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High Stakes Testing

Aug 24, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Chances are if you’re on scholarships.com, you probably care about boosting your application to scholarships or colleges. The standardized test can be a huge plus for good test takers or a major stressor for others. Here are some general guidelines to help you make your testing plan and decisions easier.

  • Timing. There are many rumors about what dates have a better curve but essentially for the SAT or the ACT, it’s all about making the most of your studying. For instance, remember that if you schedule a test for January or June, you might also be studying for midterm and final exams. The May exams are also infamous because that’s when the Advanced Placement tests occur. However, many students take the subject tests that correspond with their AP classes during the May exam. It’s important to remember that not all subject tests are offered every exam date, so you’ll want to plan those accordingly. If you’re planning on taking the SAT, remember that the last date for the current version is January 2016. Finally, don’t wait too long to take the test. Many students do better their second or third time around, and you want to give yourself the chance to learn from your mistakes.
  • Studying. The ACT and the SAT are two distinctly different tests as some students will see greater variation between test scores than others. The general word of caution is to take a full practice exam before you take the real test. Try waking up early one weekend and replicating the exam scenario as completely as possible; this will give you the best estimate of your score. Remember that simple things like reading the newspaper or a challenging book can improve your score as well.
  • Stay Positive. Your score is not everything in your college or scholarship application. More and more schools are disregarding test scores in favor of essays, extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation. The worst thing you could do for your application is put all of your bets into your SAT or ACT score. So if you find yourself a terrible test taker, that’s okay. Find something else that you’re fantastic at, and make it noticeable. One of the best pieces of advice I got was that if a school turns you down because of your test scores, you probably don’t want to be there to begin with.
  • You are not a test score. Always remember that.

    Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Thought you had adequate privacy on Facebook? Think again. Though there are various privacy settings offered by the social networking website, Harvard University student Aran Khanna, who was scheduled to intern at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters in Palo Alto, California, found a major privacy glitch in the Messenger app. As a public service, Khanna created Marauder's Map from his dormitory – an app that used existing data to show the danger in unintentionally sharing data. After a Facebook HR representative had contacted and told him to deactivate the app, as well as avoid talking to the press, Khanna complied and in turn, had his scheduled summer internship rescinded.

Khanna explored the Facebook Messenger issue, just as it had been by the CNET in 2012, so this was no new discovery. Rather, he claims his code was able to simply "read data that was already on your screen and display it on a map." Facebook officials claimed this violated user agreement by extracting data from the site. In reality, Khanna had used the data from his own personal messages, not data exclusive to employees. Facebook issued a statement shortly thereafter, addressing the Messenger app update. Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld claimed, "you have full control over when and how you share your location information." Furthermore, Facebook claims they had been working on the update “for a few months” before Khanna’s post and that “this isn't the sort of thing that can happen in a week.” Khanna never made it to his first day interning at Facebook and expressed his sentiments in his article for TIME Magazine and an academic paper in the Harvard Journal Technology Science. Khanna was offered and accepted another internship at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley and claims he uses the entire event as a learning experience.

Do you have the same computer skills and passion for technology as Khanna? Want to be the next tech genius? Find how you can qualify for computer science scholarships and other technology-based awards if you have aspirations to land prestigious internships and admission to your dream college by conducting a free scholarship search today.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Despite mass-campus shootings such as Virginia Tech that have the public questioning the safety of college campuses, the U.S. Department found that 93 percent of violence against students occurs off-campus. Currently, approximately 4,400 colleges and universities prohibit carrying firearms. However, states such as Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin allow concealed guns at some level. Pro-gun movement is rapidly increasing, as evident with the push of the Senate Bill 68 and Florida House Bill 4001, which would permit loaded and concealed arms on campus at Florida State University. Republican Greg Steube and Florida State Senator Greg Evers believe the mere absence of prohibition would lessen gun violence. Additionaly, “a gun-free campus creates a sanctuary campus and safe haven for rapists and criminals,” Steube explained in an interview. Supporters of the legislation believe it upholds the Second Amendment, which grants the right to bear arms, especially for protection purposes. So far the Florida League of Women Voters has opposed the bill and plans to do so again.

Not everyone feels so safe with the prospect of students being cocked and loaded. The majority of university presidents and campus law enforcement oppose the bill which would put the now-safe environments on high-alert. Anti-gun activists of the Florida League of Women Voters have been firm in their stand on gun control since 1990. Especially in college environments where there are drugs and alcohol present, guns further threaten the well-being of students and increase risk of injury or even, fatality. Other potential issues include: decrease in academic focus, accidental firings, dormitory theft, student suicide, distinguishing armed civilians from assailants, and so forth. If successfully passed, Florida will be the ninth state to implement such legislation, as early as fall of 2016.

Do you believe concealed guns should be permitted on college campuses? Would you feel safer knowing your peers are armed? Furthermore, if you have a passion for gun laws or criminal justice, as well as other fields of study, conduct a free scholarship search to see how your can fund your college education, today.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Emily Rabinowitz

It seems like to get into college these days students have to be involved in nearly everything: sports, debate team, internships, nonprofit volunteering, honor societies, part time jobs…the list of potential activities goes on. But how do you describe yourself adequately without breaking the cardinal rule of the college essay: Do Not Regurgitate Your Resume? Here’s a little metaphor to help break it down.

Imagine that all the different pieces of you are embodied in ingredients to your favorite meal. Your volunteering is the pasta, your creativity is the tomato, your leadership is the salt, that time you lost the championship game is the garlic…and so on. Now imagine that your college essay is the recipe and it has to tell the admissions officer, the cook, how to make your Mom’s famous spaghetti.

To make her sauce it is important to have the right proportions: how many tomatoes, how much salt and how much garlic? A list of ingredients is nothing without the amounts and neither is your application. Did you spend a year on a research project? Have you volunteered since you were in elementary school? Look to the length of your involvement for signs of character growth, project manifestation, and endurance.

Once you put the ingredients in the pot, you have to heat them up. You have to stir it to just the right temperature so that the scent fills the air around you. The circumstances of your involvement are important too. Did you finish the race despite all odds? Did you try something new? How did it change you? In what way did you interact with your environment to accomplish something?

Then there’s the secret ingredient, the one that Mom’s grandmother’s grandmother whispered in her ear years ago. It’s the ingredient that lets the sauce linger on your taste buds just a second longer so you can savor the taste. In your essay, it’s what creates the perfect picture of you. For me, it was sharing my biggest hopes and dreams, for you it might be describing the way your hands shook when you held the trophy, or the feeling of your first paycheck. It is something unchangeable, something only cultivated by a true connection between the reader and the writer.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Erica Lewis

Many students find an area of interest outside the classroom to be involved in during high school, but being involved in extracurricular activities at college has a significant impact on your education experience and even future career. It allows you to build your resume, make new friends and provides scholarship opportunities that you might not have otherwise known about.

During the first few weeks of classes, clubs are trying to recruit new members at full force. It’s a great opportunity to discover what programs your school offers that best fit your interests. I would suggest starting out with multiple clubs and then sticking with the ones that interest you the most. Many majors have their own club, but you don’t have to be in a major to be in a club, just a desire to partake in what they offer. One of the best things about being in students organizations is the people you meet. Many organizations bring in professionals to talk about resume building, job applications and of course scholarships.

Another thing that I enjoy about clubs is the opportunity to meet other students taking the same classes as you and get advice from students who have already taken challenging courses. It’s always nice to have someone you can go to when studying for a big exam. My closest friends at college today stemmed from the relationships started in the clubs I joined. Not only do we see each other at club events, but we also enjoy doing fun activities together as well.

My biggest piece of advice with clubs is to seek out the ones that interest you the most and stick with the ones that you feel provide you with the opportunities you desire. Although clubs greatly enhance your college experience, you don’t want to become so involved that your GPA takes a hit. Personalize your college experience and utilize the resources your school offers.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Lights, camera, backlash. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood films have been criticized for glamorizing violence and criminals - undermining the severity and reality of actual, tragic events. Similarly, there have been multiple occasions where violent movies have been used as inspiration to concoct and devise murder plots. Ideas can come with severe consequences, and recently-filmed "Del Playa," set to release in October already faces condemnation for too closely resembling the 2014 serial murder in Isla Vista, California near the University of California-Santa Barbara. The Huffington Post records an ongoing petition of over 23,000 signatures to change the film's title and donate proceeds to a memorial fund. Kate Nollner, who wrote the petition, claims that the film "intentionally seeks to commoditize the death of six beloved students... it not only justifies the motives behind the Isla Vista gunman, but also glorifies his actions."

In 2014, Santa Barbara City college student Elliot Rodger, 22, had stabbed, shot, and killed 6 students and injured 14 others on his rampage before committing suicide. The trailer, already released, illustrates a bullied and abused adolescent man who primarily seeks revenge for being rejected by women. Prior to the incident, Rodger had posted a YouTube video stating his planned "day of retribution," claiming, "You girls aren't attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it." Filmmaker Shaun Hart apologized in an interview stating, the "film is not about Elliot Rodger... it is meant to portray incidents that take place, not only in Santa Barbara, but across the country on a daily basis."

Currently, no changes have been made to the release, title, or plot of "Del Playa." What is sure, is that it will continue to be of heavy controversy - so in your opinion, would the movie be beneficial for exposure on the issues of bullying? Or should it be stopped from release? Also, if you are a fan of film production and wish to explore the scholarships out there to fund your college education, conduct a free scholarship search to see the film-related scholarships.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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College News

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“Dorm”-estic Bliss

Aug 12, 2015

by Christina Zhou

Unless you’re rooming with someone you already know, a college roommate can be a wild card. For many, this is the first time that they are sharing their living space for an extended period of time. As a result, tensions can run high if you aren’t careful, dragging down both your mood and possibly even your GPA. In order to maintain a good relationship with your roommate and avoid explosions in your dorm room, try some of the following tips.

