about your household circumstances. For example, are you a non-traditional student, do you live in a single-parent home, are you a teenage parent, an orphan, a foster child, are one or more of your parents deceased. Believe it or not, these are important questions, and if you answer “yes,” you may be qualified for a scholarship based on that circumstance. Next, the page asks you for your ACT and SAT scores. You can leave these blank if you haven’t taken the test because you can go back and enter your scores once you’ve taken or retaken the exam. Merit scholarships will often factor in your standardized test scores when awarding a scholarship. You will also be asked to select all the disabilities that apply to you, all your nationalities or descents, areas outside of the US where you’d like to study, and your intended major. The Disabilities list includes those that are applicable to your parents and includes “homeless” as a disability (which we agree with and are happy to see listed here). Select all the nationalities that describe you because there are organizations that support scholarships for students who are of Swedish descent (for example). The Intended Major lists a wide range of majors, so be sure to select any of interest. Click CONTINUE–STEP 4.
Step 4 asks you to complete answers about your religion, military service, organizations you are affiliated with, activities you like to participate in, and your parents’ organizations and military service. We’re not impressed with the options under “Religion” as it does not include “none” or “other” as possible choices and it’s set to default to the first religion. There is also a place to locate your parents’ employers, should you be lucky enough to have a parent working at a company that offers scholarships for its employees’ children. We recommend that you spend time scrolling through these extensive lists, selecting as many possibilities that apply to you, and filling this page out completely. It will increase the number of matching scholarships. Click the VIEW MATCHED SCHOLARSHIPS button.
SchoolSoup returned 482 matching scholarships and that’s a lot of possibilities that need to be tracked down and explored. This will take some time! Each scholarship has a link, a status (unread/read), award amount, deadline date, and college. We suggest you avoid anything called a “contest,” “sweepstakes,” “internship,” or “fellowship.” The scholarship list does not appear to be organized alphabetically or by deadline date. Clicking on the scholarship link will take you to a “Scholarship Details” page where you will learn about eligibility requirements, documentation, contact information, and a link to the funding organization’s website where you will find the actual application. You can choose to “Save this Scholarship” by clicking on the link in the upper right corner or you can print out this page and save it for later. We recommend saving the scholarship, as it will provide you with the critical application link.
When you’re looking at “My Matching Scholarships,” check out the “My SchoolSoup” box in the upper right corner. These are quick links enabling you to view your scholarships, go to your Account Settings to manage your email and password, Edit My Profile to change any answers you previously supplied or update your test scores, GPA, etc. This is helpful if you want to go back, tweak your Profile, and re-run your matching process. There’s also a link to Delete My Account should you wish.
Overall, we felt this site provided excellent search results and an easy process to build your individual Profile. It’s well worth the time to explore.