It’s no secret that college is expensive. In fact, the average student graduates with approximately $30,000 in loans.
Thankfully, there are many scholarships available that you can apply for. While the process of finding these money-saving opportunities can be time-consuming, scholarship research websites can help.
The best scholarship websites can pinpoint the opportunities you’re eligible for. Plus, you can get access to other college planning tools.
Top Scholarship Search Engines
There are many free college scholarship databases that you can access. We’ve listed the top platforms in alphabetical order so that you can find scholarships that can help you pay for college.
Bold.org is different from your run-of-the-mill research platform. Donors, including individuals and companies, fund exclusive scholarships. This makes it one of the best scholarship websites in the space.
Some of the exclusive opportunities include:
- “Big” or “tall” students (at least 6’2” tall and/or size 44 waist or bigger)
- Faith-based college students
- Single moms
The platform can also help you find merit-based scholarships and options for specific academic fields or ethnic backgrounds.
You can browse college scholarships without creating an account. However, joining Bold lets you make a customized portfolio and receive curated invitations to apply for scholarships.
An account is also necessary to apply for the exclusive Bold.org scholarships.
As an added bonus, this service can automatically send your college scholarship proceeds to your school and minimize the paperwork process.
2. College Board’s BigFuture
If you have experience with the SAT and PSAT college entrance exams or the college-level AP courses, you’re likely familiar with College Board.
You must create a free account to browse the list of scholarships in College Board’s BigFuture section. This free service specializes in finding scholarships for high school juniors and seniors.
It’s also possible to create customized filters and browse open scholarships by various criteria.
High school seniors should create an account just to apply for their in-house BigFuture scholarships. You can win $500 to $40,000 in aid with the monthly drawings.
You earn college scholarship entries by completing various tasks through College Board.
These tasks can include:
- Building a college list
- Practicing for the SAT
- Completing the FAFSA
- Applying to colleges and universities
This scholarship search platform offers many hands-on features to make the research process as efficient as possible.
One tool is the Student Search Service. It allows colleges to send offers directly to you if you’re eligible for a school-specific scholarship. This means you may not have to search for scholarships.
Researching scholarships is straightforward with CollegeScholarships.org since you don’t have to create an account to browse or apply for aid.
This college scholarship search platform is simple and enables you to search for scholarships without providing a lot of information first.
You can browse the database by several filters, including:
- Field of study
- Minority status
And more. It’s possible to sort the search results by award amount or deadline.
However, you won’t get personalized recommendations that you can save and apply for at a later date. Consider other platforms if you want this hands-on approach.
Students can even visit the “Our Scholarships” section to look for annual awards of up to $1,000.
In addition to locating scholarships, you can get help with finding grants, student loans and other forms of financial aid.
Fastweb is another one of the most well-known online scholarship search engines. In fact, it’s one of the oldest and best scholarship websites in the space.
What’s unique about this service is that it vets each listing to prevent scams.
The college scholarship search platform is free to use but requires creating an account to apply. A matching algorithm compares your personal background to relevant scholarships and grants.
It also lists student-only discounts and content to prepare for undergraduate studies.
Another benefit of creating an account is saving aid programs you may want to apply for later as time permits. You can even request email updates to avoid missing application deadlines.
While Fastweb specializes in finding college scholarships and other forms of financial aid, there is also a section where student contributors provide real-time insights into their college experience.
You can use Niche.com to find school resources from kindergarten through college, such as school rankings. The platform doesn’t require creating an account to browse undergraduate and graduate scholarships.
However, you must join the scholarship search platform to apply for Niche’s $2,000 No Essay Scholarship.
Current students and recent alumni also have the opportunity to review their university and potentially win $1,000 after completing a short online survey. This platform uses these reviews to provide in-depth rankings to potential students.
Along with these unique initiatives, you can visit the “Easy to Apply” section to find other offerings that don’t require essays, a minimum GPA or personal recommendations.
Furthermore, applying the “Exclusive Deals” features shows open opportunities that can award up to $25,000 in tuition relief.
Several scholarships on Niche won’t appear on other databases. This is because Niche and its education partners fund them.
Peterson’s is famous for its test prep courses and practice tests, but they offer an online scholarship database listing up to $10 billion in private financial aid. It is one of the best scholarship websites in the space.
One of the scholarship opportunities available through the site is Peterson’s World’s Easiest Scholarship. The winner receives $2,500 for college or grad school.
To enter, you only need to submit your contact details, area of interest and most recent GPA.
The scholarship search platform uses your interests to recommend potential opportunities and programs.
It’s free to browse options for these types of aid:
- Forgivable loan
Several customizable filters make it easy to compare your options. When you create an account, you can save opportunities that interest you.
It’s free to use the scholarship search tool, and there is no obligation to use the premium college prep or career prep resources.
Plus, you may consider trying some of the services to potentially improve your scores, which may help you qualify for more aid.
It is free to create a ScholarshipOwl account. The service starts by matching relevant scholarships with your grade level and field of study.
For example, the service may initially identify 49 scholarships to apply for if you are a Business major.
By creating an account, you can automatically enter the Smart Owl Scholarship Sweepstakes. This giveaway only requires providing your name, email and phone number, and the winner can receive $2,222 in tuition assistance.
