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The Best Scholarship Websites

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The decision to pursue a post-secondary education is quite often accompanied by financial uncertainty, making it a virtual necessity to find the best scholarship websites.

Based on research conducted by the College Board, the average cost of one year's tuition plus the applicable fees ranged from $9,000 for in-state residents at a public college to $30,000 for private colleges.

The great news is that there are scholarship search engines available to search for merit-based scholarships, student financial loans, and federal education grants. For the most part, it's as simple as plugging your personal information into any one of a number of the best scholarship websites and seeing what the search results turn up.

To make this task a bit easier, I've reviewed some of the top contenders so that you can find the best way to get scholarships for your own education.

The Best Sites for Finding a Scholarship: Our Top Picks

Cappex Review

  • Pros
  • Covers a range of topics from applying to financial aid
  • Provides college statistics
  • Lists student reviews regarding colleges
  • Easy to use and navigate
  • User-friendly platform
  • Cons
  • Requires extensive profile information to perform matches
  • Slightly more high school and undergrad oriented

With Cappex you can search 3000+ school profiles, explore over $11 billion in merit-based scholarships, and map out a plan for your academic future. By simply filling out a profile with your personal information, you'll get matched with scholarships from across the country, offered by a wide ranging number of agencies and institutions.

But how exactly can that help you? By knowing what an organization is interested in you can better adapt your skill set to match it and increase your chances of receiving a scholarship. Also, you may just stumble onto a company in the process and find an opportunity for a career down the line.

With all the information available on this site it's pretty evident that Cappex isn't limited to purely scholarship searches. You can leverage their services to compare and contrast student loans and then find one which suits your needs. One of their handy tools is the "What Are My Chances" calculator. This tells you your likelihood of being accepted to a school before you pay any application fees. With some ranging upwards of $30, that right there could save you a significant sum. This is definitely a great site to start with when applying for college, especially when looking for financial aid and searching for scholarships.

Cappex makes it to the top of my list for scholarship searches. The only flaw with this site is that it's slanted slightly towards high school students rather than a broader demographic audience. But overall, you can find quite a few helpful links and resources on the site so it's definitely worth a visit. Review

  • Pros
  • Ability to sort by relevancy
  • College matching
  • Site updated daily
  • Multitude of resources
  • Cons
  • Cluttered interface with small text
  • May receive marketing email (uncheck when creating profile) has been serving college students since 1998. With a comprehensive database of monetary awards, student resources, and colleges looking for specific types of students, this site is a goldmine of higher education connections.

I found the interface a bit cluttered but the wealth of information is worth digging through. As with most scholarship search engines, you'll need to create a profile in order to really make the site work for you, although you can view information for various awards without signing in. Once you create your profile you will be able to search for relevant scholarships, allowing you to whittle the possibilities down to those which are appropriate for your situation.

One of the truly unique things about is that they also have a College Matchmaker feature. This function offers you the ability to search colleges by tuition level, school size, major, sports offered, and minimum required SAT and ACT scores. You are then matched with colleges specifically seeking students just like you.

Another useful aspect of this scholarship finder is that they offer other resources such as advice on college prep, study tips, and campus life. There is a comprehensive FAQ in addition to a blog. Find college funds specifically for graduate students, minorities, veterans, and even view trending scholarships. While the site is rather visually busy due to the small text and abundance of information, I highly recommend as an indispensable resource if you're serious about finding, and funding, the right college education for you. Review

  • Pros
  • No complex applications
  • Unique operational model
  • Fresh, user-friendly website
  • Informative yet fun articles
  • Cons
  • Not an actual scholarship search engine
  • Must complete tasks to compete for funds

ScholarshipPoints is definitely not your mother's financial aid website. The first thing I noticed was the definitive Millennial feel. The content is clearly created with the intent of making college students feel at home, and getting them excited about finding money to help pay for their education. The fun feel to this website doesn't mean it lacks serious industry expertise. The site was started in 2006 by Edvisors, an organization which has been helping students plan and pay for their education since 1998. This particular channel is just an innovative way of approaching the issue.

How ScholarshipPoints works is by offering students the opportunity to earn points and then "spend" them on entries for college money. You can earn points by taking surveys, playing games, participating on social media and more. You then decide which drawings you want to use your points on, and enter for a chance to win that money.

ScholarshipPoints claims to have given away more than $750,000 in college money to date. Drawings run throughout the day, keeping things fresh and interesting. There's also a CampusLife section, stocked with the writings of a team of college students advising you on everything from coping with anxiety to dealing with family.

This model of giving away free college money is certainly non-traditional. Still, its savvy and engaging flavor earn the website big "points" in my book, landing it on my list of the top scholarship websites.

Key Considerations for Finding a Scholarship

I've gathered the top five scholarship websites that excel in finding worthwhile scholarships and that also present pertinent information regarding college and university life. Keep these points in mind while browsing the list:

Keep these points in mind while browsing the list:

  • What types of costs can this be applied towards?
  • Do I need to submit any type of financial background or history?
  • Can I filter the results to suit my needs?
  • Have other students found success using this resource?

Not every opportunity is the right one for every single student. By choosing an appropriate website for your circumstances, you can generate a list of scholarships specifically geared toward your own strengths and needs.

Defining a Scholarship

Merriam-Webster defines scholarship as "an amount of money that is given by a school, an organization, etc., to a student to help pay for the student's education." In practical terms, it's simply money that is given to someone for the express purpose of education of some type, and does not have to be paid back.

These funds could come from a variety of sources, including private organizations, community resources such as 4-H or a religious institution, or from the college itself.

Different Ways to Get a Scholarship

There are many different ways to increase your chances of getting extra money for college. Many scholarships are merit-based, while others are awarded on a basis of financial need. Some are a combination of the two.

Investing time and effort into the top scholarship websites can help you to avoid becoming saddled with sizeable loan payments for the next decade.

Possibilities for getting free scholarships include, but are not limited to:

  1. Community Involvement: Volunteering not only enhances your scholarship applications, it also demonstrates to colleges and financial aid organizations that you have a passion and commitment that will likely translate well into your college career. You impress the awarding organization, and the college to which you're applying - it's a great two-for-one.
  2. Playing the Odds: The more you apply for scholarships, the better your chances of winning one (or more). This is one area of life in which there's no such thing as overkill.
  3. Being Thorough: Don't gloss over optional sections when filling out your profile on college scholarship search websites. The more information you provide, the more likely you are to be matched with an award for which you're well qualified.
  4. Maintaining Your Image: Be professional - online and off. Clean up your social media profiles and create a dedicated email address to use for scholarship applications (one that isn't cutesy or questionable).
  5. Doing the Essays: It's tempting to bypass some of the best college scholarships if they involve writing that dreaded long, tedious essay. That's precisely why you should do them - applying for money that others are likely to forego means your chances of getting it are that much higher.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the class of 2015 graduated with an average of $35,000+ in student loan debt. Investing time and effort into the top scholarship websites can help you to avoid becoming saddled with sizeable loan payments for the next decade.

Finding Scholarships

You're already well aware that pursuing higher education is not by any means a low-cost initiative. In the past ten years, the rate of increase for college tuition has surpassed the national rate of inflation because of reduced federal/state funding. Data collected by the College Board found that tuition and fees have been increased 9 percent at public colleges and 13 percent in the private sector just since the 2011-2012 school year.

What's more, since the recession in 2008, publicly subsidized funding for colleges and universities has fallen nearly 14.6 percent. While these statistics may be alarming and disheartening if you're a college-aged individual or the parent of one, it shouldn't deter you from your collegiate aspirations. Here, I've taken a look at ways to increase the effectiveness of your scholarship search.

