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Colleges Add Leadership Studies to Course Offerings

June 17, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

Courses and programming in leadership and leadership studies are the latest trend on college campuses looking to boost students’ resumes in a tough economy and competitive job market, and students at many of the schools have been signing up in droves.

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed described coursework at a number of colleges that focuses on both theories of leadership taught in the classroom, and practical experiences through internships and off-campus opportunities. While you can’t yet major in leadership, many schools are offering certificate programs in the field as a way for students to boast that specialized skill on their resumes and transcripts.

At the University of Iowa, students this fall will be able to enroll in a seven-course, 21-credit certificate in leadership studies, according to the article, that will supplement courses already offered by the school’s College of Business. According to administrators there, it was the students who wanted more than the college was already offering in terms of teaching them how to be leaders in not only business settings, but in all fields of study. Students who complete three classes in the sequence are then urged to take three credits in an internship setting, on-campus leadership position, or service-learning course. According to the article, administrators hope the work students have done up to that point learning the theories of leadership will translate to these experiences outside of the classroom.

What do you think? Should colleges be offering certificate programs in leadership, or instilling the values of leadership instead in existing coursework and internship opportunities? There is some criticism of the trend in Inside Higher Ed. Ed Koc, director of strategic and foundation research at the National Association of Colleges and Employers, says leadership isn’t the main thing employers look for when determining whether to hire a recent graduate. A student’s experiences rather than a certificate mentioned at the bottom of a resume may be more telling of leadership skills anyway, he said.

So how do you boost your leadership potential? Get involved in volunteer activities, or ask for more responsibility at your part-time job. Consider joining a club or campus group that could give you some experience organizing projects and working as part of a unit. While leadership is a good trait to have, so is the ability to work in a team and meet expectations. Expose yourself to a number of different experiences both on and off-campus to make yourself the best candidate for a job after college.

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NYU Looks for New Ways to Address High Cost of Attendance

June 16, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

It’s rare for a college to tell a prospective student that their school may not be affordable enough for them to attend come fall. For a year, New York University did just that, calling admitted students and their parents and families to talk about the debt they could get themselves into if they chose to attend the pricey college. Citing little effect on enrollment rates, however, the school will not be pursuing a similar effort this summer, according to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The purpose of the calls was to make sure students and parents were aware how much an education at the school cost long-term. NYU doesn’t offer as much “free money” in scholarships and grants as many other schools, leaving students no choice but to take out student loans to cover the more than $50,000 annual tuition, fees, and room and board bill. According to previous articles on the school’s efforts in The Chronicle, the 58 percent of students who carry debt loads once graduating from NYU do so with an average of more than $33,000 in student loans. (The national average hovers around $20,000.)

NYU won’t be abandoning all efforts to inform students and parents about the costs of attending the college. Administrators say they’re now looking for ways to make sure those admitted know of ways to finance the “significant investment” that is NYU, according to The Chronicle, and that these efforts need to start sooner rather than later when students are still deciding where to enroll. The college also plans to give students a more “general financial education” rather than giving them advice based on their specific circumstances. However, Randall C. Deike, NYU’s vice president for enrollment management, said in the Chronicle article that he has already told some students it may be better for them to start out at a less expensive college and then transfer to NYU later on.

NYU has gotten quite a bit of criticism lately from students graduating with mountains of debt, degrees in the humanities, and limited job prospects. One article last month in The New York Times took a look at Cortney Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of NYU with nearly $100,000 in student loan debt. Munna is saying she wasn’t counseled properly about the true cost of college and what it would be like to repay a loan that high once she was done at NYU. According to The New York Times article, it was NYU that suggested she take out an additional $40,000 private loan when she and her mother found that the lower-interest student loans didn’t cover all of the costs of attendance. The college has since said it would have been inappropriate for them to counsel Munna out of NYU, or to counsel her out of taking on more debt to remain at the school. Who is to blame here? Were Munna and her mother naïve in assuming they could handle the loan? Should private lenders consider students’ existing loan totals when doling out funds? Should the college have been more forthright?

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Report Shows Jobs Await Those with Degrees

June 15, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

As if you didn’t already have a number of reasons why you should go to college, a report being released today projects that the United States will face a shortage of college-educated workers by 2018.

The report comes from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, and describes a shift since the 1970s on the kind of training required to land jobs in sectors that will continue to see rapid growth as the economy improves. An article on the report in Inside Higher Ed today analyzes the specifics of the report:

  • By 2018, the economy will face a shortage of 3 million workers with associate’s degrees or higher and a shortage of 4.7 million workers with postsecondary certificates. (By that time, there will be 22 million jobs for new workers with college degrees.)
  • In 1973, 28 percent of jobs required post-secondary education, compared to 63 percent projected by 2018.
  • In 1970, 26 percent of the middle class had some post-secondary education, compared to 61 percent today.
  • In 1970, 44 percent of the upper class had some postsecondary education, compared to 81 percent today.

