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College Applications - Start Early and Revise Often

Jul 17, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

To all the seniors...

Take a deep breath. The most common piece of advice for high school seniors is to start your applications early and that's because it's true...but it doesn't have to ruin your summer! The Common Application essay prompts are already out and the 2015-2016 Common App opens on August 1st. Some of you are probably staring at a list of 6 to 12 schools wondering how you'll manage to write all those essays, pay for all those application fees and keep track of those deadlines. It's possible, though: We can do this together.

As someone who applied to 11 schools, my best advice for writing lots of essays is to start them all. Grab a journal and write down the prompts and your initial ideas. Carry that journal with you and keep track of anything that comes to your mind. Try setting the timer for 20 minutes, playing your favorite album and simply writing. If that doesn't give you any ideas, sit down with your parents or another adult that knows you well and just talk about what has shaped you as an individual. Remember that your first drafts are simply drafts; the advantage of starting early is that you can revise and think it through over and over again.

To reduce the anxiety, print out a calendar and map out your deadlines. You can try color coding your schools, scholarship deadlines and other big events. Write in when you are going to send the essays to editors and when you are going to submit them to your colleges. Remember, The Common App and other systems get really busy on the major deadline days so submit early to avoid technical difficulties. It's also a good idea to share this calendar with your parents and estimate how much your applications will cost. In addition to the application fee, your high school might have transcript fees so consider that as well and plan in advance where this money will come from.

Have you started the college application process yet? What has worked for you thus far?

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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Posing Racial Identities May Increase Chances in College Admission?

Jul 16, 2015

by Susan Dutca

In a progressive society where it is becoming increasingly common to live out the way you feel rather than based on your biological, genetic composition, there has been an increase in the cases of trans-identities that are not only related to gender. As in Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlin Jenner, those who wish to better suit their desired identity have pursued physical alterations. A little left of the spotlight, the case of civil rights activist and teacher Rachel Dolezal’s physical, transracial transformation went unnoticed until her parents revealed that their daughter is of European descent. As Dolezal daringly redefines ethnic identity, she is bringing momentum to issues of transracial identities. This raises question as to which identity should be used when it comes to grey areas in the world of education- where there are educational awards, scholarships, and incentives specifically for born-African Americans.

Dolezal feared, on multiple occasions, people would “blow her cover.” How secure then, is Dolezal in her identity of a black female? With a quick hair change to long, blonde dreadlocks and blackface- a process in darkening the skin to make it appear blacker, Dolezal metamorphosed into a convincing African American woman. Dolezal insists she has identified as African American since she was five years old. If Dolezal had applied to Howard University as a Caucasian female, would she have been accepted as easily? According to her father, most likely not. Dolezal’s father asserts, "You've got a white woman coming in that got a full-ride scholarship to the black Harvard.” It seems in this case, a student can earn scholarships of choice by simply reassigning their demographics.

In your opinion, how should colleges approach issues of transracial identities when it comes to admissions and scholarships? Should traditional, race-based scholarships be exclusive to one's biological race?

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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Why Students Should Use Scholarship Websites

Jul 15, 2015

by Genevieve Grant

Why should you use scholarship websites? How should you use them? And what are the chances of you actually getting scholarships off of these sites? I had the opportunity to interview Scholarships.com VP Kevin Ladd and here's what I found.

Scholarships.com is a space for scholarship providers to manage their own submissions, so what you see is what you get. The scholarships offered on this site are then more up to date than some of the other sites out there. Some tips for using this site included using it frequently, constantly looking for new postings and maintaining your profile so your information is current. Also a pro tip from Kevin: "If you can use a single essay for more than one scholarship application, DO IT. Just make sure that you are still following the instructions and not cutting corners."

Timing and organization are also important. Sort your scholarship results based on the time of year with larger dollar amounts at the top of the list in the fall and by deadline date in the spring so you don't miss applying for anything. Though this is not to say that there is any one "good" time to apply for scholarships; rather, you should continuously apply for as many as you can throughout the year, regardless if you're in your junior year of high school or your senior year of college.

I also asked about the kinks. What are people put off by when using the site? The two biggest drawbacks are users having too many results and not knowing where to start, and also the profile to some, is asking for too much detail. In response to that, Kevin stated that users "will get even better results by spending a bit more time and providing a bit more information." That being said, it's okay to brag about what you do! Give them the entire list of all the activities, sports and clubs you participate in, all the details about awards you've received, internships, research you've done, even where you've worked. It'll pay off!

If it isn't easy enough, I'll make it easier. You're already at the leading site for scholarships so just click Scholarhips.com to fill out your free profile now. Don't waste another second and let someone take away the money you deserve.

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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The Pros and Cons of Commuting

Jul 15, 2015

by Ashley Grego

Commuting from home is awesome or awful depending on the student. Do the benefits of commuting outweigh the negatives? As a commuter student, I have firsthand experience with the pros as well as the cons.

  1. Boredom: Some colleges are simply limited on the activities students can participate in, which can cause students to become bored easily. As a commuter, however, I know the surrounding areas of my college and never really get bored. If there is nothing on campus, I just hang out friends and do something we would have done in high school like local sporting events or concerts.
  2. Comfort: The hardest thing for many freshmen is adjusting to college life. I didn't have this issue: I get to come home to my family every day, limiting homesickness. My regular schedule has not changed and if I need my parents urgently, they are not far from my reach.
  3. Time Management: Going to college is a big jump from the previous independence most high school students have experienced but the lack of structure can negatively impact your time management. Commuting from home gives you a sample of independence without removing the safety net. Yes, college requires more energy, reading, studying and participation in general; however, living at home means I rely on parents a little bit so I can focus on my studies and not constantly worry about a healthy non-cafeteria meal or laundry. Mom helps me out!
  4. Saving Money: Probably the biggest benefit of commuting from home is saving money. Sure, I pay gas to drive to campus but its total expense does not compare to the cost of room and board. For a family like mine who does not receive any financial aid but still could use it, commuting from home seemed like the best option to save.

Commuting from home is not for everybody but for some, it is really the perfect fit. And if it isn't? Use the money you saved to move onto or closer to campus further into your college years.

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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“Sexting” Education Curriculum Implemented in LA Schools

Jul 14, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

For the first time this fall, high school students in the Los Angeles, California area will be participating in a new addition to the curriculum, “Sext” Education. KNX 1070’s Mark Austin Thomas reports the L.A. Unified School District has put together a plan that will educate students on the dangers of sharing sexually-explicit photos via texting and the Internet. Each school in the district will receive lesson plans, supplemented by videos and handouts for the students.

A 2011 national Pew survey found that, while only 3 percent of teens with cellphones sent naked or near-naked photos or videos of themselves, 21 percent of teens ages 14-17 claimed they had received them. District Police Chief Steven Zipperman says the campaign will teach students about violations of child pornography and obscenity laws that can come with sexting, along with the personal consequences. The primary focus of the effort is to get students to really think before they hit “send”.

Holly Priebe-Diaz, the District’s intervention coordinator, believes “We don’t have the exact number on how big or how widespread the problem is specific to our district, but we do know that I’s a growing trend. So we want to try to get ahead of it and raise awareness for all of our students.”

Texas Professor, Jeff Temple who has co-authored a sexting study, hopes the curriculum gives facts without exaggerating the risks of sexting, and emphasized the importance of consent.

Do you think "Sext" education classes are inappropriate to implement in a high school curriculum? Have you been a part of, or witnessed a scenario where "sexting" became a problem?

Your opinion matters, let it be heard on a college campus where you can impact thousands of your peers. Begin your college search and allow the experts to determine which college best suits your needs by filling out a quick profile at Scholarships.com.

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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The Many Benefits of Honors Programs

Jul 13, 2015

by Erica Lewis

There are many opportunities that come from being a good student in high school...and I don't just mean scholarships. Many colleges have honors programs, which give students the chance to meet other high-achieving students and challenge themselves even more academically. There are many advantages to being in an honors program, such as opportunities to meet with professors one-on-one, take classes with other honors students and build your resume.

Honors program members have the chance to get to know their professors more personally and meet faculty that many students may not have to opportunity to meet. I'm in the honors program at UNL and I enjoy getting to know my professors more than just seeing them at the front of the room during lectures.

You may also be eligible for priority registration or special classes offered only to honors program students. These classes are specifically designed for honors students and are smaller in size compared to the typical class. You can get to know your professor and classmates really well in this setting. In fact, I have met some of my best friends have through the honors courses at UNL!

Being in an honors program is a great resume builder as well. Once you start college, your high school resume is essentially null and void so you pretty much have to start over. An honors program looks good on a resume because it shows that you have put in extra effort for those classes and aren't afraid of a challenge.

If you have the opportunity to join the honors program at your school, I strongly recommend it. It is an excellent way to meet professors, students and build your resume. It may require a little extra work, but trust me: It's worth it!

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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Obama Modern Day Robin Hood? Steal from the Hardworking, Give to the Poor

Jul 10, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Under the Obama administration, the motto “work hard, play harder” is continually being redefined to “work hard, pay harder”. According to The Wall Street Journal, a new plan is being finalized that will allow millions of low-income Americans to slash their monthly student-debt bills, in turn raising taxpayer costs for the government’s mushrooming student-loan portfolio. This week the Education Department proposed to expand eligibility for the Pay As You Earn program, which sets borrowers’ monthly payments as a small share of their income.

Education Department officials report that six million more Americans will become eligible this autumn for PAYE. The program caps monthly loan payments at 10 percent of discretionary income, defined as the amount above 150 percent of the poverty level. Well-paid graduates and those working minimum-wage jobs will be paying equivalent proportions of their income towards their student debt. While low-income borrowers who have incurred an unusually large federal debt reap the benefits of the revised program, a majority of college graduates and taxpayers will continue to suffer.

With a current outstanding student debt of $1.2 trillion, the White House continues to give people an economic incentive not to repay a loan. Because these loans are issued regardless of the borrower’s ability to repay, opponents of PAYE say the loans fund basic living expenses with tens of thousands of borrowers consuming aid even when they’re not enrolled for courses. Universities have also taken advantage of the flawed program, offering to pay student’s monthly bills under PAYE while simultaneously raising tuitions. The loans are turning into six-figure grants, debts the taxpayers incur.

