My College Options is owned by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA), an information marketing company that provides (sells, one presumes) student data to organizations for product sales and recruitment purposes. The site itself is mostly geared toward researching majors, matching you with colleges, and helping you get in. There are sections on Advice (a informative-looking blog and a resource center for the college bound) and Tools (more advice than actual tools). There’s also a Search section with options to search for colleges, high school student preferences for colleges, and scholarships.
On the Scholarship Search page, you have options to search for scholarships by location, major, ethnicity, or religion. You’ll get a list of the scholarships for each of these parameters along with the award amount and application deadline, but to get any contact information, you’ll need to register with the site. This is also the case if you want to use the advanced search feature.
To create an account, you’ll need to supply your name, street and email addresses, gender, date of birth, and graduation year. The next page asks about school preferences, grade average, and career interests. We had two immediate results, both of them private “colleges” who will admit just about anyone who can pay. We did have a link to “my scholarship matches,” which consisted of a list of 20 scholarship listings that seemed to have been chosen at random and for the most part wasn’t consistent with any information that we supplied.
You’ll need to go back to the search menu to use the advanced search form feature. On our first few tries, we got zero results. Zero again after removing our major. We finally got 50 results when we also removed our ethnicity. That left our search parameters of gender, college grade level, and GPA, not a whole lot to base an “advanced” search on, and unsurprisingly, the range of results confirms this. The scholarships look like good ones, but if you do turn out to be eligible, so are a whole lot of other aspiring scholars.
We were given the opportunity to comment on this site’s “new” search feature, but the link just took us to a Google search page in a different browser.
We did go back and recheck the lists of scholarships by category once we had registered, and the contact information was now available, but the links were so general that we often had to search the sponsor sites for the scholarship application page. Not only that, the categories themselves are a little quirky. For instance, when we checked out the art scholarships, we got listings for students majoring in things like aviation and quality control.
We got the impression with My College Options that this organization wanted our information and then we were on our own. You’ll have to carefully screen your scholarship results to see if they really do match you, and you certainly can save those that do to your “Favorites.” But, to be honest, we didn’t think the information sharing was worth it—that information is obviously not being used to improve our search results. The scholarship search is clunky, untargeted, and the contact information and links aren’t as helpful as they could be. We think there are better sites to spend your time on.
Overall, we give My College Options 2.5 out of 5: