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SOTW: To Be Heard Scholarship Slam

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through September 8th

August 25, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Writing poetry is all about self-expression: being heard and being understood. We want to know all about what kinds of connections drive you, as both a person and poet, to speak truth and raise your voice.

When you write, who are you hoping will hear it? Your parents, your siblings, your classmates and friends? People from your past, or people you haven’t met yet? Do you write to forge new connections, or strengthen ones you've already got? To give yourself closure? To ask for help you need, or maybe to help somebody else? You might write without a specific person in mind – or you may just write just for yourself! No matter who you hope will hear you, write a poem, in any form or style you choose.

Power Poetry is accepting entries through September 8th. If you’re interested in learning more about this or other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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Tech Mistakes to Avoid as an Online Student

August 20, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Say what you will about Generation Y but one thing's for sure, they are one tech savvy group. Armed with smartphones, laptops and tablets, they are plugged in and on the go 24/7. And yet, so many students make the same tech mistakes repeatedly. (I’m looking at you, student who hasn't saved their work once in the past hour!) Luckily, U.S. News and World Report has compiled a list of mistakes to avoid when starting school as an online student, check them out below:

  • Not backing up your data: "If I had a nickel for every time a student came to me crying to me, I wouldn’t have to teach," says Margaret Reneau, an instructor in St. Xavier University's online graduate nursing program. Reneau recommends using the online file storage service Dropbox, which offers free accounts of at least two gigabytes. Other options include regular back-ups to an external hard drive or uploading homework to cloud-based Google Docs.
  • Not asking what browser is recommended for your program and courses: Check if your browser is compatible with the learning management system that your program uses and with the technical features in your courses.
  • Not checking your email: Check your school email regularly for important announcements or forward your school emails to your personal account if that's the account you rely on.
  • Not using apps: If your school offers an app, download it. Other apps such as Evernote can help with managing class work deadlines and projects.
  • Not downloading a free reference manager: Free academic software programs like Zotero and Mendeley help students save, manage and cite research resources. This can save students a lot of time by making it easier to collect, organize and share research.

For the full list of tips, head over to U.S. News and World Report. What do you think of the suggestions? Are there any you'd like to add? Share your thoughts in the comment section. And for more information on preparing for college, head over to our College Prep section!

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Win $1,000 Scholarship to "Pursue Your Passion"

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through August 31st

August 18, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Degreed wants to hear about your passion and your plan to pursue it.

Whether you're looking to study abroad, go to college, take an online course or attend a conference – Degreed will fund the learning opportunities you're passionate about. Why? They believe a person's education is a collection of all their learning and life experiences – not just a formal degree. They're here to level the playing field and give every individual the opportunity to continually learn, advance, and measure their true education.

Interested? All you need to do is complete the two criteria below:

  • Write a 3 Minute Essay. In 100 words, tell us how you'll use $1,000 to pursue learning that intrigues you!
  • Create a Degreed profile. Start documenting everything you are learning to demonstrate your passion, gain credit for your efforts, and ultimately measure your education. Degreed reviews all scholarship applicants' profiles; the final winner is selected by our scholarship committee and notified by email.

All US and international college students, graduate students, college graduates, and informal learners are eligible, age 18 or older are encouraged to apply. For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, please conduct a free scholarship search!

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Understanding Obama’s New Student Loan Plan

August 15, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With the final month of summer rapidly slipping away, now is the time to buckle down and finalize how you're going to fund your college education. Whether that entails a full-ride scholarship (way to go!), an impressive financial aid package or even necessary loans, it's important to understand your options. Some of you might even be considering President Obama's Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan...if you can figure out what it involves or if it's even an option. If you're confused about this plan, you're in luck: U.S. News and World Report has broken down the big questions you need answered below:

  • Will these updates help me? If you have federal student loans, maybe. Starting in 2015, borrowers who took out loans before October 2007 or stopped borrowing by October 2011 will be eligible to take advantage of the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan. Government officials estimate this includes an additional five million people.
  • How much could I save? Now, most federal loan borrowers are eligible for income-based repayment – a different repayment plan that has the same premise as Pay As You Earn. Unlike Pay As You Earn, however, IBR caps payments at 15 percent of one's disposable income and forgives the balance after 25 years of payments. Those differences could mean a lot, both in monthly payment amount and in the total amount paid over time.
  • Didn't the president mention loan refinancing too? He did, but in relation to a bill that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced last month called the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. This legislation would allow federal and private student loan borrowers with older, higher interest loans to consolidate them within the direct loan program at today's lower fixed interest rates. That bill still has to pass both the Senate and the House, something that may not happen because Republicans are opposed to paying for the bill with a gradual increase in tax rates for those in the higher income brackets.
  • What else should I know? There is still a long way to go before the president's executive action takes effect: December 2015 is the target implementation date. The overall plan includes quite a few other ideas that will make a difference to student loan borrowers, like improving financial incentives for federal student loan servicers to help borrowers stay out of default, making it easier for active-duty military to receive benefits and increasing communication partnerships with entities such as the IRS and tax companies to ensure consumers are aware of their higher education rights and benefits.

What do you think of the president's attempt to ease the financial burden associated with student loans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. And for more information on federal funding, visit our Financial Aid section.

