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Getting to Know Pencils of Promise’s Rachele Aidala (Part 2)

PoP’s Community Engagement Coordinator Talks Plans and Pop Stars with Scholarships.com

September 20, 2012

Getting to Know Pencils of Promise’s Rachele Aidala (Part 2)

by Suada Kolovic

  • According to PoP’s website, 100% of online donations go directly towards educational programs. How is the organization able to make such a huge contribution? At PoP we know how important it is for supporters to know where their contribution is going. We promise that 100% of all funds donated or raised online will go directly towards education programs, 0% towards overhead. We separately raise the funds necessary to cover our operating expenses through private and offline donations. This system allows supporters to exclusively impact the lives of those they seek to empower.
  • Are there any exciting campaigns launching soon that you can share with Scholarships.com’s readers? There’s an exciting opportunity for Scholarship.com readers this fall. Pencils of Promise is awarding scholarships to The Impossible Ones – the dreamers audacious enough to believe they can change the world and hungry enough to actually do it. PoP is awarding $5,000 in scholarships to students that join The Impossible Ones movement by fundraising to build schools in the developing world. Students who fundraise over $100 will be entered to win scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000. Additionally, each student who fundraises more than $1,000 will be entered to win a full Semester at Sea scholarship to travel the globe and earn 12-15 college credits. Students can sign up at www.impossibleones.org until October 31.
  • How can our readers get involved with PoP (donation, volunteer, internship, etc.)? There are many ways to get involved with PoP. If you’re looking to be part of the PoP family, we always have internship opportunities at our NYC headquarters. If you want to make a direct impact by fundraising, you can set up your own personal fundraising page on www.impossibleones.org. Students everywhere are doing incredible things to fundraise for PoP, like donating their birthday or taking on a physical challenge. The scholarships available through The Impossible Ones just makes getting involved that much more exciting.
  • How did Justin Bieber get involved and how is he using his star power to raise awareness about PoP? Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, is PoP founder Adam Braun’s brother. Justin has been an invaluable spokesperson for PoP. He uses his voice to advocate for global access to education, and encourages his fans to get involved as well.

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Getting to Know Pencils of Promise’s Rachele Aidala (Part 1)

PoP’s Community Engagement Coordinator Talks Plans and Pop Stars with Scholarships.com

September 18, 2012

Getting to Know Pencils of Promise’s Rachele Aidala (Part 1)

by Suada Kolovic

Scholarships.com readers, you saw it featured as one of our Scholarships of the Week but are you familiar with the grassroots movement Pencils of Promise (PoP)? If not, you’re in luck! We recently had the opportunity to interview PoP’s community engagement coordinator Rachele Aidala and asked her everything from how the organization was started and projections for the next year to how one of the world’s biggest pop stars – the Biebs – got involved. Check out what she had to say below:

  • Let’s start with introductions: What is Pencils of Promise and what is your role within the organization? Pencils of Promise (PoP) believes every child should have access to quality education. We create schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all. Since 2008, PoP has built 67 schools in Southeast Asia and Latin America. We’ve educated over 4,500 children and positively impacted 65,000 lives. PoP founder Adam Braun was moved to create the organization after his experience traveling around the world. He encountered a young boy in India and asked him what he wanted most in the world. The child answered “a pencil.” It was then that the dream to build a school was born. Here we are, nearly four years later, on track to build 100 schools by the end of the 2012. Sixty-one million children around the world don’t have access to primary school education, so we have a lot of work ahead of us. I’m the Community Engagement Coordinator, which means I get to work with all of our incredible supporters. You wouldn’t believe the power of our students across the country. They’re in their schools and on their campuses rallying their peers around education for all. They run clubs, host awareness events, and fundraise to build PoP schools. It’s a huge privilege to work with such passionate dedicated supporters.
  • How pivotal was social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in the growth of PoP? As an organization that works for and with youth around the world, we know the importance of communicating on their platforms, on their terms. For most youth and Generation X professionals, that form of communication is social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or blogging. We are best able to engage with the PoP community over social media, which greatly contributes to our growth as an organization.
  • What earned PoP the largest social media following of any nonprofit in the last four years? When you’re a lean non-profit that’s also a scrappy startup, you don’t have a big advertising budget. For PoP that meant focusing our time and energy on digital. With an online community of more than 300,000 members, it’s now paying off. Some people are obsessed with photos of kittens, I’m obsessed with photos of PoP kids in schools around the world. Social media allows us to connect our supporters with those students. The excitement of sharing photos of a newly-inaugurated school never gets old.
  • PoP’s built 67 schools to date – what are the projections for the next 12 months? Over the next 12 months, PoP is looking to expand its programming and geography. We’re working to expand our reach to new countries and expand our programming to incorporate teacher training and student scholarships abroad. An immediate goal of ours is to break ground on our 100th school in 2012. With 67 completed schools and nine ongoing builds, that will be a challenge, but at PoP we’re all about overcoming the impossible.

