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Published: Feb 28, 2023 18 min read
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Whether you're just finishing high school or want to return to school in hopes of starting a new career, a scholarship can help make your dream of attending college a reality. And since scholarships can be awarded based on many things, including grades, financial need, community involvement or talent in different fields, you're likely to find options that meet your needs and qualifications.

If you don't know where to look for scholarship opportunities, scholarship websites and search engines can be a great place to start. These sites compile lists of scholarships from multiple sources and can help you narrow down your options through various filters. They may also provide tips and resources to help you improve your chances of winning.

In this guide, we review many of the best scholarship websites to help you get a head start on your scholarship search.

Our top picks for best scholarship websites

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Best scholarship websites reviews

Chegg

Pros
  • Comprehensive list of scholarships and internship opportunities
  • Offers a variety of services outside of scholarship search
  • Live support team for members
  • Various search filters
Cons
  • Limited scholarship selection for international students
  • Website can be tricky to navigate

What began as a company devoted to helping students save money through textbook rentals has grown into one of the country's largest education tech companies, offering services ranging from scholarship search to online tutoring.

Chegg's website offers users a comprehensive list of merit-based scholarships, which they can read more about without leaving the site. In addition, Chegg provides search filter tools to identify which scholarships match each user's academic completion level and demographics.

To ensure more personalized matches, users are encouraged to complete an online profile.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Scholarship Search - Free; Chegg Study Pack - $19.95/month; Chegg Study - $15.95/month Merit scholarships Free

Careeronestop's Scholarship Finder

Pros
  • Comprehensive list of international scholarship opportunities
  • Variety of award opportunities
  • Detailed information about each scholarship
Cons
  • Can't filter by government, nonprofit and other scholarships
  • Links don't lead directly to scholarship applications

CareerOneStop's Scholarship Finder is one of the best sites to find college scholarships that match your qualifications. It’s run by the U.S. Department of Labor and has a variety of filters to help you narrow down your options. You can search by education level, award type, gender and whether you live internationally or plan on studying internationally. The site also provides key contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers for each scholarship opportunity.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free Merit based scholarships; Fellowships; Grants; Prizes Yes

College Board

Pros
  • Parents can create accounts to save information to cost calculators
  • Offers incentives for setting goals
Cons
  • Requires an account to access the Scholarship Search tool
  • Parent accounts can't be used to register for SAT or view student AP scores

BigFuture by College Board is a great option for those looking for merit-based scholarships. College Board is a nonprofit organization that administers standardized tests and helps students plan for college. Its website also offers an extensive list of scholarships with details about eligibility criteria and deadlines.

BigFuture users can save their scholarship searches, receive updates when new scholarships become available and get matched to college scholarship opportunities based on their SAT and ACT scores.

Through BigFuture, students who complete their college preparation task list are automatically entered into a monthly scholarship raffle. Students with annual household incomes under $60,000 are allowed two entries per drawing, which can increase their chances of winning.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free non-profit resource for parents and students Need-based scholarships; Merit scholarships Yes

Internationalstudent.com

Pros
  • User-friendly website
  • Extensive list of international scholarships
Cons
  • List highly competitive scholarship opportunities
  • Requires an account to access scholarship application forms

Internationalstudent.com aims to help students from different countries find scholarship programs that meet their requirements. It does this through a scholarship search engine specifically designed for students looking to study overseas.

On the website, students can find an extensive list of college scholarships, grants and international student loans. They can also access tools and information to help them make the most of their time abroad, including health insurance options, calling cards, travel tips, detailed instructions on applying for a U.S. student visa, and more.

While the site is easy to navigate, it requires students to input their contact information, country of origin, and intended field of study and degree to generate a list of scholarship options.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free website membership; Free international student newsletter International scholarships; Grants No

Peterson's

Pros
  • Lists 4000+ scholarship providers
  • Free trial test preparation service
  • Offers scholarship essay reviews
Cons
  • Requires an account to access scholarship application forms
  • Additional features require a paid subscription

Peterson's provides students with test preparation materials for college placement tests, military exams, and credit-by-examination (CBE) assessments. The site also features a scholarship search tool that allows users to access over $10 billion in awards. Search results can be filtered by award type, school type, ethnicity, gender, field of study and state of residence. Patterson also lists loans-for-service by field of study, which allows students to have a portion of their loan forgiven for every year of service they fulfill.

