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Education is about finding the right kind of opportunities. With so many educational opportunities around us, it’s difficult not to miss one. It’s easy to pay your way through, but if you want something on merit, scholarships are the engines for higher education.

Searching for scholarships is a way of life in countries like the United States. It is considered to be one of the more stressful stages of one’s educational career. With the right scholarship in hand, it obviously becomes the most rewarding one later on.

There are a gazillion scholarship search engines and websites on the web. Each of them could potentially lead you to a fitting scholarship that could help you save a few dollars. So, here’s looking at a few useful ones that could save you a lot of legwork in search of financial aid.

FastWeb

Fifteen years in the search for the right financial aid for students and counting makes this web service one to bookmark. You don’t have to pay a penny as it tries to match you with roughly 1.5 million scholarships worth over $3.4 billion across a diverse range of educational needs. The site also caters to adult education.

There are other tools on hand like advice on student life and tools such as financial aid calculators, discussion boards, and checklists. Some of the advice comes from past beneficiaries who applied and won scholarships. FastWeb merely connects students with scholarship sponsors and then gets out of the way. On its part, FastWeb does screen sponsors to ensure their legitimacy and the privacy policy protects applicant details.

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Scholarships.com

Here you search more than 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth more than $19 billion. The site has a detailed directory listing over 7,000 colleges, their admission statistics, tuition and fees, financial aid and scholarships, academic majors etc. The free scholarship search website allows you to manage your scholarship search with your own profile. The College Matchmaker helps you find and connect to the right school.

As usual, you start by creating your profile and then use it to match scholarships to your educational needs. You can match scholarships by – dollar amount, deadline, rank, and scholarship name. You can use the site as a tracking tool for your desired sponsor. The site helps you in composing and personalizing a scholarship application letter.

Zinch

The Facebook Connect option suggests that this scholarship site has a social networking angle built into it. Zinch has a score system (Swagger) that measures your activity on the site and positions your profile accordingly. The site so far has featured $1.9 Billion in educational aid. 800+ college recruiters can connect you to 5000 schools in its database.

As the screen above shows, the advanced filters can help you sort through the results and select the right scholarship. The site is planning scholarship help for non-U.S. schools soon.

College Board

The site has a database size of 2300 colleges and $3 Billion in educational finance aid. The site has a slew of tools that help students calculate cost of loans, compare loans, compare aid awards, calculate college savings etc. that helps to give the right picture for informed decisions.

The scholarship search relies on the information you feed into your profile and then the brief questionnaire helps you match your education level, talents, and background to the proper loan.

FSA (Federal Student Aid)

The U.S. Government site helps students access more than $150 billion in new aid annually. The main tool and the focus area for the site is the development, distribution, and processing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the form used to apply for all federal, as well as for many state, regional and private student aid programs. This covers the three modes – grants, loans, and work study – the program uses to fund aid for students.

Though these five sites are U.S. specific, they are useful for foreign students too as a large number of them hunt around for the right college to enroll in. Legitimate scholarship sites help you avoid scams and fraudsters and secure your education without giving away an arm or a leg. Are you on a scholarship hunt? Have you ever landed financial aid with the help of a scholarship search site? Give us a shout.

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