Stay tuned for the second part of our interview (oh, and those Bieber details) with Rachele tomorrow!


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California Legislators Approve Student Social Media Privacy Bill

by Suada Kolovic

If you’re a college student, chances are you have a healthy social media presence that includes a Facebook, Twitter and maybe even a blog…or two! And with real-world responsibilities (like getting a job) just around the corner, most students understand the importance of adjusting their privacy settings and keeping prospective employers prying eyes from their personal life. Despite this self-policing, reports have surfaced that employers have asked students to provide their social media names and passwords mid-interview...privacy shmivacy, right? California legislators, however, have put an end to that: The California State Senate on Tuesday approved a bill protecting the privacy of college students who use social media sites.

The author of the bill, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), said he was alarmed by reports of employers and college officials asking for account information to monitor students’ online activity. Instances have included University of California coaches asking student athletes to "friend" them on Facebook to assess their online activity, said UC spokesman Steve Montiel but that would be prohibited under Yee's bill. The lawmaker said students often post personal information (think: religion and sexual orientation) on social networking sites and the information should not be required by employers, coaches or other college officials. "California is set to end this unacceptable invasion of personal privacy," said Yee. Similar legislation has also recently passed in other states.

Protecting a student’s privacy is all well and good but what about the rest of the social media population? Should the bill’s provisions be altered? Let us know what you think.


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Student Punished for Creating Class Registration Website

by Suada Kolovic

Registering for college classes takes time, patience and, above all else, persistence. If you’re a college student, then you’re familiar with the frustrating process: It’s officially your last year and the only obstacle standing in your way from victoriously crossing that graduation stage is COM: 101 – a required course you’ve been putting off since your freshman year and as luck would have it, it’s full. Now what? An extra semester? Shouldn’t schools be obligated to offer an easier, better way to register for classes? Well, a student at the University of Central Florida came up with a solution...and now he’s on academic probation.

Tim Arnold, a senior at UCF, created U Could Finish, a website that notified students when a seat was available in a given class. While the site was helpful, officials argue that it violated portions of the tech policy that prohibited students from using university tools to make money (Arnold had been charging for use of his site, taking in a total of just $7.78, he revealed) and disrupted normal technology use. Arnold plans to appeal his sanctions, which also require him to write two papers and prevent him from holding student office. “I just feel that the actions they did were very extreme, considering my intent was to help students and not to intentionally subvert the rules,” he said.

What do you think of UCF’s handling of the situation? Was it fair to put a proactive student on academic probation for trying to solve a real-world problem?


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Graduate Early, Get Sued in Germany

German University Sues Student for Graduating Too Fast

July 10, 2012

Graduate Early, Get Sued in Germany

by Suada Kolovic

For most students, graduating college in just four years is the ideal and not the norm. So when a student comes along and graduates with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only three semesters, one would assume a parade of some sort would be in order. The Essen, Germany-based School of Economics and Management went a different route: they sued the student who accomplished this feat.

Earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree should take a typical student about 11 semesters and 60 exams to complete, yet Marcel Pohl did it in just 20 months. How’d he do it? With the help of two friends, Pohl divvied up lectures and swapped notes. Did we mention that in that time, he also completed an apprenticeship in a bank? Well, he managed to fit that in, too! Now, the school is crying foul and claiming “income loss” and suing for $3,772 – a fraction of the tuition and fees Pohl would have paid had he completed the degrees in the customary amount of time. "When I got the lawsuit, I thought it couldn't be true," Pohl recently told the German tabloid, Bild. "Performance is supposed to be worth something."

