UPDATE: Zinch has been acquired by Chegg. We have yet to evaluate Chegg. You can find their scholarship interface at http://www.chegg.com/scholarships
Zinch was started in 2007 by three college students from Utah who wanted to help other students become more to a school’s Admissions Department than the scores on their standardized tests. Their motto, “I am more than a test score,” reflects that conviction and certainly appeals to students of all ages and backgrounds. Zinch was acquired in 2011 by Chegg, a publicly traded online textbook rental company, which was launched in 2007 by two students in response to the cost of buying books through their university’s bookstore. We were pleased to discover that, under their “Chegg for Good” program, “Chegg Plants Trees”—with a pledge to plant one tree for every textbook rented, bought, or sold and a claim of over 5 million planted. (Chegg also has its own scholarship search feature—very similar in flavor and results to Zinch’s, with which it evidently shares log-in particulars.)
The Zinch site, in addition to a scholarship search engine, includes a college search feature and a college advice blog for high school students. The Quick Links at the bottom of the Home page has a link to “Scholarships,” but you will only get a preview of the scholarship listing and will have to sign up for an account to see application details.
Search for Scholarships:
- Click on the SIGN UP button.
- Enter your email address, set up a password, type in the Captcha code, and click on SIGN ME UP!
- Build your Student Profile by entering your academic interests, student status, basic info, and contact information. Click NEXT.
- Answer or skip whichever of the next five questions you choose about your ideal school choice.
- Click on the “Go to Profile” link to complete your profile OR
- Click on “See All Scholarships” under the Scholarship section (correct Match Settings if needed).
The “Match Settings” box easily allows you to edit your “Interests” and “College Location” which will provide you with a new and expanded list of matching scholarships. Click on “edit” next to “Interests” to add new categories, interests, majors, clubs, and activities. 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.
The scholarship list functions as a sidebar on the left-hand side of the page. It is defaulted to sort by deadline, but you can also sort your results by largest award or recent update. Below that is another feature called “Show Only,” which will only show scholarships for “My Likes,” “Can Apply Online,” and “No Essay Required.” Clicking on an entry will give you that scholarship’s details including award amount, deadline, eligibility requirements, application overview, scholarship description, and an application link to the sponsoring organization’s website. The series of buttons running along the top of the scholarship details allows you to LIKE, SHARE, REMOVE, indicate you’ve applied, or GO APPLY. If you click LIKE, Zinch will send you a deadline reminder email, which is a handy feature.
Our profile was matched with 117 scholarship results, 49 of which were actively billed as contests. Many others were essay writing “scholarships,” which are essentially writing contests as well. While there was a good return in the number of scholarships, the quality of those listings left something to be desired, like matching to our profile. The eligibility for many of the listings was that the student be in school and be a US citizen. Not much to distinguish you from any other student in this country who wants to apply (note the irony here).
Zinch didn’t strike us as a bad site, but there isn’t anything particularly new or exciting here. Creating the profile was kind of odd, and it felt like we were interrupted in the middle of the process, having to pointedly go back into our profile to fill in the rest of the details. The college search looked like it might be worthwhile, if that’s what you’re after. The scholarship search results, however, were mediocre and untargeted, although you may have better results if you spend the time filling in all the minutiae of your profile. All in all, we think there are better sites to spend time on first.
We give Zinch 2.5 out of 5: