Our Top 10 Favorite Scholarship Search Sites

Top 10 ListOver the last several years, we’ve checked out nearly 100 scholarship search sites and apps.

Along the way was born our mortarboard rating system as a quick summation of the site’s overall value in your scholarship search. Taken into consideration in our rating system was information such as transparency of ownership and what the owner seemed to hope to achieve, the quality of the scholarship information shared—whether scholarship “fillers” and contests or solid leads for scholarship seekers, additional valuable information to help students through the scholarship hunting and application process, and use of tactics such as bait and switch or lures to get your information to sell.

Our Top 10 Sites for Scholarship Hunters Are:

LGBT Student Scholarship Database—There isn’t anything fancy here, just lists of quality scholarships aimed at students participating in the LGBTQ community. You can check them out here or read our review here.

CollegeNET/Mach 25—We were impressed with the fact that there is no requirement to share personal information, the ease of use of the Mach 25 search engine, the multiple ways to search for scholarships, the keyword search’s gender-specific returns, and the sheer number of scholarship returns to choose from. Their search engine is here or you can read our review here.

SchoolSoup—This site seems to come through where it counts: helping you find high-quality scholarships. Although the rest of the site leaves a bit to be desired, the scholarship search engine/database is one of the best we’ve seen. You can find it here or read our blog post review.

CollegeScholarships.org—This site is definitely worth your time to explore. It’s attractive and easy to navigate. There are no distracting ads and no requirement to give any personal data (unless you apply for CollegeScholarship.org’s scholarships). There’s lots of valuable information here as well as scholarship links that you won’t see elsewhere. You can read our full review here.

Career One Stop/Career InfoNet—The site has a high trustworthiness quotient, and it has other interesting stuff on it. And most importantly, the scholarship results themselves look really good—no contests, no challenges, no “scholarship” giveaways. If the only problem with a search engine is that you get too many meaty results, then we say bring it on! Visit them here or check out our full review.

College Board/Big Future—This site also gives you lots of information. That and the variety of ways to search, the choice of whether or not to share information, and the ease of use make this a great site to spend some time on. And while you’re there, you can sign up for your SAT! Check our College Board and Big Future or read our full review here.

CollegeData—The CollegeData site is worth your time and effort. The fact that you don’t need to create a profile unless you want to save your search results, the large number of scholarship returns, and the well-targeted search results are all big pluses. There’s a good chance you’ll find something worthwhile here or check out our full review.

FinAid—This site is well worth spending time exploring, although we think that its value as a web portal for college and scholarship information far outweighs its usefulness as a search engine. Visit FinAid or read our review.

Peterson’s—Peterson’s gives you a huge return of scholarships for the relatively painless sign-up process, has some helpful information for the application process, and includes other worthwhile features. We think that overall, the site has enough benefits to make it visit worthy. You can visit them here or check out our complete site review.

Scholarship Mentor—We liked this site. It has its limitations, certainly, and parts of it aren’t current. But most of the links still work or at least take you to the site where you can explore further. Do be sure to check the deadline dates on the sponsor site for the most current information. You won’t get made-to-order results from this site, but the information looks genuine and meaty, and we think Scholarship Mentor is worth the visit. Read our full review here.

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What are YOUR favorite scholarship search sites?

Check Out Peterson’s for Scholarship Gold

PetersonsPeterson’s: Big Returns for Scholarship Hunters

http://www.petersons.com

Peterson’s is owned and operated by Nelnet, a company that manages student education loans through its more than 50 North American subsidiaries. They are estimated to currently hold over $25 billion in student loans. Nelnet has a less than stellar reputation, including, among other things, alleged misuse of federal student loan programs and deceptive lending practices.

The Peterson’s site offers information for undergraduates, graduate school, continuing education, and international students wishing to study in the United States. The site also provides information about various colleges and graduate schools, test preparations, completing the FAFSA, and finding financial aid. There’s a scholarship search feature here too.

To search for scholarships, click on Scholarship Search under College Bound. You’ll have a choice of searching by keyword or by choosing filtering categories. We got 194 scholarship listings when we used “women” for our keyword. Although we were familiar with some of the results, others we hadn’t seen before and looked pretty good. Answering the four category questions gave us 2,247 listings! You can further focus your search by adding information in the 15 additional filtering categories in the right-hand column of the search results page. To save any scholarship information or see the contact and application information, however, you will need to sign up for a student account by providing your name, email and home addresses, and phone number. Then you’ll have to go back and search again. This time we got 2,228 results by answering the four category questions and 194 for our keyword search, all looking pretty much like the above results without the profile. We’re not really sure if the profile helped target the results or not, but you sure do get a lot of them.

An interesting bit of information that this site gives you is how many applications the sponsor received for each scholarship and how many were awarded, giving you some idea of what the competition for a given scholarship will be like.

You may not like the owner of the site, but Peterson’s gives you a huge return of scholarships for the relatively painless sign-up process, has some helpful information for the application process, and includes other worthwhile features. We think that overall, the site has enough benefits to make it visit worthy. Check out their College Scholarship Article page for some how-to advice for the college bound.

Related Links:

BBB Business Review

Nelnet on Wikipedia

Overall, we give Petersons 4 out of 5:

4 Mortar Board Rating

CollegeData Scholarship Site Review

Scholarship Site Review: CollegeDataWe Took CollegeData for a Test Drive and Here’s What We Found…

http://www.collegedata.com

The CollegeData site is owned by First Financial Bank USA, whose primary audience is college students and graduates vis-a-vis banking services and college funding. There isn’t much else on the site about the owners and their connection to education except a statement that 1FBUSA aims to help students learn to use credit wisely—along with two links to apply for a student credit card.

The site includes a scholarship search engine as well as some features not seen elsewhere. There’s a college match tool, several cost calculators, a College Chances calculator (you’ll have to register and log in to use this one), an Admissions Tracker, and general information about college.

To search for scholarships, click on the Pay Your Way tab at the top of the page, choose Scholarship Finder Search from the drop-down menu, and input your information to create a set of search parameters. In a basic search using GPA and gender, we received 208 scholarship returns. Unlike most scholarship searches using gender as a parameter, this search actually returned gender-specific results. Each scholarship title is a hyperlink, taking you to a detailed page with the scholarship requirements, application deadline, and contact information. You can go back and revise your personal information, adding new keywords or hobbies, and re-run the search to get more targeted scholarship results. We went back and filled in more parameters for our search and got 105 results. These were well-targeted results and seemed to be organized by how well they matched our search parameters, so you will likely find your best matches early on in your list.

This site does allow you to save your search information to a Data Locker. To do this, you’ll need to create an account and login by entering your email address, name, date of birth, and ZIP code. Street address and telephone number fields are on the form but aren’t required.

The CollegeData site is worth your time and effort. The fact that you don’t need to create a profile unless you want to save your search results, the large number of scholarship returns, and the well-targeted search results are all big pluses. There’s a good chance you’ll find something worthwhile here.

Note: This site uses the Peterson’s Private Financial Aid database. You may see some crossover in the results of your scholarship search between this site and Peterson’s.

We gave CollegeData 4 out of 5:

4 Mortar Board Rating

Peterson’s Database/Cappex Site Review

cappex-logoPeterson’s Award Database/Cappex Search Engine

http://www.petersons.com or http://www.cappex.com

Peterson’s offers information for Undergraduates, Graduate school, continuing education, and international students. They provide information about various colleges and graduate schools, test preparations, completing the FAFSA, and finding financial aid. Note: Peterson’s is owned by Nelnet, a company that currently manages student loans.

Since they use Cappex for their scholarship search engine, we recommend that you avoid the advertising offers and go directly to Cappex.com to conduct your search.

At the Cappex website, you will need to create a Profile or sign up with Facebook. We suggest you complete a Profile and leave your social media accounts separate from your scholarship research efforts. So, go ahead and click on the START NOW button. You’ll be asked for your name, email address, and to set up a password. Once done, you’ll be moved through a series of pages asking you questions to tailor scholarship matches to your specific Profile. The first page, “The Basics,” requests your contact information and parent’s email address. You only need to complete those items with a red asterisk (*)—your name, mailing address, birth date, and high school graduation date. We suggest that you not give out your phone number or your parent’s email address unless you want to have telemarketers call and email. Listing your gender, ethnic background, citizenship, and intended major will increase the number of matching scholarships, so be sure to complete these fields. It’s up to you to answer the rest of the questions. We’re not sure what value there is in Cappex collecting data on whether you were home schooled, what high school you attend(ed), or who your guidance counselor is. If you answer “yes” to the last 3 questions, be prepared to get unsolicited email from a variety of third-party affiliates. Click the SAVE & CONTINUE button.

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