College feels like it literally costs an arm and a leg. According to the college board, it can range from 25K-35K—and that’s a massive amount of money for someone just entering adulthood. Basically, college is expensive. What’s a student to do? You can try and save up for college, but that can be quite the challenge. You can work long, odd hours at a minimum-wage job trying to finish assignments on your break, or you can saddle yourself with thousands of dollars of loans that you have to spend the next decade paying off. There has to be a better way.
Fortunately, scholarships exist—but unfortunately, they can be hard to find. Even if you made straight A’s in every high school class (including that ridiculously hard science one), it still might not be enough to get scholarships from your school. Looking for others has you scrolling through sketchy looking sites on the internet. You end up wondering—is this a real scholarship, or are they just trying to steal my information?
That’s where scholarship boards like ScholarshipOwl step in. ScholarshipOwl is meant to “connect students to companies providing private scholarships, and make the process of applying as transparent and as easy as possible for students.” But is this site actually legit? Is it worth the money? Can it find YOU a scholarship? Let’s jump into our review of ScholarshipOwl below and see!
What is ScholarshipOwl?
ScholarshipOwl works much like a job board for scholarships—but one that does 90% of the applying work for you. They believe that “those who earn scholarships aren’t just lucky, they use tools and strategies that give them edge.” ScholarshipOwl has scholarships from many different companies, and once you’ve input your information, applies to scholarships for you.
How Does ScholarshipOwl Work?
ScholarshipOwl does work as a “freemium” service. You can input all your information, see estimates of how many scholarships you are eligible for, but you have to input your payment information to actually apply.
When you begin, the site will ask for your birthday, gender, school level, and field of study—all things required for applying to any scholarship. You’ll also have to fill out your address, phone number, as well as college plans. Once you do so, you’re shown an estimate of all the different scholarships you can apply for, and prompted to sign up for your free trial period of ScholarshipOwl.
Once you do so, you can access your dashboard. Here, you can see a personalized list of scholarships just for you. ScholarshipOwl automatically fills out all the information you’ve given them for each other these—so you won’t have to type out your email on a hundred different forms. However, you do need to manually upload any required essays yourself—so it’s not fully automated.
One of the best features of ScholarshipOwl is the protections it gives you against spam. Each of the scholarship entries has a “credibility score,” so you know which ones are well-attested. Because you apply from the ScholarshipOwl platform, it also shields your personal email address from any spam. You won’t have to worry about getting random emails about sales from that store on the other side of the country!
The dashboard also allows you to track the status of applications—see what you still need to fill out to finish and application, whether your application has been received, and when the winners of different scholarships will be announced.
Is ScholarshipOwl Legit?
There’s nothing worse than being scammed by a site claiming to protect you from scams. Fortunately, ScholarshipOwl is a legit site. Many students have used it and reported back favorably, and wants to help its users the best it can. It is secure, and actually has verification check for all the scholarships on its site.
Can ScholarshipOwl Help Me Find Scholarships?
ScholarshipOwl is basically a giant search engine for scholarships—that is customized to you. If you are taking a certain program, like engineering, it will show you scholarships tailored specifically to engineering students. You’ll be able to apply for larger, general scholarships as well—but because so many people apply for these, your chances of winning are lower.
You have the best chances of winning more specialized scholarships. Do you have a particular ethnic background? Apply for contests focusing on that. Did you or your parents serve in the military? There are specialized applications for that. Check for company scholarships as well—there’s often ones for clients of banks, phone companies, and power companies. Even your county may have specialized scholarships. Whatever you can find that makes the pool of entrees smaller, increases your odds of winning.
Is ScholarshipOwl Worth the Money?
ScholarshipOwl’s pricing depends on how long you’re signing up for. If you pay only monthly, it’s $20/month, if you sign up for a whole quarter it is $15/month, and if you sign up for 6 months it costs $10/month. You can also register for the VIP option, costing $69/month, that offers you review on one 500-word essay every month, and 6 hours of financial aid and college admissions video content.
Frankly, this is an extremely high price—especially since the college you’re accepted into may have its own free platform like this, sometimes called Scholarship Universe. You can access ScholarshipOwl for the free 7-day trial—but after that period ends, there’s no refund on the fees.
The site is useful if you don’t really know how to look for scholarships—but even though you are automatically applied for the reoccurring scholarships, so are the 6 Million other users—so your chances aren’t very high. Furthermore, a lot of the scholarships require you to apply by email anyway—so you’re not using the ScholarshipOwl platform. If you already know how to search for scholarships and write an essay, ScholarshipOwl isn’t the best use of your time or money.
When it comes to finding scholarships, there’s oceans of information to wade through—and most of it doesn’t apply to you. Because ScholarshipOwl is personalized, and does most of the apply work for you, it can make the process easier. If you don’t have much experience or time to look for scholarships, then it may be worth the price—but start off with the free trial to find out. However, if you know how to search, or your school offers its own scholarship platform, you can probably do better on your own than with ScholarshipOwl.