Everybody loves finding a $20 bill in their pocket, right? Usually, free money doesn't come that easy — especially when it comes to college money.
Thankfully, there are some resources that can help you find scholarships, which you don't have to repay, to help pay for your education. Among them is Scholly, an easy-to-use paid app (subscription costs $3.75 a month, or $45 for a year) that connects students with scholarship opportunities. Here's what you need to know about this tool.
What is Scholly?
The app was founded by entrepreneur Christopher Gray, who landed $1.3 million in scholarship money during high school to pay for college.
As an undergrad at Drexel University, Gray learned that about $100 million in scholarship money goes unclaimed each year. Meanwhile, other students were asking for his help to find grants. “You have students drowning in debt and scholarships that go unawarded," he told Smithsonian magazine in 2016. "The system is broken.”
Realizing there was a market for a tool that helps connect students with free money for college, Gray started Scholly. His appearance on the show Shark Tank caused a bit of sensation, when users all over the country downloaded the app and caused it to briefly crash ... but it's all better now.
Today, nearly 1 million users have downloaded the app, which has helped award $100 million in scholarships.
How does Scholly work?
The scholarship-matching app connects high school seniors, current undergrads, graduates students, and international students to college money by sending them a personalized list of scholarships that fits their needs.
After filling out a short questionnaire, the app's scholarship database matches users with a list of opportunities. The app also include various tools to help manage deadlines and track progress.
Staffers work to remove scholarships with deadlines that have passed or that no longer exist from the database. And they don't include scholarships that require a Social Security number, which can sometimes be a sign of a scam, or that have a major fee upfront.
How do you sign up?
Creating an account and getting started is easy. Visit myscholly.com and click "Sign Up" on the main page.
The app is available for both web and mobile, and you don't need a phone number to apply.
If you have a "join code," you can enter it on the sign-up page. Otherwise, you can go on to create a profile with basic information about yourself, such as your gender, your major, your college or university, and your level of education. You can also include additional information, like whether you have religious affiliations. All of these details help the app tailor your list; the more information you provide, the better your chances at finding scholarships that are a good fit.
But before you get started, know that Scholly isn't free. A subscription costs $3.75 a month or $45 for a year. However, that charge may be worth it since Scholly connects you with about 20,000 scholarship opportunities.
The next step is up to you: sort through scholarships, start your essays, and apply.
Julissa Treviño is a writer and journalist based in Texas. Her work has appeared in BBC Future, CityLab, Columbia Journalism Review, The Dallas Morning News, Racked, Teen Vogue and other publications. She enjoys traveling, playing with makeup, biking and trying new food. Follow her @JulissaTrevino. Read more by Julissa Treviño