Create a Laser Focus

One of the best tips my research about scholarships revealed is to focus your search on a few key areas in order to maximize the relevancy of your search results. These key aspects could be:

  • Your career goals
  • Your hobbies
  • Geographic area where you reside
  • Your ethnicity
  • Academic and/or extracurricular strengths (such as sports)

In other words, prioritize your qualifications that are likely to earn you a scholarship. For example, if you're planning on going after a degree in the healthcare field, inquire with different organizations and nonprofits in your area as to whether or not they reserve scholarships for undergrads entering the field. That's one way to approach the scholarship hunt.

Another way is to utilize the host of websites available that are designed to readily match your qualifications to scholarships available. Not only will that open up the pool of possible scholarships but it'll save you vital time. Some scholarship search engines even feature a tool to match your qualifications with an appropriate college as well.

Start Early & Search Often

With any endeavor that requires searching it's best to get a head start. High school students should ideally start looking prior to their senior year. That approach offers an advantage over waiting until you're a senior to start your scholarship search. If you're finding that your grades or GPA aren't high enough to qualify you for many scholarships, you still have time to improve your academic record or get the experience that would set you apart from other applicants (i.e., community service, volunteering, etc.).

Search often because the best websites for scholarships update frequently - as often as every day. Award providers are continually entering their offerings on scholarship sites, which means that you might find a great match one day that wasn't there the day before. Most of the top rated sites also allow you to save your favorites in order to refer back to them later when you're ready to complete the application.

Refine Your Essay

The last tip I'll suggest is to refine your essay as much as you can. Consult your high school's college counselor or writing department to polish the essay that accompanies your application. Do your best to leave a lasting impression on the scholarship committee by emphasizing your personal story and reasons why you deserve the funding.

Be mindful to deliver an essay that addresses the prompt as well as exemplifies your financial need.

Keep the above tips in mind when searching for the perfect scholarship. Fine tune your criteria to scholarships which relate to your personal interests or history, and start searching early.

Scholarships for Sports

According to, American colleges gave $3.3 billion in scholarships to athletes in 2014. As most high school athletes well know, getting noticed for your prowess on the field or court can be a major challenge. Even if you do catch the eye of a college sports scout, that doesn't mean you will get a full ride. As CNBC has reported, the average athletic scholarship amounts to roughly $14,000, which doesn't go far in terms of today's educational economics.

So what can you do to increase your odds of getting that coveted college money as a result of your athletic ability?

  • Initiate contact - don't wait for a scout. Email the schools you're interested in and include your high school stats, coach info, and other pertinent facts.
  • Utilize technology - make a YouTube reel of your best moments on the court/field, and include that link in your emails rather than a DVD that will likely find the circular file.
  • Keep your options open - of course, everyone wants to enter Division I sports in college, but you should also consider applying for other types of scholarships available through Division III schools. You'll get help with tuition and still be able to play, without having to compete against thousands of students for a little bit of money.

Just because you're an athlete doesn't mean you have to limit yourself to only athletic scholarships. Keep your grades up as much as possible, do other important activities like volunteering, and keep an open mind about where to find your college funding.

Additional Resources

As you sift through the best college scholarship websites you'll find that there is much more you need to learn about this exciting new venture. Finding a way to pay for tuition and books is only the beginning.

Check out more helpful advice and information, including The Ultimate Guide to College Scholarships and tips on how to save money while you're in school.


As you can see, the internet offers an enormous amount of help when it comes to searching for scholarships and educational grants. When it comes down to it, you're the one responsible for your future as well as the costs associated with it.

Do yourself a favor and explore a reputable scholarship website before taking out student loans or other types of financing. You may still have to use other funding methods for your education, so arm yourself in advance by checking out the best student loan consolidation.

You'll also find more ways to keep your college finances in check by looking into the best student discounts.

Scholarship FAQs

QHow do you get a scholarship?


Here's tips to increase chances of winning college scholarships.