With a college education as expensive as it is, can you ever really graduate too early? Let us know what you think in the comments section.


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Questions to Ask Your Student Loan Servicer

by Suada Kolovic

If you’re a recent high school graduate, chances are you’re looking forward to the surge of independence that comes with becoming a college freshman. And while anticipating all the excitement that comes with entering college – meeting new people, establishing a home away from home, sleeping in until noon, etc. – establishing how you’re going to pay for it is an entirely different story. Here at Scholarships.com, we encourage students to apply for scholarships early and often but taking out student loans might be inevitable. With that being said, knowing what questions you should ask your student loan servicer might ease the transition and U.S. News and World Report has done some of the legwork for you by compiling a list of helpful questions that financial aid officers, student loan counselors and former lenders recommend you ask:

  • When exactly will my payments begin?
  • Do you have my current contact information on file?
  • What is my interest rate?
  • Is my interest rate competitive?
  • Is there any way to get an interest rate reduction?
  • Is consolidating my loans a good option for me?
  • How do I qualify for Interest-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment?
  • Do I qualify for an economic hardship deferment?
  • What happens if I lose my job?
  • If I go back to graduate school, what are my loan options?

Can you think of any other questions you’d like answers to? If so, feel free to let us know in the comments section.


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Employment Rates for Law School Graduates Lowest Since 1994

by Suada Kolovic

The notion that those who are well-educated are safeguarded from bleak employment rates doesn’t seem to hold true anymore: According to the National Association for Law Placement, recent law graduates face employment rates that have fallen to the lowest level since 1994.

Only 85.6 percent of 2011 law school graduates (whose employment status was known) had jobs nine months after leaving school – two percentage points lower than the employment levels of the 2010 graduates. Now that may not be reason to sound the alarm, but only 65.4 percent of 2011 graduates had jobs that required passing the bar exam. Ding! Ding!

"For members of the Class of 2011, caught as they were in the worst of the recession...the entry-level job market can only be described as brutal," the association's executive director James G. Leipold said in a written statement. "When this class took their LSATs and applied for law school, there were no signs that the legal economic boom was showing any signs of slowing and yet by the time they graduated, they faced what was arguably the worst entry-level legal-employment market in more than 30 years."

Future law students in the audience, what do you think of the news? With a law degree no longer translating into instant financial security, are you reconsidering your educational path?


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Win $1,000 in the Scholarship of the Week!

Zinch’s Weekly Three Sentence Essay Due June 4th

May 29, 2012

Win $1,000 in the Scholarship of the Week!

by Suada Kolovic

What better way is there to kick off summer break than an additional $1,000 to put towards your college education? Zinch’s Weekly Essay Contest will help you do just that and all you have to do is write a two to three sentence essay on the following prompt: If you could time travel to report on the front lines of any war in world history, which would you choose and what would you investigate?

All high school and college students (including international students) are eligible to participate. For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!


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SOTW: $2,000 No Essay College Scholarship

College Prowler is Accepting Entries Through May 31st

May 14, 2012

SOTW: $2,000 No Essay College Scholarship

by Suada Kolovic

Winning money for college is great but doing so without having to meet astronomical word counts and double-digit page requirements is even better. Lucky for you, the folks at College Prowler couldn’t agree more and have launched the $2,000 No Essay Scholarship.

The scholarship is open to all students and those planning on enrolling within 12 months. The monthly winner will be determined by random drawing and then contacted directly and announced on their Facebook page. One entry per person, but you can come back each month to try again. To apply, please visit College Prowler or complete a free scholarship search to find additional opportunities.


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Internships That Pay (and Pay Well!)

by Suada Kolovic

For college students, internships are viewed as a rite of passage, a box that has to be checked and a prerequisite for future ambitions. While attaining an internship is a success in its own right, finding one where you’ll be compensated in something other than experience is a challenge…but not necessarily impossible. A new report from Glassdoor lists the highest-rated companies that not only pay their interns but pay them insanely well. Check out some companies that made the cut below (for the full list, click here):


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