Besides compiling scholarship options and loans, Peterson's offers a free week of test preparation services for over 185 courses, from basic English, math, and science to Microsoft Office tutorials and career course sequences. After the free trial, test prep services start at $39 per month for a 6-month subscription.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Scholarship Search - Free; 1-Month Test Prep Subscription - $49/month; 3-Month Test Prep Subscription - $45/month; 6-Month Test Prep Subscription - $39/month Need-based scholarships; Grants; Prizes; Fellowships; Loans-for-service Yes

StudentScholarships.org

Pros
  • Offers a scholarship database for underrepresented communities
  • No account needed for scholarship search features
Cons
  • No search filter for international scholarships

Since 2006, StudentScholarships.org has collaborated with nonprofit organizations and private companies to disseminate scholarship information to students throughout North America. The company, which started with a print publication, launched StudentScholarships.org in 2016.

Besides featuring an extensive scholarship library, StudentScholarships.org publishes content on everything students need to know to apply for scholarships. Resources include career exploration videos, salary information, and tips on writing essays, resumes and cover letters. Users don't have to create an account to access these materials.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free Merit scholarships No

Scholarship America

Pros
  • Resources dedicated to assisting underrepresented communities
  • No account needed to access scholarship search features
  • National scholarships available
Cons
  • Few search filter options

Scholarship America is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarship opportunities to students from underrepresented communities. Through its scholarship program, Dollars for Scholars, it works with communities and organizations to raise money for need-based, merit-based and other types of scholarships.

Scholarship America manages scholarships for over 1,400 companies nationwide and has given out $4.2 billion in grants since it was founded. And because it believes that students need more than just money to succeed in college, it also offers resources such as mentoring, emergency grants, financial planning tools and direct student support.

Visitors to the website don't need to create an account to use any of the resources listed there. However, there aren't many scholarship search filters available — you can search only by deadline and state — which could slow down the search process for those with particular needs.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free Need-based scholarships; Merit scholarships No

Scholarships.com

Pros
  • User-friendly web interface
  • Free scholarship search, college search, and financial aid information
  • Scholarships available to students who are not U.S. citizens
  • Many search filters to narrow down your scholarship search
Cons
  • Search not available for international students

Scholarships.com is a widely used free college scholarship search engine that requires users to complete a short online profile to obtain a tailored list of scholarship opportunities. The website is easy to use, and its database is updated daily, so students have a good chance of finding relevant matches.

Besides its scholarship search feature, the site also provides a wealth of free resources, including a free scholarship deadline calendar with a list of scholarships and their corresponding application deadlines. Users also have the ability to filter their scholarship matches according to criteria such as dollar amount, application due date and GPA, so they can better narrow down their options.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free Need-based scholarships; Merit scholarships Yes

Scholly

Pros
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • List of options for international students
  • Scholarships for users who are "out of school"
  • Doesn't sell students' information to third parties
Cons
  • Requires a paid account to access to the scholarship database
  • Contains sweepstakes listed as scholarships
  • In-app features can only be accessed via mobile devices

Scholly, featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, is a mobile-friendly platform designed to help students search for scholarships more efficiently. Its mission is to improve the time-consuming process of applying for scholarships, particularly for those with limited computer or internet access.

Scholarship results contain a numerical score that indicates how suitable they are for the prospective applicant based on their profile. This scoring system helps students identify which scholarships they could be best suited for, saving time and effort.

While Scholly's scholarship search tool is useful, users should be aware that results may include sweepstakes listed as scholarships. This can be misleading to students looking for genuine scholarships awarded based on merit, financial need, community involvement, etc. Sweepstakes may also require users to provide personal information, which can be used for marketing purposes and could result in spam phone calls from different companies.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
3-day free trial; $4.99/month; $24.99/6 months; $34.99/12 months Need-based scholarships; Merit scholarships; Sweepstakes Yes

JLV College Counseling

Pros
  • Options for students who aren't U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Includes situation-specific scholarships
  • No registration or membership fees
Cons
  • No filters to narrow down results

JLV College Counseling was founded by an experienced former admissions professional dedicated to helping potential, current and future students and their families through the college admissions process.

