"We have a 96% success rate."
The success rates some services advertise indicate the percentage of students they've successfully matched with the database, not the number of students who actually receive money. So consider these claims carefully.
"Our database is unique."
Most scholarship databases overlap because they use similar methods to put together their databases—and many matching services buy their lists outright from a third party.
"You must use our service to qualify for aid."
Scholarship matching services don't control who wins a scholarship, they just match you to a list of awards.
"Awards are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Time is limited. Apply now!"
Don't let a matching service rush you into paying them money. Most scholarships have set deadlines; very few have rolling admissions.
"We compile our own database."
Some companies do build their own database, but many more don't. The company might be using the database, and sometimes the testimonials, of an independent company.
When evaluating scholarship-matching services, don't believe everything you read. Just because a service sends you a fancy envelope and has an official sounding name doesn't mean it's a legitimate operation. So be cautious—and happy hunting!