Is the Obama Administration setting a double standard, promoting income equality, yet essentially paying young people not to pursue higher incomes? Is PAYE a program that allows those enrolled to take advantage of the system, while punishing those who work hard for their money?

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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“Queer Sphere” Gains Visibility and Recognition in Higher Education

Jul 7, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Whether it’s Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer outlining his journey from the world’s greatest athlete, to a surgery which induced womanhood, or actress Laverne Cox breaking the trans glass ceiling in the Netflix’s hit series, Orange Is the New Black, where a trans woman is actually played by a trans woman, the transgender community continues to break the boundaries of social acceptance. The transgender push for equality has now shattered the Higher Education glass ceiling. According to the Washington Post, starting next fall, University of California applicants will be the first wave of students given the option to signal their sexual orientation and any number of gender identities on their application.

This change is one of several new accommodations the university has made in effort to make the campus as inclusive as possible. “I think it introduces the kind of welcoming environment we want to have just by introducing the question on the first thing students will see, which is the application they’re filling out. We think it’s very important,” said Pamela Brown, vice president for institutional research and academic planning, who serves on the system-wide-advisory council on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.

UC undergraduate program applicants will now have the option to answer the following questions:

How do you describe yourself?(Mark one answer)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans Male/Trans Man
  • Trans Female/Trans Woman
  • Genderqueer/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Different Identity

What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?

  • Male
  • Female

Do you consider yourself to be (Mark one answer):

  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not listed above (please specify)

The university hopes to one day implement these options in graduate study and employment applications. The information will enable them to track such students in order to monitor graduation rates and determine if the support available is sufficient.

President Janet Napolitano, who pushed for these changes with the creation of a task force last summer said “it doesn’t stop [here] – we must continue to look at where we can improve so everyone at UC feels respected and supported.”

University officials note that an applicant’s answer to any of the questions holds no bearing on chances for admission.

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!

Comments (79)

Colleges Respond to Poll Showing 20 Percent of Female Students Sexually Assaulted

Jul 6, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Students attending colleges and universities across the United States in 2015 can look forward to new U.S. regulations aimed to protect them against a rising rate of sexual assaults on campus. In attempt to increase responsibility for ending sexual assaults on campus, American colleges and universities will have to follow stricter reporting requirements for sexual assault allegations. In addition, they must provide clear options to those who report an incident of suspected abuse and provide prevention training for students and college employees.

The measures, provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, went into effect July 1st. The new regulations were fueled by several studies and polls showing a drastic spike in sexual assault rates across American college campuses. In a poll that was released last month by the Washington Post and The Kaiser Family Foundation, results showed 20 percent of female and five percent of male college students had been victims of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses during the past four years. The poll surveyed over 1,000 people that either attended or lived on or near a campus and more than 500 colleges across the country.

Tracy Sefl, a board member of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in America believes “increased awareness has led to increased recognition of the problem.”

By increasing awareness, advocates of the new regulations hope to flip the script on the astonishing findings that only 12 percent of sexual assault victims report the attacks to their college or local police. Dana Bolger, co-founder of Know Your IX, explains the dilemma a victim faces. “We know that most victims were assaulted by a friend or partner, and there can be a lot of confusion and doubt that comes along with that experience, and hesitation to report [someone] you know or love.”

Do you feel the negative stigma attached to sexual assault victims should bear enough weight to deter them from reporting the crime? Would you feel comfortable reporting a friend or loved one to the university or police? Why or why not?

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!

Comments (5)

How to Ensure a Successful College Visit

Jul 6, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Summer is in full swing and for most high school students, that means it's time for college tours! Throughout my four years of high school, I visited and toured nearly 20 different universities to find what worked for me. In an effort to ease your college touring adventures, here's what helped me:

  • Plan ahead. During the summer and school breaks, college tours fill up quickly. Remember to book your tour, hotel and other details in advance. Try not to plan too many visits on the same day, as tours can be a lot of walking.
  • Get in touch with Great Aunt Millie. Whether they're across the country or in a neighboring state, chances are you know someone who can serve as an "excuse" to visit that school you've been dreaming of. If you don't have family near one of your schools, consider finding a fun family attraction nearby; after long days of college tours, everyone needs a little fun! (Pro tip: Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio is awesome if you're taking a road trip to visit Midwest schools!)
  • Communication is key. Even though it may seem like it, your parents can't read your mind so tell them what is important to you in a school. In my experience, parents can use a reminder that college applications are hard and time consuming; the tour process is mainly to help you decide which schools you will apply to.
  • Stay positive. Remember that college is a buyer's market: When looking at schools, you have the deciding power. The more you can see yourself at a school, the better your application will be. Trust me, the readers will see this as they review your materials.
  • Be honest with yourself. If you're like me, you started off with over 20 potential schools. At some point, you'll need to cross some off the list. Listen to your gut and trust that you will end up somewhere great!
  • 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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