Cappex was the website I always found myself using when searching and applying for scholarships, and this was due mainly to the site’s ease of use and the way that it looked. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a scholarship website in that it generates lists of scholarships based on information you choose to input. What made this my go-to site was the simple fact that I liked using it and that, when I first began searching for scholarships, I was also searching for and evaluating colleges. Cappex, though it is primarily a scholarship search engine, houses information on all U.S. colleges and universities, including where they rank in various categories like financial aid and housing compared to other schools. Other Cappex users can also leave reviews of colleges (and leaving reviews allows them to enter a scholarship given by Cappex), so if someone visits a college or even attends that school, you’ll be able to see what they have to say about it.
Both the college and scholarship search features are enhanced and really only made possible if you create an account with a profile that is as accurate as possible. The site will ask you to include information in your profile that is meant to help it “match” you to scholarships and schools. For example, when matching you to scholarships, your home town will be used to determine whether you’re eligible for scholarships that are only available to people in a certain location. Your profile will also help you narrow down your school search by using information about how far you want to be from home when you go to school, how much of your tuition you hope to have covered, what type of housing you’d prefer, and so on. Once you fill in your profile, you can use the site for both evaluating and comparing schools, and applying for the scholarships that “match” your profile.
I began using this site at the same time that I began using Cappex, and I quickly found that they are very similar. If you use either Cappex or Fastweb to search for scholarships, you probably won’t have any reason to look for scholarships on the other, as the results you’ll get from building a profile on one will be the same as the results you get from the other. I ended up not using Fastweb after I realized this because I’d have the exact same scholarship matches on both sites, and that was really the only use I had for Fastweb at the time. However, Fastweb does offer some resources for career planning as well as articles to help you learn about aspects of college or even professional life with which you might not be familiar. I’ve seen articles, for example, about making smart decisions when creating a monthly personal budget, how to finance your college education, and tips for interviews. So if your college search is over and you’re interested in learning more about where you’re headed, Fastweb is a great alternative to Cappex and will serve you even better.
3. College Board
Rather than building a profile, College Board asks you to fill out a fairly short questionnaire that will ask you much of the same information that Fastweb and Cappex ask to compile a list of scholarships for which users are eligible. College Board might be a good place to start if only because it’s the site you’ll be using to sign up, possibly practice for, and pretty much do anything related to the SAT. It’s a way to cut down on the number of sites with which you need to get acquainted, as you’ll be using it anyway, and it’s a pretty large database, offering over 2,000 award opportunities and giving away about $3 billion every year. If you’re thinking about signing up, you can always browse the scholarships alphabetically to get a feel for what the site will look like and the types of scholarships you might see, which isn’t as easy to do on other scholarship sites like Fastweb or Cappex.
Unigo, which merged with Scholarship Experts, is probably the easiest site to use when just taking a quick look at the scholarships or even types of scholarships available. They are broken down by category and the broken down even further from there. There are “merit-based scholarships,” for instance, which are further broken down into “leadership” and “first-generation” scholarships. The categories are easy to locate and browse through, so, just like with College Board, if you’re unsure if this site is for you, look through it first. It’s another site that will ask you to build a profile, though a less in-depth one than on Cappex, as it is only for Scholarships, and you’ll be matched to scholarships to save you time. I’ve never used this site to search for scholarships myself, as the two companies just recently merged and created the site, but it seems to be very easy to use.
I used this site heavily at first but then drifted away from it, as other sites seemed more worth using. It’s a site that could use an update because a lot of its pages are very text-heavy and filled with lists of information, but it’s still extremely useful despite being a little overwhelming. Just like Cappex, Scholarships.com matches you to both scholarships and schools. However, it doesn’t operate in quite the same way. The site offers a “college matchmaker” that asks several questions to understand the characteristics of a school you might be interested in attending. This isn’t as personalized or detailed as Cappex’s system, so I always preferred to use Cappex for this part of my search. The Scholarship matches are still useful though, and although the matching system is not as in-depth as any of the others I’ve mentioned so far, I did find some scholarships to apply to that were different than what I was able to find on other sites, so it’s worth taking a look at what’s available. Like with Unigo, you can browse through scholarships by category before creating an account to get a feel for what’s available.
6. Scholarship Points
This is the most unique scholarship site on this list, as it operates in a completely different way. Rather than matching you to scholarships or asking you to build a profile of any kind, the site is built around the idea of earning points. Rather than completing applications for scholarships, the points you earn on the site are used to enter drawings to become a scholarship winner. There are only a few scholarships offered each month, but you can enter using your points as many times as you’d like, increasing your chances of winning the more points you spend. It’s definitely a site for those of you who have hours to spend on the computer, but if you’re someone who needs to spend more time offline, then I wouldn’t suggest this site.
It’s pretty much luck-of-the-draw scholarships, but because there is a way to increase your chances, it can be almost like gambling. Instead of paying money to play, though, you’re paying with time. The site asks you to earn points by using other websites to complete surveys, play games, and even apply for scholarships, and you’re promised hundreds of points for each task you complete. You then spend your points on whatever scholarships you think you’d like to try to win, and the idea is that there is less competition for the lower amounts, so if you have fewer points, you should aim small. I only used it for about two weeks because in order to earn points, I’d often have to create accounts on several other sites that would then be sending me emails every day, and I eventually got fed up with the number of sites that had access to my information and deleted them all. Had I gone on for more than two weeks, though, I’m sure the email storm would have been so much worse. So if you’re thinking this site is for you, just be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
What scholarship search engines do you use, and what types of scholarships do you tend to pursue? What is some advice you might have for applying for scholarships?