Zinch was started by three college students from Utah. Their motto: “I am more than a test score,” certainly appeals to students of all ages and backgrounds.
Now you’re brought to a single page to build your Profile. You’ll be asked to check off your “Interests” (intended Major and you must check at least 2), and provide “Basic Info” including your name, gender, birth date, and upload a profile image (optional). In the “Academics” section, you’ll list your current standing, high school graduation year, GPA, the name of your high school, and what colleges you’re considering. The second you choose a college, a pop-up window appears asking you when you intend to start at that college. If you just close this window, your college choice is automatically deleted from the list. If you select a start date and hit SUBMIT, the college stays on your list and you can, in all likelihood, expect an email from that college. For some people this may be good, for others, merely an inconvenient email. You can choose to just leave the “What colleges are you considering?” question blank. Below that is a list of states you can choose as potential places where you’d like to study. Again, you can leave this blank. The next section is “Freebies,” and we recommend you leave the “Yes, Please connect me” boxes blank. Lastly, is the “Contact” section that asks for your mailing address, phone number, and permission to contact you via texting. If you’re curious, you can click on the links next to your address and phone number to find out “What’s this for?” and how Zinch will handle your data. When you’re finished, click the CREATE PROFILE button.
The next page that appears tells us “These schools want to meet you!” and lists every college in our state and a few from the UK. Hover your mouse over the “Read More” and bubble text appears, giving you more information about that school. You must check a box next to at least one school or opt out. We chose to click the small “No Thanks” link next to the FINISH button.
This brought us to a page called “My College List” which is clearly in beta testing. We chose not to explore colleges but you might be at that stage of your college process where “Suggested Colleges” will help you build a list of potential colleges to attend. We then clicked the “Scholarships” tab at the very top of the page.
The “Scholarships” page appeared and returned 196 results based on our short Profile. This search engine required 10 minutes to create our Profile in order to match us with scholarships. Overall, a very small amount of time was spent but it yielded an excellent return on our investment. The list of scholarships (shown in the sidebar on the left) is defaulted to be sorted by deadline. This is immediately a time saver—why scroll through pages of scholarships one by one only to learn you’ve missed the deadline? However, Zinch also allows you to sort your results by largest award or recent update. We suggest staying with the deadline sort. Below that is another feature called “Show Only” which will only show scholarships for “My Likes,” “Can Apply Online,” and “No Essay Required.” This flexibility helps you weed out scholarships that don’t work for YOU.
Clicking on the scholarship name will place the details of that scholarship in the center column. You’ll see the eligibility requirements, deadline, application overview, purpose, and sponsoring organization. The series of buttons running along the top of the scholarship details, allow you to LIKE, SHARE, REMOVE, indicate you’ve applied, or GO APPLY. If you click LIKE, Zinch will send you a deadline reminder email.
Clicking the GO APPLY button will bring you to the scholarship page of the sponsoring organization where we found dozens of more scholarships offered through that organization.
Did you notice the “Double Your Money” box above your “Match Settings”? Hover over the “?” in that box to learn how you can have Zinch’s Chegg for Good give you up to $1,000 if you win a scholarship through Zinch.
The “Match Settings” box easily allows you to edit your “Interests” and “College Location” which will quickly and easily provide you with a new and expanded list of matching scholarships. Click on “edit” next to “Interests” to add new categories, interests, and majors, clubs, and activities. Click the FINISH button when you’re done editing. The more information you provide here, you’ll have more matching scholarship returns. You can add new college locations/states by clicking on the “edit” link next to “College Location.” You can also click on “Show More Filters” to add information about your citizenship, ethnicity, fluent languages, heritage, military affiliation, religion, additional qualifications, sexual orientation, and disabilities. Remember, the more information you provide in these categories the better your results. Tweaking these categories yielded us an additional dozen scholarships.
Finally, check out the upper right corner of this page. Underneath your name is a link to “Edit Profile.” Clicking on this link allows you to expand your Profile to include even more information that may boost your scholarship matches. We recommend you spend time completing the “Basic Information” and “Private Information” categories and click SAVE. Your Zinch Profile may remind you of your social media pages and there is a similarity here. You can upload a photo, create a one-line bio, write an “about me” statement, and then share your Profile with friends. You can follow other Zinch members and be followed in return. We encourage you to explore all the tabs at the top of your Profile and complete sections for “College Interests,” “Experience” (extracurricular activities, honors, awards, and work activities), and “Education” (test scores, GPA). Be sure to click the SAVE button after each section.
Next to your “Profile” tab are three other tabs you might be interested in. “Media” is a place for you to share photos, videos, articles, and audio files. The “Preferences” tab allows you to describe the kinds of educational and work opportunities you wish to receive notifications. The “Settings” tab allows you to manage your password, contact information, or delete your account. The final step is to click on the “View My Profile” link underneath your name. This permits you to see your public Profile—information that can be viewed by anyone. It also provides you with another opportunity to edit each section and ask for recommendations.
Sources of Money 5: Zinch, A Fun, Wacky Source of Scholarships and More