While the data certainly suggests going to college is a good game plan for those worried about their job prospects, it may also mean a shift for colleges to offer more programs in the fields that will see much of the projected growth. According to the report, those industries include health-care, government, private and public education, and the business and financial services. Jobs in the technology sector may taper off, as technological advancements make it more possible for companies to do the work required with fewer employees.

Inside Higher Ed suggests that the data could have an impact on high school students who do not have a clear vision of what they’d like their future careers to be. Some may opt for a more career-oriented program at a two-year college if there is a promise of employment on the horizon. Some schools already offer students incentive programs if they enter into certain majors. At Lansing Community College, students are guaranteed jobs after they complete a program at the school that focuses on training in high-demand fields.

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Safety Scholars Video Contest by Bridgestone

Scholarship of the Week Targets Aspiring Filmmakers

June 14, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

If you have a talent for video and already make short films for fun, you should look into video contest scholarships that could reward you with more than a reel of your movie-making abilities. This week’s Scholarship of the Week is one such award, offering $5,000 to those who come up with the most creative clips on promoting auto safety.

The Safety Scholars Video Contest by Bridgestone asks applicants to come up with short clips to serve as public service announcements on auto safety and what the youth set can do to drive more safely. Winners don’t only get scholarships; their videos run on television stations across the country, which could give you quite a bit of exposure. Don’t limit yourself if this video contest isn’t for you though. There are a number of awards out there for you aspiring filmmakers, and will probably be less competitive than awards that ask for a more traditional but less involved application. If you’re interested in this one though, get that camera out and start filming. (June is National Safety Month, after all.)

Prize:

Three finalists will receive $5,000 scholarships, payable to the accredited university, college, or trade school at which the winner is enrolled full-time. (Eligible high school students will receive their scholarships at the time of their enrollment in an institution of higher education post-graduation.) Those three finalists will also receive tickets to the Chicago Auto Show in February 2011, complete with round-trip air travel and accommodations.

Eligibility:

The video contest is open to legal permanent U.S. residents ages 16 through 21 who are enrolled full-time in accredited secondary, college level, or trade schools (or have plans to do so after their high school graduations).

Deadline:

July 1, 2010

Required Material:

Applicants are judged based on the concept/idea, effectiveness, and creativity of their video entries. Entries must be original videos of 25 to 55 seconds in length on one or more issues or topics related to auto safety and improving auto safety for drivers ages 16 through 21. Applicants must also complete an official entry form on Bridgestone’s Safety Scholars website.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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Want a Scholarship? Follow the Rules!

June 11, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

It can’t be a good feeling to know that you could have been a contender for a generous scholarship but for the one piece of the application you failed to send to the award provider. Or that you were this close to winning an award to help pay for college but missed the deadline on providing supplementary materials. We can’t stress enough how important it is to follow the rules on each scholarship you apply for exactly, because one small misstep will not only send you to the bottom of the pile, it will most certainly take you out of the running for an award.

Thanks to free scholarship searches like ours, it’s easier than ever before to find scholarships. The harder part is obviously applying, but don’t assume you’re eligible for an award after a casual glance over the requirements. Take a close look at what each scholarship requires of you, and, if available, the official rules of each award, to make sure you meet all of the criteria. If you need to request an application through the mail, write a formal letter that you’ve proofread for any errors. Once you’re ready to submit your scholarship application, take a look at everything again, or have a fresh pair of eyes look over your materials. Most scholarships have quite a few applicants vying for that same award you’re applying for, so don’t give the scholarship provider a reason to deny you your chance.

Your work’s not quite over once you’ve submitted your application, even if you’ve followed the guidelines of that award to the letter. Your work may not even be over after you’re told you’ve won a particular scholarship. Take our own Area of Study Scholarships as an example. If you’re chosen as a winner of one of the 13 scholarships, based on the field of study you provide when you fill out a Scholarships.com profile, you’re expected to follow through on a few steps to help us determine whether you’re truly eligible to receive the award. Follow the rules we provide and respond by the deadline we give you, and we’ll send you a check for $1,000 to help cover your college costs. If you fail to reply, we’ll pick another lucky winner in your place. If you reply after we’ve already chosen another winner, you’re out of luck.

