Guest Author - Cynthia Parker
As my daughter and I were preparing for her freshman year at college, one of the primary factors we had to consider was funding. She was aware of how to apply for scholarships sponsored by the school she was to attend, but we knew there were lots of other funding possibilities out there and were not sure how to find them. I looked at lots of scholarship web sites and became very frustrated with all the hype, “catchs” and dead ends. Then I found FastWeb (www.fastweb.com).
FastWeb is “A Monster Company”, affiliated with Monter.com, and promotes itself as being “the Internet’s leading scholarship search service” and I can tell you that from a parent perspective, they certainly have my vote. Not only do they aid in finding scholarships, but they also provide tools for choosing the “right” college and for finding jobs and internships during and after college.
Students create an account on FastWeb and complete a detailed questionnaire about themselves which includes what they are looking for in a college (size, location, etc.), courses of study being considered, payment options being considered (scholarships, grants, work study, etc.), and a variety of other information that assists in understanding your student’s needs.
After analyzing this information, FastWeb sends you information on a variety of college where your student may wish to apply. However, they do not require that you select a college or university through them. Once your student has selected a school, they simply entered this information into their FastWeb profile and the scholarship matches based on college/university, intended major, etc., start rolling in!
A “short list” of scholarship opportunities is emailed directly to your student when open for applications. As the scholarship deadline approaches, these opportunities are flagged on the list to bring them to the immediate attention of your students. Additionally, your student can log in to their FastWeb account at any time to get a full list of scholarship opportunities, including details of the scholarships, instructions for application, and official application forms. You are not limited to just the scholarship opportunities that FastWeb adds to your student’s suggestion list. You can search through a complete list of available scholarship opportunities at any time.
FastWeb has lots of tools to help your student find success. There is their profile summary, which includes the total number of scholarships currently available and applicable to them, and a subtotal showing ones approaching their deadlines. Your student must only click on the link to view and select those scholarships for which they should apply. There is a similar profile summary for jobs and internships. Additionally, there is a calendar feature where students can enter application deadlines for both admissions to various universities and scholarships, campus visits, notification dates, etc. Their profile is available to them for updates at all times, so any changes made can be logged immediately and suggestions from FastWeb reconsidered.
In addition, FastWeb offers lots of advice to students about housing, dining hall plans, study habits, and many other topics designed to make the transition to college successful. They continue to support your student throughout their college years by continuing to send them information on scholarships each year. (Not all scholarships are renewable and students should always be watching for additional opportunities!)
Having your student register and set up a profile on FastWeb should be one of the first things you do when you and your student begin searching for ways to pay for college. It is fast, easy, user-friendly, and best of all, it works!