An easier way to apply for college scholarships

ScholarPRO

(MoneyWatch) Searching for college scholarships can be a real pain.

When using the typical student scholarship search engine, teenagers can end up slogging through an overwhelming number of private scholarships that are totally inappropriate.

A teenager, for instance, who indicates that he wants to major in business can get inundated with hits for business scholarships even though some of the awards would require that you attend a specific university or live in a certain state.

Teenagers understandably find this scholarship overload frustrating.

A new scholarship alternative

That's why I'm excited about a new scholarship startup that can make the scholarship process much more rewarding. The name of the scholarship matching service is ScholarPRO.

Based on information the students provide, ScholarPRO will connect users only to scholarships for which they are definitely eligible. ScholarPRO also will alert users to other scholarships for which they might qualify. Users can answer additional questions to determine if other scholarships are worth pursuing.

One-stop scholarship shopping

What's also exciting about ScholarPRO is that students can apply to most of the scholarships right on the scholarship matchmaker's website. I know of no scholarship search engine that allows users to do this. If an essay is required, a teenager can write and store the essay right on ScholarPRO. If recommendations are required, a student can send a request directly to teachers, coaches or anyone else and they can send them directly to ScholarPRO.

I was amazed when Rachel Duch, ScholarPRO's director of business development and operations, told me that staff actually check applicants' essays. They will sometimes contact a user and suggest that the student put a bit more effort into an essay to increase the odds of winning. Also helpful, ScholarPRO won't submit a teenager's application unless it's complete.

What I also like about the site is what you don't find on it. ScholarPRO doesn't accept any ads. Unlike other scholarship sites, the scholarship matchmaker doesn't sell users' email addresses to third parties.

The price for this service is a bargain. It costs $30 a year and the service is free for low-income students.

I think ScholarPRO is well worth trying.

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