It sounds simple, but there have been instances where scholarship winners forfeit their prizes because they fail to follow-up after an award is announced or miss important deadlines. Scholarship providers are in the business of helping you with your college costs, and the best thanks you could give is following directions and being timely with your responses. Good luck out there!

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Students Create Makeshift Study Spot to Address Cuts to Library Hours

June 10, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

It’s coming to the end of final exams at California State University in Los Angeles, but you won’t see students there studying at the library well into the night. You’ll see them in the make-shift “People’s Library,” an open air study spot outside the school’s main library set up by students looking for an answer to shortened library hours.

The “People’s Library” opened on June 1 as a response from students dealing with state budget cuts that have forced the college to cut library hours. The school’s library now closes at 8 p.m. each night, while the students’ version operates through midnight. According to an article today in the Los Angeles Times, the students have been using donated tables and chairs, and the campus’ lighting and electrical equipment. Free coffee is brewed to fuel the study sessions, and students have access to the Internet, a copier and a printer. According to the article, the students’ “library” has the support of administrators, despite initial resistance and concerns. (Administrators helped the students set up their electrical hook-ups safely.)

The state university system’s library budget was cut 20 percent overall this fiscal year. At Cal State L.A., student library assistant positions were cut from 19 to 11, and subscriptions to more than 400 print journals and 10 databases were canceled, potentially hampering students’ research capabilities. Although library attendance has decreased across the board, perhaps due to advances in technology and increases in access to the Internet thanks to wireless networks, it remains both a communal space and option for those who don’t have access to online tools at home or in the dorm, or who want a quiet place to study. According to the article, administrators will reconsider the main library’s operating hours for next year, although budget shortfalls will continue to dramatically affect the state’s university system.

Across California, institutions of higher education have been looking for ways to cope with millions of dollars in cuts in the state budget. At the University of California, a wait list was used for the first time in the school system’s history to allow the school to be more flexible in the number of students it enrolls for fall 2010. There and elsewhere, major school decisions are dependent upon what happens with the state budget.

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Dorm Room Living May Come With Unexpected Perks

June 9, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

Many of you have already made your decisions on the school you’ll be attending come fall. The next step (outside of the obvious, determining how you’ll pay for that choice and evaluating your financial aid letter) will be figuring out where you’ll be living once you’re on your chosen campus.

Many colleges will require freshmen to live in dorms, to build a sense of community and give those first-year students better access to campus offerings and guidance. You’ve probably heard quite a bit about communal living already, either through older siblings’ roommate horror stories or warnings of consuming too many calories in the dorm cafeterias. A number of recent articles have taken a lighter approach to dorm living, looking at the unique options you may have when determining where you’ll be spending most of your time come fall. (You may remember reading about college students demanding more from their dorms; it seems like schools are taking notice.)

One article in The New York Times took a look at dorm rooms that came with “bragging rights” and an air of celebrity about them. While wait lists for them are typically high, some students discover only after they’ve moved in that they’re bunking in the same space as a former politician, celebrity, or historical figure. Princeton University in particular has quite a few of these famous spaces—Michelle Obama had a single room there, and four freshmen currently live in Adlai E. Stevenson’s old room. (The school razed the building where James Stewart spent his evenings.) Yale University boasts Anderson Cooper’s and Paul Giamatti’s old rooms. While colleges are often hesitant to disclose where famous alums lived while attending their schools, the article suggests it’s not too hard to figure out using old yearbooks, and the Times piece alone discloses quite a few of the celebs’ previous addresses.

For those who would rather bring a furry friend from home to college than boast of their rooms’ history, a number of colleges have become more amendable to allowing students to bring the family pet to live with them in the dorms. Another recent Times article took a look at the trend, as colleges begin setting aside dorms specifically for pet owners. The dorms include daycare facilities for when students are in class—although hours are limited to prevent pet neglect—and other amenities staffed by work-study students interested in working with animals. According to that article, about a dozen colleges currently have policies allowing pets access to the dorms. Typically, the policies are limited to cats and small- to average-sized dogs.

What kinds of things will you be considering when you’re ready to make your housing choice? Are you looking for a more traditional dorm room experience, without the frills or additional options now offered by colleges?

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Craigslist Posting Suggests Students Selling Seats in Courses

June 8, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

A recent Craigslist posting has officials at Columbia Basin College trying to determine whether students looking to take advantage of scarce seats in popular college courses have been selling their spots to those desperate enough to pay money for the enrollment advantage.

The posting in question came from one such desperate student. According to an article yesterday in Inside Higher Ed, it came from a student looking to pay for a seat in Biology 160, a popular and required class for students in most of the school’s health profession programs. It is still unclear whether the posting was from a real student, or a student looking to stir up discussion on the school’s recent course cuts that have made the enrollment process more competitive, according to Inside Higher Ed.