Unfortunately, you will receive communications from several third-party platforms when creating an account. You can’t browse offerings without an account, but it can be worth joining for the scholarship sweepstakes and only seeing vetted programs.
The service also lets you apply for opportunities and proof your essays without leaving the scholarship search platform. This convenience can make it easier to submit your details for several offerings in a single sitting.
Another nifty feature is being able to apply for recurring scholarships automatically. This set-it-and-forget tool lets you spend your time on high-effort scholarships instead, making Scholarship Owl one of the best scholarship sites.
After applying for a scholarship, the AI-powered algorithm recommends similar programs. Adding your background, hobbies, and habits can also curate your search results.
High school, college, and professional students have access to extensive resources to help them with everything college-related through Scholarships.com. An account is necessary to start, but it is free to join.
You can find scholarship matches according to your grade level and other personal traits. The service also lets you browse scholarships by type to categorize the search results based on academic discipline and other standard filters.
One neat search filter is viewing the “Scholarships Trending Now” feature. This can be one of the most efficient ways of finding the highest payouts or approaching application deadlines.
Like most scholarship websites on this list, members can apply for a platform-only scholarship giveaway. One person each month wins the $500 giveaway by creating an account.
When you’re not searching for college scholarships, you can research college information and learn more about the various forms of financial aid. These tools are most applicable to high school students who are still deciding where to go to school.
You can also maximize the Scholarships.com student resources to help with college planning by downloading several printable sheets.
The checklists and timelines highlight scholarship deadlines and other activities to complete during the academic year to avoid financial aid stress.
Scholly is one of the best scholarship websites. It requires making a free profile before you can find college scholarships. In just five minutes, you can submit your details and begin receiving scholarship matches.
Information you can add includes:
- Academics (test scores, GPA, field of study)
- Extracurricular (sports, volunteering)
- Financial needs (need-based income, financial hardships)
- Personal history (i.e., teen jobs worked, first in the family to attend)
This scholarship search engine also offers exclusive scholarships and contests.
One of the recurring scholarships available is a weekly $1,000 giveaway through the Scholly Pay Your Bills Fund. This giveaway is for students who are at least 18 years of age and doesn’t require an account to participate.
Unlike most scholarship finders, the Scholly App costs money to unlock premium features. The paid perks include personalized scholarship recommendations, monthly updates, quick application functionality, and product offers to try new services.
In addition, the app offers a three-day free trial for all new users.
After that, you pay the following for complete platform access:
- Month-to-month: $4.99
- Six months: $24.99
- 12 months: $34.99
A multi-month membership is the most affordable option. It typically takes several months to apply for all of the scholarships on your wishlist, so it could be a worthwhile investment.
If you decide not to move forward with a paid membership, you can continue using the app without cost.
Free users can make unlimited scholarship searches but won’t receive personalized recommendations and must apply through the scholarship provider’s website.
With Unigo, high schoolers and college students age 13 or older can apply for exclusive member-only scholarships and opportunities that are available to the general public.
One of the scholarships available is the exclusive Unigo award which is between $1,500 to $10,000. There are approximately 13 scholarships that the search engine funds, with application deadlines spread across the year.
It’s important to note that this number is high. Many platforms only offer one or two giveaways but require writing an essay.
If writing an essay for every scholarship application isn’t your cup of tea, there is an “Easy Scholarships” search tab. These results only require submitting your contact details and potentially creating an account with the scholarship provider.
The scholarship search engine lets you filter results by the usual topics, including your personal profile, state of residence and field of study.
One unique filter is for weird scholarships. Your scholarship search results can help you find funds for students who have strange traits.
These can include:
- Blue eyes
- Red hair
- Short height (4’10” or smaller)
Pinpointing scholarships is the primary reason to consider using this platform. In addition, you can even access personalized college recommendations, a student loan finder and college prep articles.
Creating an account is an option if you want to search the database. However, building a free profile is necessary to apply for the Unigo scholarships and receive personalized recommendations.
College Scholarship Sites Comparison
|Site Name||Account needed||Unique features|
|Bold.org||No||Exclusive scholarships, can automatically apply proceeds|
|College Board||Yes||Monthly $40,000 scholarship drawings, SAT and FAFSA prep|
|CollegeScholarships.org||No||Exclusive $1,000 scholarships, no registration necessary, can find scholarships and grants|
|Fastweb||Yes||Personalized scholarship recommendations, students discounts and internships|
|Niche||No||Exclusive $2,000 no-essay scholarship, finds “Easy to Apply” Scholarships, Can research potential schools|
|Peterson’s||No||Lists scholarships and forgivable student loans, $2,500 hassle-free scholarship|
|Scholarship Owl||Yes||Customized recommendations, no essay scholarship, automatically apply for recurring scholarships|
|Scholarships.com||Yes||Monthly $500 scholarship for new members, college planning checklists|
|Scholly||Yes||Weekly $1,000 giveaway, student-focused offers, paid membership option|
|Unigo||No||Exclusive scholarships worth up to $10,000, personalized recommendations, college search tool|
Being able to quickly find college scholarships can ensure you don’t miss application deadlines and have ample time to write high-quality essays. Joining the best scholarship websites can be helpful.
Scholarship income minimizes your student loan needs and is one way to make money in college. Whether you win small awards, big ones or a combination of both, it’s free money in your pocket as a reward for your hard work.