October 29, 2007
If you are planning to move out of your parent’s house when you go
back to school, you are probably going to have one or more roommates. Unique
challenges often arise when living with roommates, so it’s a good idea to learn
common roommate problems before you become one. By doing so, you will be
able to take steps to exhibit the traits of a good roommate. This knowledge will
also help you recognize and resolve conflicts.
Some of the most common roommate problems include:
Allowing such behaviors to go unchecked can permanently damage
roommate relationships, and can make a living situation unbearable. It’s
a good idea to establish roommate rules at the very beginning of the relationship
for the sake of avoiding roommate problems before they have a chance to develop.
October 16, 2007
When it’s time to starting making solid decisions about enrolling in college, many people have questions about how to choose a college major. Selecting a college major is a personal decision that involves you to spend time reflecting on your goals, likes, dislikes, skills, and aptitudes.
Selecting a college major is an important decision, and it is not one that should be made lightly. It is important to remember, however, that declaring a major is not an irreversible decision. It is not uncommon for college students to change majors one or more times after they enroll in college.
Some factors to consider when selecting a college major include:
The answers to these questions can help guide your selection of a college major. For example, if you held part time positions in retail while in high school and you absolutely hated the work, you can immediately scratch retail management off your list. However, if you enjoyed the part of the job that involved setting up product displays, you might seriously want to consider a major in visual merchandising. Of course, once you have all the answers to the "What" to study and "Where" to go to school, you should go to Scholarships.com for the answer to "How" am I going to pay for all of this?!?!
October 17, 2007
There are many factors to consider when choosing a college. Part of a successful college search process involves thinking about your school preferences and career plans, and identifying colleges that meet your needs.
Questions to ask yourself that can help with choosing the right college include:
The Scholarships.com free college search can help you locate colleges that meet your needs. The answers to these questions can help you narrow down your list of potential colleges. For example, if you find the idea of attending a very large university overwhelming, you can narrow your college search to smaller schools. If you want to live with your parents while attending college, you can narrow the list to include only schools within an easy commuting distance of your home.
October 18, 2007
For some individuals, a large state university is the best college choice. For others, a smaller school or private college might be the best selection. Before making a final decision to attend the largest university in your state, it is a good idea to consider the pros and cons of state universities.
State University Cons
For more information on choosing the right college, major, or even roommate, visit our resources section.
June 18, 2008
It’s no secret that the lives of an increasing number of college and high school students are filled with errands, homework assignments, social appointments and work. Managing the stress of infinite responsibilities can be difficult, but it's necessary to keep one's health and stress in check. If you, like so many others, are struggling with your schedule, take a step back. Read the following pointers on how to keep things together, and give your mind and body the healthy break they deserve.
Keep a planner. When your errands get out of control, it’s best to eliminate the head clutter—you need your brain cells for other things. Write down everything, birthdays, projects, groceries etc. Then cross things off one at a time; it will feel great. Having things on paper will free your memory and allow you to see what you’ve already accomplished--not just what’s left to accomplish.
See a Friend. Hmmm…Taking time off may seem counterproductive, but it’s a must. Getting lost in a world of errands is overwhelming, depressing, and stressful. Seeing a friend—even for a short lunch—can give you perspective, a reminder that life outside of work exists. More often than not, your friends are going, or have gone through, similar ordeals. Swap silly stories about your weird instructor, vent and rejuvenate your mind.
Multitask. Some say that working on two projects at once lengthens the time it takes to complete them, but that depends on the projects. If you have some clothes in the wash, get some homework done between loads. Waiting to meet that friend I told you about? Begin your reading assignment.
Stay Near the Nest. Travel adds up, and, unfortunately, it is often accepted as the unavoidable black hole of time. Well, don’t accept it. Keeping things close to home can greatly increase the time you have to get things done. When possible, commute to school. Take your dance and guitar lessons at a nearby studio. Shop and eat at stores and restaurants at arms length. Clock in for longer hours but fewer days. You get the picture.
August 6, 2008
November 25, 2008
It's hard to believe, but next week it will be December. While it's tempting to train your eyes on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the accompanying problem of consuming enough homecooked food to sustain you through finals, the next few months will be busy, especially if you're planning to apply for any sort of financial aid. Between your high school or college coursework and adjusting your schedule and budget to accommodate winter holidays, December and January tend to fly by. Since many scholarship application deadlines happen in December and January, now is the perfect time to do a quick scholarship search and double check that you don't miss out on applying for scholarships while you're in Thursday night's turkey-induced coma.
A Thanksgiving week scholarship application checklist:
December 24, 2008
Continuing on the college admissions theme from yesterday, there's a great piece in the Wall Street Journal about the dreaded college application process. If you're still struggling with those application essays or the thought of the college interview has you panicked, you might want to check out their tips from admissions officers at several competitive private colleges. Two things struck me when reading their tips. First, most of this sounds a lot like what I told my students as a college composition teaching assistant. Second, this advice can easily extend to writing effective scholarship essays.