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Princeton Review Ranks Top Party Schools

August 12, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Each year, the Princeton Review releases its comprehensive list of colleges ranked by the extracurricular and social offerings on their campuses, how happy their students are, and which are the most religious or LGBT-friendly, among countless other categories. But the distinction that gets the most attention year after year is the school the review dubbed as the top "party school" - an honor that may be lauded by students by dreaded by school administrators and parents. Interested in knowing who made the cut? Check out the top 10 below:

  1. Syracuse University
  2. University of Iowa
  3. University of California – Santa Barbara
  4. West Virginia University
  5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  6. Lehigh University
  7. Penn State University
  8. University of Wisconsin – Madison
  9. Bucknell University
  10. University of Florida

Curious as to how the ranking are determined? The Princeton Review collects its data based on survey responses from 130,000 students across more than 370 college campuses. The "party school" ranking comes from responses on alcohol and drug use, hours spent studying and how prevalent Greek life is on each campus. For more on their methodology, click here. And for more information on the schools listed or countless others, use our College Search tool today!

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SOTW: Do Something's Safe Driving Scholarship

This SOTW is Accepting Entries Through August 14th

August 11, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

At least 59 percent of young people know that texting and driving is dangerous... but 46 percent still admit to driving while distracted. When you text while driving at 55 mph, your eyes go off the road for the length of an entire football field. Tell your friends about the dangers of texting and driving to enter to win a $10,000 scholarship. After entering, Do Something will send you a free pair of "thumb socks" - a physical reminder to stop texting and driving. No minimum GPA or essays are required to qualify for this award so get started today!

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search!

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Five Unique College Majors to Consider

August 5, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

If you're heading to college in the fall, you'll be faced with a serious decision in the coming months: choosing the right major for you. And while there are myriad factors to consider when making your decision, reviewing the most popular college majors and the majors with the highest earning potential aren't bad places to start. But for those of you interested in something unique, USA Today has complied the list for you:

  1. Puppet Arts, University of Connecticut: If you're interested in an undergraduate degree in puppetry, UConn is your only option in the U.S. Getting in might be tough – enrollment is limited to 22 students – but graduates have gone on to work and perform in theatres, television shows and films.
  2. Bakery Science and Management, Kansas State University: KSU offers the only bakery science undergraduate program in the nation and graduates can pursue several jobs within the business. The school's website says bakery students can prepare themselves for "administrative, research, production, and executive positions."
  3. Viticulture and Enology, Cornell University: Though it only recently became an official major, students in the school’s viticulture program typically go on to work in wineries all over the nation.
  4. Secular Studies, Pitzer College: Phil Zuckerman, the school’s founder of the Secular Studies program, explained the degree’s main focus is about understanding secularity, secularism and secularization and how they relate to religion.
  5. Canadian Studies, Duke University: Duke is one of the few colleges in the nation to offer such a program and it’s operated like most history tracks.

Would you consider any of these far-from-mainstream majors? Do you think said majors would translate into success in the real world? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And for more advice on how to choose a college major and 10 things to consider before finalizing your decision, check out Scholarships.com College Prep section.

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Like Scholarships.com? Tell a Friend to Win $1,000 in This SOTW!

August 4, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

As a Scholarships.com member, you have free access to a customized scholarship search, detailed financial aid information, an organized college search, standardized test study guides and much more. Like what you see? Spread the word about Scholarships.com to your friends through our “Tell A Friend” Scholarship and you'll have a chance to win money for college - $1,000 for you and $500 for one of your buddies.

To enter, simply copy your personalized TAF referral link and blog it, tweet it, email it, IM it or Facebook it. For every one of your friends who creates a profile on our site by clicking your link, you will be entered to win a $1,000 award; there’s no limit as to how many people you can send your link to and if you win, one of your friends who created a Scholarships.com profile using your link will be chosen at random to win $500.

For more information, visit our Tell a Friend Scholarship page and for additional scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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College Students, Grab Those Scanner Guns: College Registries Are Becoming a Thing!

August 1, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

To my understanding, the general rule of thumb for a creating registry is as follows: any event marking a significant life change (marriage, baby, new home, etc.) warrants one. And while no one would argue that heading off to college would fit that description, only recently have college-bound students been encouraged to register for items that would smooth their transitions to college life.

Once reserved for brides and moms-to-be, big box retailers are opening up their gift registries to college students. Target rolled out a college registry in June and already thousands have signed up. "Our college-bound guests were looking for an easy way to manage lists and share them with friends and family online," said Jenna Reck, public relations manager for Target. "When we looked at the registry experience we already offered through the Target Wedding and Target Baby registries, we quickly realized that it was the right solution." The registry will be accessible year-round and is geared toward students in every stage of their campus lives. Other retailers including Bed Bath and Beyond, The Container Store and Walmart also have registries that cater to college students. (For more on this story, click here.)

What are your thoughts on college registries? Do you think they’re practical or tacky? Share your thoughts in the comments section. For more information on preparing for college and what to expect once you get there, look over our College Prep section.

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11 Colleges Where You Can Earn a Degree for Free

July 29, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

Here at Scholarships.com, we make a point to advocate the importance of funding your college education the right way (for free!) and while financing your higher education solely with scholarships is an amazing feat, there is another factor to consider: colleges with no tuition to be begin with. Yup, they totally exist – check out the 11 colleges below where you can earn a degree for free:

We should also mention that elite universities with healthy endowments also tout financial aid programs that pay 100 percent of tuition, room and board and fees for students from families with certain incomes – $75,000 or less at MIT, $65,000 or less at Harvard and Yale, and $60,000 of less at Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, Duke, Brown and Texas A&M. For a more detailed look at any of the schools listed or hundreds of other universities, check out our College Search. And let us know where you’re heading this fall in the comments section!

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