July 9, 2008
Dorms are filled to the brim with students your age, and therein lies their charm. But after finding a group of people you enjoy spending time with, their appeal slowly fades. Dorms are cramped, noisy, and, eventually, old news. But before you can hug your RA goodbye, you need to find an apartment, and that takes some planning. The following tips can help you find the best-suited home at a reasonable price.
Determine Boundaries. Before the apartment hop begins, establish a general search boundary. Off-campus apartments may be cheaper, but, depending on location, the class hike may be substantial. Decide which is the bigger priority, finance or location, and be realistic about how far you are willing to walk—in boots on a rainy, snowy day—to your perfect residence.
Get a Head Start. If you attend a large state school, chances are, you have options. But you can only be as picky as the time allows. Begin your apartment search early, around December or January. If you wait until the summer months to find an apartment for the upcoming year, you may find your options slim. Stake your claim before someone else can.
Look at Reviews. What you don’t see when you visit an apartment—the unreachable repairman, the stinky, bug-ridden basement—may come back to haunt you. One of the best ways to gauge a potential home is by seeking out feedback from previous tenants. Reviews of landlords and apartments can frequently be found in campus newspapers, both on and offline. You may also want to ask around. Satisfied and disgruntled students alike are often willing to let you know what they think.
Budget. When budgeting, you have to consider paying for school, for residence, for food, for leisure, for holiday gifts, for transportation, for emergencies and so on. If you're an apartment penny pincher, it's best to limit surprises. Ask landlords about any city or tenant fees that may be tacked on to the lease, and find out if if gas, water, parking or an internet/cable package are included. If you don’t plan to stay on campus during the summer months, also ask about a 10-month lease option. The need for apartments drops during the summertime, and many students have a hard time finding individuals willing to sublet at full price. By asking the right questions and budgeting accordingly, you can avoid many such problems down the road.
July 8, 2008
As if the application process was not enough, the ACT, SAT, GRE etc. not sufficiently stressful, some students must also worry about acing a college interview. Those who wish to enroll in certain undergraduate or graduate school programs may find that the interview is simply unavoidable. Because interviews cannot be proofread by an older sibling, students can use the following pointers to prepare themselves for the big day.
Location is Key. Before moving on to the content, finalize the basics. Confirm the address and time of the interview, and plan out the best way to reach your location. If possible, visit the meeting place beforehand. If not, at least arrive early. Realizing that the campus layout is confusing, the buildings ambiguously marked and the office hidden in a building labyrinth is not the optimal start to your interview. You need to arrive (outwardly) calm, (seemingly) confident and obviously on time.
Do Your Homework. Interviewers want to hear the following: you want to attend this school; you have a clear, original reason for wanting to pursue your degree, and you’re mature and ready to benefit their institution (as a current student and accomplished graduate). Be prepared to convince them of the aforementioned. Browse the school website, and be prepared to drop some names, numbers or facts. For example, let the interviewer know how the department’s A to B student teacher ratio was impressive, exactly what you had hoped to find, and how very much you would like to help professors C, D or E with their latest research project—it perfectly aligns with your career interests.
Leave a Lasting Impression. Having worked in an admission’s department and attended a board meeting where professors decided the future of incoming (or not incoming) students, I was surprised to see how seriously the interview process was taken. Yes, the board reviewed and heavily emphasized a student's course experience and GPA—over sub sandwiches—but it also paid attention to a student's presentation. Professors remarked about dress code, about how carefully a student considered his or her career goals and about formality. From this I learned that you should dress to impress; prepare specific, original details about current and future goals, and express how important your interview and goals are to you.
July 7, 2008
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), a free-market organization that studies and advances the freedom of philosophy, is administrating the $2,000 Eugene S. Thorpe scholarship essay award for writers of all ages. The award was established in memory of Eugene S. Thorpe, a supporter of FEE and a firm believer in hard work, free trade, small government and self-reliance.
Students, writers, educators and business professionals of all ages and locations are eligible to apply. Interested individuals must submit a 2,000 to 3,000 word-essay addressing Adam Smith’s claim that, “The division of labor is limited by the extent of the market.” The essay must answer the following questions: 1. “What light does this shed on the current movement toward globalization?” 2. “Are the dangers in having government facilitate it in any affirmative way?”
