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How to Determine the Best Scholarship Search Engines to Use

Are you struggling to determine which scholarship search engine you and your family should use?

It’s a common concern because of the overwhelming amount of easy-to-find scholarship information online. Sites often quote each other, regurgitate government information, or provide short articles that don’t tell you how to do much of anything.

Don’t Visit Another Scholarship Site Until You Read This

A quick Google search results in plenty to keep us busy over the next lifetime, so we sign up for search engines to make the process faster, easier, and less stressful. In fact, using a search engine is one of the critical factors that can impact your scholarship search and application process.

Fastweb. Cappex. Unigo. You name it. There are several notable scholarship search engines available, but what are you getting when you sign up? Which one is the best for your family? These questions and more emphasize legitimate concerns that we’ll tackle here.

Here’s how I determine which scholarship search engine is appropriate for students.

Scholarship Search Engine Basics to Remember Before Registering

What types of scholarship information do I need in order to be successful in the application process?

If you or your student are short on time, you’re going to be interested in application length. If you’re wondering about the level of competition, you’re going to be interested in the number of students going after the same scholarships.

Scholarship search engines focus on different components of scholarship applications. Some information may be helpful, some may not.

Examine the types of information these search engines provide as well as the tips and advice they give students. There’s nothing wrong with getting tips and advice on one site while finding scholarships somewhere else.

You have got to create a system and plan that works for your family. Be open to doing things a little out-of-the-box to increase your scholarship chances. Also, don’t get suckered into thinking all of your information has to come from one place. Mix it up.

Real Talk: I utilize dozens of scholarship websites when looking for scholarships for myself and my students. It allows me to gather enough “intelligence” about the sponsoring committee to always submit a competitive application.

Scholarship Website Registration Pitfalls and Plots

Once you’ve found a search engine that meets your needs, determine the website’s goals when it comes to helping your family achieve scholarship success.

For some, it’s just to make money. They only care about collecting your family’s information to sell you things or to run ads.

Once you register, determine if the site is giving you the information they promised, or if they are sending additional emails you really don’t need. No one likes to be bombarded with a ton of useless information…especially when you’re short on time.

The best search engines are advocates for your family’s future; they want to make sure that you never receive the short end of the stick. Don’t believe me? Read our Guiding Principles here to see the values that guide us.

Seriously, when making a decision about a search engine, see if you can find their values. Are they things you believe in and support?

(And if you’re worried about being scammed, click here to read our article covering the top scholarship scams online. It may be helpful when selecting the best search engine for you or your student.)

Incorrect Scholarship Application Information and Outdated Content

Many writers and bloggers use outdated information and resources. Some information on websites is incorrect, but it is a two-fold situation.

Information on websites may be wrong because of you.

Yes… You read that correctly, but wait before you mumble some things under your breath and think about it like this…

Some of you came to this site, and others, with the same tactics; you’re reading articles with an old set of eyes because you’re only skimming for new keywords, titles, and phrases instead of actually reading and implementing the content.

But the same old information said in a new way can make all the difference…thousands of dollars of difference.

I may say something in a different way than other scholarship experts, and it may click the second time around. Research indicates that we have to be exposed to information at least 7 times before we remember it and make connections —  hence the reason we see the same commercials over and over again.

Think about when you rewatch movies. You start to catch a lot of details you didn’t see the first time. Depending on the day, the sad scene may make you laugh and the funny scene may make you cry.

My mom watches the same movies on TV all the time. She knows the music, when the commercial breaks are coming, and on which parts she can change the channel. She knows it all because she’s seen it so many times.

Unless you’re referencing a really good article over and over (like my mom and her favorite movies), you’re going to miss things. These things could result in costly mistakes.

I understand. You’re busy, have things to do, or just don’t like reading long articles. Whatever the case may be, if you’re going to read scholarship information…actually read it. Bookmark or save the article for when you have a few extra minutes to consume the content and its message.

You want to see information that confirms what you’ve heard and learned.

Picking the Right Scholarship Search Engine

The right scholarship search engine starts with: Your Goals, Needs, Wants, Values, and Beliefs.Click To Tweet
  • Your Goals
  • Your Needs
  • Your Wants
  • Your Values
  • Your Beliefs

Does the search engine align with the things that are important to you?

If it doesn’t, unsubscribe.

Sign up for at least 2-3 sites to determine which one will work best for your family.

Just as no one can learn to drive overnight, you can’t expect to learn how scholarships work instantly. Rushing through the process will cause you to miss some critical things that could cost you later.

It takes time to figure out how your family will approach or continue the scholarship process.

It takes time to determine if a scholarship website is for you or more concerned about your money.

It takes time to read, process, and commit information to memory so that it can be implemented.

Yes, the process takes time…but it’s time that’s well worth the wait.

Feature Image Artwork Credit: iStockPhoto/olm26250

About Your Author
Having earned well over $150,000 in scholarships to pay for her bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, Gabrielle McCormick teaches students, parents, and education professionals from across the country about winning scholarships to pay for college. Between finishing her dissertation and watching the NFL and NBA, she runs Scholarship Informer in her efforts to make college affordable for anyone that wishes to attend.
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