Most of the advice falls into the category of "be yourself." Colleges aren't necessarily looking to admit the most indisputably brilliant students in the country, but rather individuals who will contribute to the campus community. The best tips the Wall Street Journal article offers, at least as far as admissions essays and writing scholarships go, are to choose essay topics that are meaningful to you (even unconventional ones) and to avoid polishing essays to death.
While it's tempting to go straight for the most impressive or altruistic thing you've done if you're asked to describe an experience, admission officials say it's better to go with a topic that actually reveals something about your character. This definitely goes for scholarship applications, too. In a stack of essays about volunteering in South America, your story about convincing your peers in the rural Midwest to walk the 12 blocks to school rather than drive may stand out more than you think. A seemingly mundane essay topic can be interesting if it's written well and it has a clear purpose.
As far as writing well goes, proofread (at the very least, check spelling and grammar and take out notes to yourself or your parents before submitting) but don't adopt such a formal style that all personality is lost. As long as an essay is written well and isn't way too informal (avoid slang, cursing, and stories of sex, drugs, and bodily functions), your essay is probably professional enough for most admission offices and scholarship essay contests. Even when you're applying for a law scholarship, writing like a lawyer isn't necessarily the recipe for success.
For more essay-writing tips, check out our resources section. To find somewhere to use this advice, you may want to use our college search and our scholarship search.
January 13, 2009
While the focus for many students right now is planning for and paying for the next year of college, some students are still struggling with bills from the current or previous semester. An e-mail survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers reports a perceived increase in unpaid tuition bills in the 2008-2009 academic year. While being caught short on one semester's tuition can seem stressful enough, it can carry serious consequences for college students.
For students with the funds to easily cover tuition, either through family income, college savings plans, or financial aid awards, the figure on their bursar bill may be unpleasant, but it is soon forgotten. However, carrying a bursar balance--in some cases, even a small one--can cut off your ability to register for classes, request transcripts, and even graduate, among other consequences. Students who are unable to pay for a semester by the school's deadline may even find themselves dropped from their classes and kicked off campus. These consequences can essentially derail your education, and many students who take a semester off from college to save money and pay off bills never go back to finish.
Luckily, as Kim Clark stresses in an article on the subject in U.S. News and World Report, universities are willing to work with students to keep them enrolled and get their bills paid, especially in the current economic climate. Many schools are establishing or adding to emergency loan and grant funds to help students stay in school. Federal student financial aid is also still available mid-term. You can still complete the FAFSA for 2008-2009 anytime before June 30. Even if you've already applied for the current year, talking to the financial aid office could still come through big time, especially if your circumstances have changed. Federal grants, as well as some campus-based programs may be available to students whose family contributions have significantly dipped. While Clark's article emphasizes the surprising success networking and asking family for donations can bring, conducting a scholarship search may be a safer bet. Most importantly, be sure to stay in communication with your school. You may have to deal with three different offices on campus, but don't get discouraged. The process may be more streamlined than you'd expect. It is possible to stay enrolled regardless of the financial troubles you're facing.
January 20, 2009
A frequent feature of this year's college application season has been discussion and debate surrounding the CollegeBoard's new Score Choice program, which allows students to select which SAT scores they want to submit as part of their college application packets. Schools are beginning to announce whether they will still require students to submit all SAT scores, and much ado is being made about whether students will use Score Choice and expensive and extensive standardized test prep to game the system. At the same time, a number of college admission officials are talking, or in some cases cheering, about de-emphasizing standardized tests in the admissions process.
Meanwhile, numbers are emerging that suggest much of the hype surrounding the competitiveness of the college application process is a bit overblown. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reported today, just over half the students who take the SAT take it a second time, and the vast majority stop there. A study discussed last week in Inside Higher Ed says that despite the relatively small number of repeat test takers, 88 percent of college students surveyed were admitted to their first choice school. In addition, students typically apply to only three or four colleges on average. The high school students who spend years testing and retesting and compiling an extensive list of reach schools and safety schools may be well-represented in media, but prove to be scarce almost everywhere else.
To summarize, getting into college may involve a lot of work, but it doesn't have to involve a lot of worry. If you're a high school senior waiting nervously for an acceptance letter or a high school junior starting a college search, try not to stress. If you write a strong application essay, maintain decent grades and some kind of extracurricular or community service activities, land a solid test score, and apply to a few colleges that seem to be good fits for you, or even if you just do most of these, you will most likely find yourself in the majority of students who wind up going where they want to go. Now all that's left is figuring out how to pay for school.
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