Prize: 1. $2,000 2. Winner’s article will be published in The Freeman.
Eligibility: 1. The competition is open to writers of all ages, including students, freelance writers, educators and business professionals. (Students need not be majoring in journalism or political science to apply.) 2. Applicants cannot be FEE employees or their immediate family members, trustees or editors or columnists of The Freeman.
Deadline: August 15, 2008
Required Material: 1. A 2,000 to 3,000 word essay that is written in English, titled, double spaced and typed in 12-point font. Essays must be nonfiction, and citations should be included within the text. Submissions must be the original work of the writer or writers and may not have been previously published. 2. Essays must be submitted as an email attachment to FEE. The email should include the author’s first and last name, address, and phone number.
Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship search results.
July 3, 2008
A college education is an expensive purchase. It’s certainly an investment, but an expensive one nonetheless. Many students are forced to take out thousands in student loans to afford college, but some are so close to paying for school that accumulating college debt on account of minor need would be a shame.
For many such students, tuition installment plans may be a good option. Certain colleges and universities allow students to split up their semester or trimester payments into monthly installments. They pair up with one or more tuition installment plan companies which administer the services, and make the option of enrolling available to those who are interested.
Students and parents who receive steady paychecks and those awaiting college scholarship or grant awards may benefit from the tuition installment plan option. Such plans are interest free, but, unfortunately, they are not cost free. Individuals who use tuition installment plans usually have to pay administering companies annual enrollment fees or finance charges, ones that usually average between $30 and $60. Certain participating colleges may also ask that those enrolled pay a large portion of their college tuition and fees up front.
Students considering a tuition installment plan should contact their college financial aid office to find out if the plan is available and, if so, what fees are involved.
July 2, 2008
On Tuesday, ACT and College Board (the administrators of the ACT and SAT tests) released a conversion table that could be used to compare scores of students who completed either exam. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the table was based on a study of more than 300,000 students who had taken both tests between 2004 and 2006.
The two test providers release a similar table every few years, but the latest chart was a necessary update due to a change in the SAT format. In 2005, College Board added a new mandatory writing section to their exam, one that is optional for ACT takers. To better assist college administrators in making their admissions decisions, the new table predicts the SAT scores of students who chose to opt out of the ACT writing section as well as of those who completed all portions of the exam.
Students who did not take the writing section and received a score of 21 (the average composite score on the ACT), could expect a combined critical reading and math score of 990 on the SAT. Those who chose to complete the writing section of the ACT and received a composite English and writing score of 20 could expect to receive a 490 on the writing portion of the SAT.
College Board stressed that the comparisons were estimates and that a student’s results on one test did not necessarily ensure the suggested equivalent. The company stated that, “In general, the scores should not be compared. However, we understand that our constituents, particularly members of the admissions community, have a need to assess the test scores of students, some of whom might have taken the SAT, while others might have taken the ACT.”
July 1, 2008
Despite an initial House split over some of the bill’s provisions—an incident which nearly doomed approval by the House—an agreement on the veteran college aid bill was reached by both Congress and the President. On June 30, President Bush signed into law the bill which would, among other things, provide veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars additional assistance in affording a college education.
The new law—similar in content to the WWII GI Bill—will call for an increase in the college financial aid awarded to troops who have served in either war for a minimum of three years. Sufficient assistance to pay for the most expensive public college or university in their respective states will be available to the veterans. Those who are eligible will also receive a monthly stipend to offset housing costs and other college-related expenditures.
The legislation will more than double the federal funding veterans previously received for a postsecondary education. Even those who are not currently planning for college can benefit as the money may be transferred to a veteran's child or spouse.
Perhaps the more controversial part of the bill was that which allocated $162 billion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to ABC News, the new funds would bring the total amount approved for war expenditures to about $850 billion over the last five years. In reference to the bill, President Bush stated that, "Our nation has no greater responsibility than to support our men in women in uniform - especially because we're at war."