The scholarship website is free, updated monthly, and lists financial aid opportunities for particular needs. For example, users can sort through scholarships by specific categories, such as options for car accident survivors, first-generation students, and those who have lost a parent.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free Need-based scholarships; Merit scholarships; Scholarships for undocumented students; Scholarships for parents No
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Other websites we considered

Niche

Pros
  • Filter scholarship results by GPA and SAT/ACT scores
  • Explore the colleges by state, major, and type
  • Read reviews of colleges by students and parents
Cons
  • Contains sweepstakes listed as scholarships
  • Requires an account to access information

Niche isn't just a scholarship search engine, it's also a way for students and families to get a behind the scenes look at high schools and colleges. Users can read over 140 million reviews written by students and parents and in-depth profiles on every school and college in America.

Niche allows users to filter scholarship options based on SAT score and GPA requirements, award amount, deadline, field of study, location and more. But as with other options on this list, some of its scholarship results are sweepstakes, so students exclusively searching for scholarships should bear that in mind when navigating through the site.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free Need-based scholarships; Merit scholarships Yes

Fastweb

Pros
  • Offers personal finance resources
  • Includes internships and part-time jobs
Cons
  • Registered account required to access all site features
  • Many scholarship opportunities, not from official organizations

Fastweb's goal is to make the process of finding scholarships as easy and stress-free as possible by matching students with the scholarships for which they may qualify. To do this, students must fill out a short questionnaire with their contact information, schools of interest, and potential majors.

Users should note, however, that by clicking on the list of highlighted scholarships at the top of Fastweb's homepage they'll be prompted to provide their phone number to be enrolled in sweepstakes and contests. To find actual scholarships, users must scroll down to the "Find College Scholarships" at the bottom of the page. They'll also have to create an account to access the scholarship application.

Fastweb's budgeting tools and a part-time job and internship search, powered by Monster.com, can be accessed without an account.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free website membership Merit scholarships; Athletic scholarships; Paid internships; Part-time job opportunities Yes

SuperCollege

Pros
  • Variety of filter search options
  • Helpful Q&A advice section for students
Cons
  • Few resources beyond scholarship search

SuperCollege is a publisher of college and graduate school guidebooks, articles, and resources designed to support students and parents in their journey through higher education. The website includes scholarship opportunities and financial aid programs as well as educational content from well-known authors, educators and college admissions experts.

Membership cost Types of scholarships Mobile app
Free Need-based scholarships; Merit scholarships No

Scholarship websites guide

Main things to know before choosing scholarship websites for college

Scholarship websites allow students and families to sort through a variety of scholarship opportunities in a single location. Many scholarship websites will have the same core list of awards, and which website you use may simply come down to user preference.

Here are a few things to consider when exploring the best scholarship websites:

  • Types of scholarships: Most websites list a range of scholarships, including need-based and merit-based options. If you’re looking for specific types of scholarships, such as those for minority students or athletes, make sure the website includes awards in the areas you’re looking for. Also, be on the lookout for sites that claim to list scholarship opportunities but try to enroll you in giveaways and contests instead.
  • Membership and fees: Some scholarship websites may charge a fee to access their scholarship database, so check if there is one before signing up. Remember that many free scholarship websites earn money by selling the information you share in your profile.
  • Navigation and user interface: Look for websites that are easy to navigate, have several search filters, and are updated frequently. This will help you save a lot of time as you're narrowing down which scholarships are the best fit for you.

What are the different types of scholarships?

There are two main types of scholarships available: need-based awards and merit-based awards.

Need-based scholarships require students to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the scholarship award. Merit-based scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded to students who excel in a certain way, whether that be in academics, athletics, or another extracurricular achievement or character trait.

You can obtain a scholarship by meeting or exceeding specific standards set forth by the scholarship providers.

Some of the factors scholarship providers may look at to determine an applicant's eligibility include:

  • Financial need
  • Academic achievement
  • Extracurricular skills (performing arts and athletics)
  • Volunteerism and philanthropy
  • Religious denomination
  • Organizational affiliations
  • Academic interests (like major or intended career)

How do scholarship websites and search engines work?

