October 5, 2007
If you think that $140 is too much to pay for a GRE exam, wait until you see the extra fees. In addition to this year’s $25 increase (up from last year’s $115), there are charges for just about everything one can be charged for.
Before I rant, I must admit that financial assistance for low-income students is available. Those who applied for financial aid and were determined to have an expected family contribution (EFC) lower than $1,400 or $1,800—based on dependency status—can pay $70. But, like I said, the EFC must be below $1,400 or $1,800.
For everyone else, especially for the numerous students who repeat the test, the cost can be a bit much. As if the graduate school application costs weren’t already bad enough. Here is what you may be dealing with:
1. Are you applying to more than four schools? Pay up. For every school above that number, students must pay an extra $15 shipping fee. I thought stamps were $.41?
2. Did your car break down? You better find a new ride to the test--unless you want to pay a $50 test center change fee.
3. Did something unexpected come up? Let’s hope it happened ten days before the test. Students who need to reschedule their testing date will have to announce their decision at least ten days prior to the exam—and they’ll be charged $50. And the rescheduled date must occur before a new testing year begins.
4. Do you need to cancel the test? You must do so ten days in advance, and only 50% of your money will be returned. Even retail return policies are more lenient.
5. In a hurry to send out applications? You will know your verbal and quantitative scores immediately after the test, but early writing scores will cost you $12.
6. Are you uncertain about the validity of your score? You can pay to have the test checked for someone else’s errors, for only $30. That’s just for the quantitative and verbal scores. Writing section scoring will cost you $50. The lengthy writing pieces are little over three pages—that’s about $150 per hour. All right, it’s only $75 per hour; two people are checking.
7. Need to pinpoint your weak areas? A $50 service can help. For $50, you can find out which questions were answered incorrectly and what the correct answers were.
Of course, all fees are subject to change without notice, probably not for the better.
October 4, 2007
In high school, students were limited to more or less five core subjects. Yes, additional extras were offered, but the list wasn’t very extensive. Once students enter college, it becomes obvious that there is much more to choose from. And additional career options translate into additional entrance tests. Don’t be stumped when your friends rattle off their stressful exam plans. Below are top testing acronyms—no need to be confused.
ACT- The American College Test (ACT), like the SAT, is a college entrance test. It is usually taken during a student’s junior or early senior year of high school. Most colleges take ACT or SAT scores into consideration when making admissions’ decisions.
AP- The Advanced Placement (AP) test is taken by high school students who wish to receive college credit for their high school work. Test takers have usually taken advanced placement classes in high school. Students who score sufficiently well in one or more of the subject options (there are over thirty), may be able to bypass certain college class requirements.
DAT- The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is for students who wish to enter the field of dentistry. In addition to general academic skill, the test measures knowledge of scientific information and perceptual ability. Because it is more than four hours long (not counting breaks), you can say that it measures stamina as well.
GMAT- The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is used to assess a student’s readiness for business school. Plenty of students attempt the test during their senior year of college, but there are many others who wait a few years. Many business schools look for applicants with sufficient work experience, and that may require a few years of full-time work.
GRE- The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is less major specific. Students with a wide range of interests and plans take the GRE before entering graduate school. The test is composed of three sections, the Quantitative Reasoning, the Verbal Reasoning, and the Analytical Writing.
LSAT- The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a test taken by students who wish to attend law school. It may be retaken, but unlike the GRE, it is only offered a few times per year. The test measures a taker’s reasoning skills more than it does their acquired knowledge.
MCAT- The Medical College Admissions Tests (MCAT) tests a student’s preparation for medical school. It tests both thought process and acquired scientific knowledge. Like the DAT, the MCAT is very time consuming.
NCLEX-RN- The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) is taken by students pursing a career in nursing. It is used to determine if students are ready to become registered nurses (RN) and composed of four major categories and eight subcategories.
PSAT- The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is a preparatory version of the SAT. Students who take the test, in addition to working out their brain, may get the chance to compete for national merit scholarships based on scores.
SAT- The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a college entrance exam for high school students. Most students choose to take this test during their junior or senior year. The majority of colleges require that students submit either an SAT or an ACT score as a part of their application package. Depending on the college, one, the other, or neither may be required.
September 14, 2007
Pell Grants and Stafford Loans are well-known sources of government aid, but the selectively gift-bearing award letters that announce them don't have the final say when it comes to government assistance. Free FAFSA awards are an excellent source of college funding, but not all students are eligible because of their need-based component. Luckily, the government also awards assistance that is not need-based, and students may comfortably apply knowing that government programs are scam-free. Then again…Never mind.
Here are just a few options:
Scholarship for Military Children: With the help of the Scholarship for Military Children, children of active duty personnel, reserve and guard military members and deceased military members can find college funding. Students who apply must be under the age of 21 and be planning to enroll in college the following fall. Applicants must also meet the 3.0 minimum GPA requirement and must submit a completed application, transcript and a short essay. Numerous students will be selected to receive the $1,500 scholarship prize.
Morris K. Udall Foundation Scholarship: The Morris K. Udall Foundation, a scholarship program created in honor of Mr. Udall’s 30 year contribution to the House of Representatives, intends to award 80 scholarships and 50 honorable mentions to sophomore and junior-year college students. Prizes will be awarded to students who dedicate themselves to a career dealing with the environment, one in tribal public policy or one in Native American health care. Award winners will each receive prizes of up to $5,000. An 800-word essay, a completed application, three letters of recommendation and school transcripts are required.
strong>Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service (SFS): Put on your trench coat and go incognito. This is a cool scholarship for students who were dead serious about John Grisham novels. The Scholarship for Service program seeks to promote entrance into the government’s fields of information assurance and computer security. Award winners are to participate in academic programs dealing with information assurance during their last two college years—this applies to undergraduates, graduates and Ph.D. aspirants. They will also take part in a government internship program and become a part of the FCS, an organization responsible for ensuring the protection of the US Government information infrastructure. Winners will be required to work with the government for two years following their graduation. Because colleges act as scholarship intermediaries, interested students should contact their financial aid office to see if their school is a program participant.
CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program: The CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program is open to high school seniors and college sophomores looking to enroll in a 4-year college program. Winners will apply their academic skills to assisting CIA professionals during their summer breaks. After graduating, winners will be required to work with the Agency for a period equal to 1.5 times the length of the college sponsorship. In exchange for their work, students will be given an annual salary, health insurance and up to $18,000 per year in college cost coverage. Trips to and from work in Washington, D.C. will also be paid for.
These are only a few of the many scholarship opportunities available to high school and college students. To find more government and non-government sponsored scholarship and grant programs, you may visit Scholarships.com. At Scholarships.com, students can complete a profile that will allow them to find information on financial aid opportunities that specifically match their eligibility qualifications.
September 11, 2007
High schools and colleges throughout the world, and even within the U.S., have developed varying methods for assessing the academic progress of students. It is therefore understandable that students have expressed uncertainty about converting their grades into the standard 4.0 GPA format.
Students whose schools operate on a U.S. letter scale can find their GPA by adding the numbers that correspond with their letter grades (the conversion chart is shown below) and dividing the total by the number of classes they have taken. For example, if a student took three classes and received an “A” (4) in two classes and a “B” (3) in the third, their GPA would be a 3.67 (11/3)
Although some scholarship providers don’t take GPA into account during the evaluation process, there are others that do. To ensure that only the most relevant awards are shown, Scholarships.com asks that students provide the best estimate of their high school or college GPA.
Sometimes, this may prove to be challenging. Things can get confusing enough for U.S. students whose schools operate on 5.0 point scales, percentage scales or letter scales. Foreign students who study in the U.S. may be even more stumped by attempts to translate grades from a completely different system.
In both cases, students should try to approximate their high school or college performance. If, after filling out their profile, students are still in doubt, they should contact the scholarship providers whose awards they are interested in. The provider can then make a final decision on whether the student qualifies for their scholarship.
U.S. Grading Scales
Scholarships.com asks students to provide their GPA on a 4.0 point scale. Students with GPAs that are greater than 4.0 (weighed GPAs) should record a 4.0 GPA on their Scholarships.com profile. If a scholarship provider asks for the student’s GPA, they may then provide them with more exact information. Below is a rubric for commonly accepted U.S. high school grade conversions as determined by the Department of Education. Undergraduate institutions have similar conversion charts but often consider scores below a 65% an “F”.