A spokesman for the college said it was possible for students to sell their spots by telling student “buyers” exactly when they would drop the class in demand, according to the article. This would give a student a window to enroll in the class that other students may not know about. Most popular courses at the college that are over capacity fill any dropped spots within minutes anyway, the spokesman said, as students check in on those full classes on a regular basis just in case spots open up. An assistant professor interviewed for the article said she doubted the ad was real because of the hierarchical system of course enrollment at Columbia Basin. Students who really need to get into courses will do so as they get farther along in their programs, and get first dibs on many of their required courses before undergraduates with fewer credit hours to their names.

According to some of the comments on the Inside Higher Ed article, this isn’t a new phenomenon, and the Internet has made it easier for students to exchange money for course seats. Elsewhere, colleges have formalized the system of bidding. At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, MBA students participate in an online auction system when the demand for popular business electives exceeds supply. New students are given a set amount of points with which to bid, and receive more as they move through the program. Class spots then go to the highest bidder. In essence, the longer you’re at Wharton, the more seniority you have. That kind of system is common on college campuses anyway, although those with more credits may still arrange to drop courses they enroll in to have friends register immediately after in their place.

What do you think? Does this happen at your school? Or is this “problem” overblown? Let us know!

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Linda Craig Memorial Scholarship

June 7, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

If you’re a basketball fan who has been following the NBA playoffs the last few weeks, you should know that many of the professional teams you’ve been watching have foundations associated with them that raise money for youth and the college-bound. The Pacers Foundation is one such group, and their Linda Craig Memorial Scholarship is our Scholarship of the Week.

As the award is presented by the St. Vincent Sports Medicine Center, applicants must be more than sports fans, but majoring in medicine or a related field as well. (It’s always best to contact the scholarship provider about eligible majors before applying for such an award.) You may have also already guessed that the award targets those enrolled at Indiana colleges or universities, including two-year junior or community colleges. If you meet these requirements, you could have a shot at this award.  If you’re interested in other medical scholarships or even athletic scholarships, browse our listings on those pages or make sure to check those criteria off on your user profile.

Prize:

Two awards of $2,000 are given each year. Winners are notified every August.

Eligibility:

This scholarship targets undergraduates enrolled at Indiana colleges and universities. Students should have completed at least four semesters, and be majoring in medicine or a related discipline, such as sports medicine or physical therapy. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, be U.S. citizens, and boast leadership qualities.

Deadline:

July 1, 2010

Required Material:

Those interested in this scholarship should fill out an application provided by the Pacers Foundation. Applicants will also be asked to write a one-page personal statement, and provide a letter of recommendation and current college transcript.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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Family Fights Decision Blocking 13-Year-Old from College

June 4, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

You probably know all about dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses, two strategies used by high school students to get into college-level work sooner and set themselves up for graduating from college early (or even on time). But how early is too early to get started on that college education? Lake-Sumter Community College says 13.

Thirteen-year-old Anastasia Megan and her parents have filed an age-discrimination complaint against the community college with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to fight the school’s decision to reject Anastasia’s application for dual enrollment. According to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, Anastasia, a home-schooled student, has already breezed through her high school curriculum, and her parents say they no longer have the means to challenge her academically.

Officials at Lake-Sumter Community College say it would be inappropriate for Anastasia (or anyone of her age, as the college is unable to talk about the case specially) to enroll at the school because it could pose a safety risk. The college attracts a large number of adult students, and unlike a high school where there may be some limits as to who enters the school, Lake-Sumter is open to anyone who wishes to come onto the campus. In the article, the school’s president Charles Mojock says: “And we have many adult students having adult conversations on adult topics and that may or may not be suitable for some young students.” The growth in young applicants, some as young as 8 years old, even led the school to add a minimum-age requirement of 15, according to the article.

Anastasia’s parents, meanwhile, say their daughter is “well-suited” for college, and has experience among adults from a number of international trips she has taken with her parents and siblings. She has completed online college courses successfully, and had above-average scores on the college-placement tests required as part of the admissions process by Lake-Sumter. If the Department of Education rules on the side of the college, Anastasia’s parents said they may need to supplement their daughter’s education in other ways, perhaps by more world travel. Lake-Sumter is the only college in the area that Anastasia could attend that would not mean a move away from home for the family.

What do you think? Should Anastasia be allowed onto a college campus at 13? Should her parents look instead into high schools for gifted students that may allow her to socialize with kids her age? How young is too young for the college experience?

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