  • Research scholarship sponsors. Read mission statements online before applying.
  • Volunteer in your community. Non-profit scholarship organizations value volunteer work.
  • Search on "scholarship search engines" to streamline your application process.
  • Answer optional application questions, increase chances of scholarship matches.
  • Visit for information about scholarship odds.
  • Apply to many scholarships to increase odds of winning.

QHow do you sign up for a scholarship?


Get organized. Track deadlines, collect documents, save copies of submissions, and send applications by certified mail. Stick to facts. Truthfully report grades, qualifications, skills and memberships. Focus on scholarships matching your interests and strengths. Follow application instructions. Fulfill them to the letter, and proofread carefully. Search on scholarships at

QWhat is a good scholarship website?

  • is a scholarship site listing many free resources.
  • lists scholarships, jobs, and internships.
  • hosts 1.5 million scholarships totaling $3.4 billion.
  • boast a database listing $11 billion in scholarships.
  • College offers scholarships, internships and financial aid totaling $6 billion.

QAm I an eligible candidate for a college scholarship?


With the growing costs of a college education, a scholarship search is equally as important as filling out your FAFSA form for financial aid. Most scholarships are based on merit or need; however, there are a number of scholarships that are tailored to specific skills or unique talents. With so many options available, it is easy to say that just about everyone could be eligible for a scholarship, you just have to put the right amount of time and energy into the search process.

To determine if there are scholarships available for you or your child, you should check out some of our top five scholarship sites and browse through their multitude of offerings. Many of these have deadlines that come before the financial aid forms are due, so it is important to start the process early.

If you do not find anything on these sites, you should also check with your religious organizations or employers as many of them offer scholarships; however, they may not highly publicize them. In the pursuit for college funding, you should leave no stone unturned and make sure that you exhaust all of your resources before closing the book on the scholarship hunt.

Even smaller scholarships can go a long way in helping to alleviate the burden of college funding. Some of them may not seem like a lot of money; however, they could cover the cost of textbooks or meals, and if you need to finance these on your own each year, then a scholarship not only saves you the additional financing but the additional interest that would be charged on the amount that you finance.

QWhere do I apply for scholarships?


Each scholarship has it's own application procedure, deadline and address. Research the deadlines and application requirements of scholarships fitting your strengths and interests. Look at the financial aid offices of colleges, your state grant agency, the U.S. Dept. of Labor scholarship search tool, and scholarship websites to discover where to apply.

QWhat sorts of scholarships can college students receive?


When most people think of college scholarships, they think about money made available for gifted athletes and scholars; however, sports and academic scholarships are just two components of the many pools of resources that are available for college students.

There are literally millions of scholarships granted every year to eligible candidates and they can range from anything from state-specific scholarships to religious based scholarships to scholarships for single parents. If you peruse the various databases available on just our top five scholarship sites, you will be amazed at the resources that are available for students. In addition, many of these sites are updated frequently; therefore, new scholarships are added all the time, so you should make sure that you are not missing out on any additional resources for which you may qualify.

Our best advice to you is to start your scholarship searching as soon as you start your college searching. In fact, the availability of certain scholarships for you may make your college choice an even easier and less painful one. In addition, many of these scholarship programs require unique applications and writing samples and you want to make sure that you give yourself enough time and appropriate attention to this exercise.

Even a small scholarship can make a big difference over time especially if you have to worry about financing your education, so when you are budgeting your time for college searches, don't forget to budget additional time for college scholarship searches. Any small scholarship that you can find, will make your time investment well worth it.



This is an excellent scholarship article!


@joseph item We have a few guides to help a scholarship search here Hopefully that helps!


Hi. Could you help me with all the necessary techniques on how to start a scholarship scheme.


@Feiraz el Rumy Scholarship Desk is definitely another good option although it has a broad focus on international students. We looked at sites that had more of a U.S. focus. However, this is also worth considering.


I think you must include I personally this is one of the best websites for searching scholarships. You don't need to provide any personal information to mach the scholarship you are looking for. That's why I always recommend this site to my students...

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