Scholarship search engines generally require users to complete an online profile or answer a series of questions to match users with scholarships that meet specific criteria. The search engines scour databases with thousands of available scholarships and help users pare their options through various search filters.

Many sites allow students to save scholarships to their accounts to apply to at a later time. They may also provide free resources to help users complete their scholarship applications, such as essay writing tips or guidelines for formatting resumes.

How to know if scholarship websites are legit

A scholarship website that requires you to pay any sort of fee simply to apply for scholarships is likely a scam. Genuine scholarships should not require payment. (Note that there are some legit websites, including ones on our list, that charge membership fees to access additional services. Be sure to read the fine print about what’s included.)

Other red flags to watch out for are disorganized layouts, outdated information, and spelling or grammar mistakes. Always look for sites that are easy to navigate and provide clear, up-to-date details about the scholarship opportunities listed there.

Beware of inadvertently opting into sweepstakes listed as scholarships, otherwise known as luck-based awards. If the application for the scholarship takes less than five minutes to complete or requires only your name and phone number, it's likely not a real scholarship.

Sweepstakes listed as scholarships aren't only misleading but could require users to input personal information for marking purposes. Additionally, the odds of winning sweepstakes are low, and some may even require participants to pay a fee.

Authentic scholarships generally require letters of recommendation, essays and test scores. This approach guarantees the scholarship recipient is chosen based on their effort, dedication and involvement in local activities.

If you're still questioning the legitimacy of the scholarship website after an initial review, research the website's background, such as when it was established, who runs it and what its purpose is.

Lastly, find reviews or blog posts about the website to verify its legitimacy. Follow these tips and use caution when researching scholarships online to ensure your personal details stay safe and you don't waste time and effort.

What are the requirements to apply for a scholarship?

The requirements to apply for a scholarship will depend on the type of scholarship for which you're applying.

For example, some scholarship websites require students to answer a series of questions or create an account. They may also need to submit additional documentation such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays.

Traditional scholarships offered through universities or private organizations often have more specific qualification criteria. For example, the applicant may need to demonstrate financial need, have a certain GPA, perform specific extracurricular activities or provide evidence of achievements to be considered for the scholarship.

Scholarship websites FAQs

What are some of the best scholarship sites for international students?

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If you're a U.S. student interested in studying abroad, your first step should be to contact the universities of your choice and ask whether they have an international resource center for students. You could also contact the school's financial aid office and request a list of scholarships specific to international applicants.

Websites like InternationalStudent.com or WES.org can also be good sources of information for international students looking to study in the United States.

Can you apply for scholarships if you're not currently enrolled?

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There are scholarship opportunities available to high school students planning to attend college but not yet enrolled. Non-traditional students (such as adult students, working professionals and military veterans), those who have taken a gap year and those pursuing professional development or continuing education may also find options available to them.

What is the difference between student loans and scholarships?

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Student loans and scholarships are completely different financial aid options. Student loans must be paid back, while scholarships do not. In other words, a student loan is borrowed money you repay with interest, whereas a scholarship doesn't require repayment.

Scholarships are also typically awarded based on academic merit or certain criteria such as community involvement or extracurricular activities. Federal student loans, on the other hand, are available to almost any student, regardless of merit or financial need, while private student loans are given out by lenders based in part on your credit history.

Can you get a scholarship if you graduate?

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Yes, it is possible to receive scholarships after graduating from high school or college. Many scholarship programs are available to recent high school graduates and current college students, but there are also assistantship and fellowship opportunities for students who have already completed their undergraduate degrees and are pursuing advanced studies at the graduate level.

When is the best time to apply for scholarships?

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While you should start researching opportunities well in advance, most scholarship applications open between the fall and spring. This means you could start applying during the fall semester of your senior year. Starting early can help you perfect your technique, request additional letters of recommendation and have your essays proofread by teachers and mentors.

You should also complete the FAFSA form in October to receive award letters from prospective colleges between February and April. That information can help you decide how much financial aid you can accept and how many scholarship opportunities you should pursue.

How we found the best scholarship websites.

To find the best scholarship websites of 2023, we conducted extensive research and narrowed down our options based on key criteria such as ease of use and navigation, number of scholarship opportunities, search filter options and additional resources.

Summary of the Best Scholarship Websites of 2023