4.0 A 90-100%
3.0 B 80-89%
2.0 C 70-79%
1.0 D 60-69%
0.0 F under 60%
International Grading Scales
When a student’s school operates on a completely different scaling system, they may have no choice but to estimate. Students in countries such as Slovakia will have to flip their number scales to make sure that their “A”, a 1, will not be confused with the U.S. “D”, also a 1. Students from France, Greece and Peru will have to divide their GPAs by five to find the U.S. equivalent (their scale goes up to twenty). When in doubt, students should contact individual providers to find out if they qualify for their award.
August 28, 2007
In the world of financial aid there are many different forms of assistance available
to students and each serves a slightly different purpose than the other. Many students
assume that words like scholarship, grant, fellowship, internship, and student loan
are interchangeable. They are not, however, and the consequences of misunderstanding
which form of financial aid you are looking for or receiving can be far reaching.
For each variety of assistance there are different tax stipulations, service requirements,
and repayment expectations attached. Any student on the hunt for financial aid should
know what he’s looking for, what he’s found, what the award requires and how it
will help him achieve his college goals.
are financial awards given to eligible students with no strings attached. Typically,
if you win a standard scholarship, unless it is renewable, your interaction with
the donor ends the day you receive your check. According to the IRS, if you are
not pursuing a degree, the entire scholarship is taxable. For those students using
the scholarship for college, any portion used for tuition, fees, books, and supplies
is not taxable. Any funds remaining after your expenses are paid for, however, are
subject to tax. There is not typically a service requirement or other stipulation
attached to the scholarship upon receipt of the award, however, you should check
to be certain. Scholarships are offered in many varieties—sweepstakes, essays, competitions—for
traditional and non-traditional students alike. Occasionally scholarships require
that you do a specified amount of community service after receiving the award.
Like scholarships grants are a cash award that does not need to be repaid. There are federal
grants, state grants, and grants issued by private businesses and organizations.
Many undergraduate students greatly depend on government grants to get them through
college. Why shouldn’t they? As long as students qualify financially, all they need
to do is fill out a FAFSA. Aside from the
government sponsored grant program, most grants are awarded to graduate students
who need help funding research or who intent to enter a specific field. Grant amounts
range greatly. They may be $100, $100,000, etc. Graduate school grants are not typically
used toward tuition, but rather, they are usually used for any expenses necessary
to complete your research.
Fellowships are typically awarded to pursuers of graduate or doctoral degrees. Although
providers don’t seek repayment, they will frequently ask that students perform research
work as a part of the deal. The work may be tedious, but it is usually worth the
effort; it is not uncommon for stipends, in addition to tuition coverage, to be
a part of the fellowship package. Fellowships tend to be lucrative, and they can
get pretty competitive. Students who demonstrate exceptional merit are usually the
Most students know the difference between a scholarship and an internship, however,
for those that need clarification an internship is an opportunity to work within
a business or organization that you would otherwise need a degree to hold a position
in. While some internships offer monthly stipends for students participating in
their programs, others are unpaid. There are many professions that require students
to have participated in an internship program before they can be hired as an employee.
It’s a good idea to find out how most professionals in your field of interest secured
a position in their field because you will likely discover that without the help
of an internship most would not be where they are today. When you are considering
an internship there are several things to think about before you accept a position.
Ask yourself: How will it help me? What is the time commitment? Is there a stipend?
And of course, is there a possibility for employment after the internship?
Believe it or not, student loans qualify as financial assistance; however, loans are a form of low-interest debt that must eventually be repaid. There is a limit to how much financial assistance
a student can receive from student loans which is usually determined by how great
the financial need of the student is. For the students who do not qualify for a
need-based grant but do not have enough cash to pay for tuition, student loans are
a good option. An added benefit is that most loans do not begin accumulating interest
until 6 to 12 months after you graduate and monthly payments are also delayed until
Copyright © 1998 - 2013 Scholarships.com,
Scholarships.comTM All Rights Reserved
Scholarships.com, LLC, Publisher