  • Make rules early on. Chances are, you and your roommate will have some different habits. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but drawing up some general guidelines at the start of the school year will let you both know what to expect. (Defining what “neat” entails is a great start.)
  • Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Passive aggressiveness gets you nowhere. Try to address problems when they are small, and in an open, non-confrontational manner. In addition, a little occasional compromising goes a long way.
  • Have a fun shared activity. It can be something short and sweet. Some simple ideas would include going out to eat, participating in a club or even just going to the gym.
  • Take breaks from each other. Even the best of friends need to separate occasionally. It’s healthy for both of you to have other friends and interests. The last thing you want is to give off the impression of being an impenetrable duo.
  • Don’t try to force it. Sometimes your roommate may end up being your best friend. On the other hand, clicking on a higher level than "roommate", may just not be in the deck of cards. Maybe you two don't have similar interests or personalities that qualify each other as friendship material. Just because you were randomly paired up, doesn't mean you have to like each other to the point of friendship. If that’s the case, don’t worry! Being courteous is a must, but friendship is not something that can be forced. If you let resentments fester and don't really speak into how you feel, you plant the seed to a toxic relationship, that will one day blow up. Nothing is more awkward than living with someone you're not speaking with!
  • And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

It may be finally time to let someone else write the tuition check for you. With tuition costs increasing annually, what better time to apply for and attend college than now? Some top tier companies such as Starbucks, Bank of America, Google, Nike, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have begun to offer programs that cover four-year tuition costs in higher education. Why are companies being so generous? Take it as a "thank you" from your employer to you for your hard work, intelligence, pursuit of higher education.

You may be wondering: "What is the catch?" Depending on the employer, students may be expected to repay the money if they terminate work contract with their employer provider. Furthermore, you may be expected to complete your degree within a certain time period, through online learning, or at particular institution. Whether you are at the undergraduate or graduate level, SHRM estimates over 50 percent of employers cover tuition costs at both education levels.

Make sure to read all the guidelines and restrictions when determining your eligibility, as certain companies may expect a minimum GPA. On a positive note, not all companies are particular about students’ major, and are open to a wide field of studies. According to the Chicago Tribune, some annual caps could be $5,250 per student – this is still sufficient to cover a healthy portion of tuition.

To see if you qualify, conduct thorough research on the eligibility criteria and read the fine print offered by your employer. Take this opportunity to finance your college dreams, especially if you may not have to pay a penny. In addition, look at other ways you can earn free money for college by exploring some of our scholarships and conduct a free scholarship search today. With so many chances at earning free college money, how can you pass up the opportunity?

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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College and the Economy , College Costs

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by Emily Rabinowitz

There are three common options for submitting your application to college. Early decision is a binding agreement stating that if you are accepted you will attend that school regardless of the cost or which program you are accepted to. Early action is simply submitting you application early and receiving your decision earlier. Regular decision is when you submit your application on the normal deadline and hear back in the spring.

There’s a lot of debate over which type of decision process is easier to get into. Generally, the caveat with Early Decision is that you are in a smaller pool of applicants, all of whom are as attached to that school as you are. This might mean that the acceptance rate is lower in fact for early decision applications. However, some people argue that applying early decision shows a school you are dedicated. That was the argument my parents used. It was an alluring one, you could know your college by Winter Break.

If you’re like me though, the thought of committing to a school without knowing all of your options terrifies you. That’s okay. There are many reasons why you might be wary of early decision even if your parents are ready to jump the gun.

Both of my parents went to their safety school; they did not have the option of a dream school. They wanted me to have every possible chance of acceptance at the best school. What I had to help them understand was that I did not know which school was my dream school. I applied to 12 schools, many of them reach schools that all had stellar reputations. The idea of turning down one school for another without even knowing the financial aid, honors, or other options I might have, did not make sense to me.

Eventually I convinced my parents that there was not a significant enough advantage to early decision to make committing worth it for me. I told them I wanted to see all of my financial aid options, compare career programs, and look into the fine details of where I was going to be for the next four years. Now that I am committed to my school, I can honestly say I do not regret doing regular decision. In fact, filling out the dozen applications helped me see which schools I liked better, and the long wait illuminated which school I was desperate to know about. In the end, by the time I got my acceptance to NYU, I had already decided I would go there in the fall.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Scholarships.com Staff

Amid concerns our educational system is failing a large percentage of our students, particularly African American students, a national report released by American College Testing (ACT) shows many African American students lack college readiness. While these students were able to fulfill the requirements and pass all recommended high school courses, they lagged behind their peers in terms of higher education preparedness. This according to a new report from ACT and United Negro College Fund.

"Even when they are doing what they are supposed to do in terms of taking the recommended college preparatory curriculum and earning a high school diploma, too many lack sufficient preparation for first-year college courses", said Jim Larimore, ACT’s chief officer for advancement of underserved learners.

ACT suggests that schools start monitoring students' progress in earlier grades, develop tougher high school core courses, and ensure support and attention for off-target students.

We certainly hope that your elementary, middle and high schools are providing you with the education and support you need to pursue a college education. Visit Scholarships.com to start your free college scholarship search and find free money to go towards your college education.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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