June 30, 2008
The Tea Council of the US, an organization of tea packers, importers and allied industries within the United States, is sponsoring the Calm-A-Sutra of Tea $20,000 Scholarship Competition . Students who are interested in applying will have to come up with a creative video that demonstrates an interesting way of drinking tea and mentions the health-related benefits of the beverage. Judges will consider the health-related content, the creativity and the individuality of submissions. Last year’s applicants had exceptionally kooky ideas, so applicants will have to stretch imaginations to their fullest. For such a large dollar amount, it’s worth it.
1. One $20,000 Scholarship
1. Applicants must be legal residents of the U.S. or Puerto Rico. 2. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age as of May 8, 2008.
August 6, 2008
A one to two minute Internet video that describes the benefits of drinking tea and portrays a unique way of drinking it
June 27, 2008
Kathy L. Hardy, her two daughters and two other associates are being charged for having allegedly taken out numerous fraudulent private student loans since 2005. The five women were accused of having received a combined sum of more than $690,000 by filling out over 70 student loan applications, reported U.S. News.
Though many of the loan applications were denied, a number of lenders, including Sallie Mae, the biggest student lender in the business, lent tens of thousands to the applicants. By using stolen Social Security numbers and the information of victims whose names resembled their own, the five women were able to slip by lender verifications.
The FBI's investigation into the matter began when one of the victims complained that someone had taken out a loan under her name. Upon further investigation, it was found that the women alleged to have been at fault had stolen numerous identities—including one that belong to a deceased person—to collect money.
The case raised concerns that the stealing of identities to obtain private student loans may be too simple. Because private student loans are easier to obtain than Federal Stafford and Perkins Loans, and because private student loans are not sent directly to colleges and universities, the potential for fraud may be considerable.
To minimize the chance that similar problems will arise in the future, a congressional provision that would force student lenders to forward loans directly to schools is being considered. The suggestion has received mixed reviews from lenders who, one hand, would like to eliminate the possibility of fraud, and, on the other, want to facilitate the borrowing process for potential customers.
June 26, 2008
On Tuesday, a Senate panel approved a budget that would increase, among other things, the Pell Grant funding for the 2009 school year. Currently, students who demonstrate financial need—as determined by a Department of Education's FAFSA calculation—can receive no more than $4,300 in Pell Grant money, but not all eligible students receive the full sum. For the upcoming year, the Pell Grant cap will be $4,731. If the Senate panel’s budget is approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and by the Senate, students could be eligible for up to $4,800.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Senate panel’s bill would also provide new funding for the TRIO program, a seven-part financial aid initiative created to aid students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those facing circumstances that might hinder their academic pursuits. Additionally, it would provide colleges and universities with more money to pay for the Perkins Loan forgiveness program, one wherein colleges cancel the loans of students who enter select public service fields.
Today, the new initiative will move from the Senate panel to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and, if approved, it will be voted on by the Senate. Any differences between the Senate and House versions will have to be ironed out, and, only then, will President Bush have the option of signing.
June 25, 2008
Senior year is a breeze right? Yeah right. Between homework, standardized testing, applications and internships, things couldn’t be further from the truth. And for those of you who decide to enroll in advanced placement classes, things could get hectic. But you will get through it, and you can do so successfully. The tips below may help you manage the schedule you have and obtain the grades you want.
Don’t ignore the second semester. After all applications are sent out, once the preliminary acceptance letters are received, it’s easy to breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, AP classes are still in session during the second semester, and pushing through these final months can make or break your scores. Advanced Placement classes require serious effort; obtain the rewards that accompany them.Prioritize test material. Most teachers will, to some extent, emphasize test material during class discussions. They know that AP classes are difficult, and they want you to succeed on final exams. Take note when you hear that something may show up on the test. Ultimately, you only have so much time in your schedule, and, if you can’t learn everything, at least learn what you need to know to earn a passing score.
AP first. All classes are important, but AP ones offer college credit potential. Therefore, when possible, address assignments dealing with these classes first. Once you have applied to schools, your overall GPA won’t be a major issue—assuming it does not drop drastically—but AP scores will. If you can’t give all classes full attention, at least address the ones that can lessen your college workload.
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