December 23, 2008
While there has been much speculation that economic woes would drive students away from more expensive schools, generous financial aid packages, such as those offered by many Ivy League schools, may be driving early applications up. It's speculated that students whose resources have been reduced and whose options may be limited are vying for any college seat with a full-tuition scholarship attached.
Early action and early decision college application deadlines have now passed at the majority of competitive private colleges. As the schools begin sorting through these applicants and making admission decisions, many are reporting that numbers are up, in some cases way up. Stanford University has seen early action applications increase 18 percent this year, while early decision applications have increased by 23 percent at Duke University. Other selective schools, such as Yale and Northwestern, have seen similar increases, as well.
While regular applications have held steady at Harvard University, other private schools that have seen a surge in early applications have heard from fewer regular decision applicants. The regular admission pool may have thinned due to students paring down their lists or choosing less expensive state colleges as safety schools. This could be good news for all of the early applicants who may find themselves bumped into the regular admission pool, though many schools are worried that fewer applicants could ultimately mean fewer enrolled students, especially if more students follow the money to the most affordable schools.
If you're a high school senior still in the process of applying for college, you may want to check out the articles appearing in The New York Times and The San Jose Mercury News this week and consider modifying your college search to take advantage of shifting application patterns. If you're in the market for a private college and you have the time and money to put together a couple extra application packets, it could pay off, especially if you're able to wait until April or May to make your final decision as to where to go.
January 12, 2009
Many businesses give back to the communities that support them by offering scholarship opportunities for local students. Similarly, a number of prominent companies with a national scope offer generous corporate scholarships, such as this week's Scholarship of the Week. The Lowe's Scholarship is a national scholarship program for high school seniors with annual prizes of up to $15,000 awarded based on academics, involvement, and leadership qualities.
Prize: A total of 375 scholarship awards:
Eligibility: The Lowe’s Scholarship is open to all high school seniors who plan to attend any accredited 2-year or 4-year college or university within the United States. Winners are selected based on leadership qualities, community involvement and academic performance.
Deadline: March 15, 2009
Required Material: Completed online scholarship application found on the Lowe's Scholarship 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.
January 19, 2009
For many women, the task of balancing the myriad responsibilities of life is an ongoing challenge. Expectations and obligations come from many directions, including work, school, finances, family, friends, and the community. The ability to successfully juggle these elements of life and at the same time strike out and seek out new challenges and opportunities is commendable, and should rightly be rewarded. If you're a young woman between the ages of 12 and 18 who is pursuing her own business or service enterprise while attending high school, helping others, and taking the first steps towards financial independence, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America may award you up to $10,000 in scholarship money for your efforts. This week's Scholarship of the Week provides scholarship opportunities for entrepreneurial girls who are going places.
Prize: Fifteen scholarships are awarded as follows:
Eligibility: Scholarships are awarded to girls ages 12-18 (as of December 31, 2008) who are legal U.S. residents and are currently enrolled in high school or middle school or are being home schooled. Current college students are not eligible. Successful applicants will demonstrate entrepreneurship or financial acumen, be taking steps towards financial independence, and be involved in their communities.
Deadline: February 27, 2009
Required Material: Completed scholarship application, found on the Girls Going Places website, accompanied by a 250-word application essay and a 750-word letter of recommendation from an adult sponsor.
January 30, 2008
Students who sign up for classes don’t always know what they’re getting into. Boring teachers aside, the work may be both overwhelming and useless. If that's the case, it may be time to get out before it’s too late. Here are some things to remember before making the final decision.
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst Dropping classes may be the best way to avoid unnecessary work or burnout, but it sure is a pain. It takes time, sometimes money, and it nearly always causes stress. That’s why it’s best to ask around before choosing classes. Find out if any of your friends have taken the class. Is it difficult? Is it interesting? Is the teacher effective in helping students develop critical skills?
Most importantly, figure out if the class coincides with your future goals and current interests. During high school, I signed up for an accounting class thinking it would provide me with practical insight into the business world. Though business was not in my future, I thought that everyone could benefit from some business basics. After a few weeks of scribbling numbers into a never-ending stream of credit and debit columns, I raised my hand and asked the teacher if this class would prepare me for something other than accounting. Turns out, it wouldn’t. It’s too bad I didn’t know that sooner.
Give Yourself a Reality Check Difficulty is a commonly cited reason for dropping classes, and it's a perfectly good reason. It’s important to be realistic about your abilities and your schedule. When a class is just adding to your already full workload, rethink it. Being able to drop a class doesn’t make you a quitter; it makes you a realistic and mature decision maker, one that values their sanity and health.
Consider Class Importance Before dropping a class, be sure that you can afford to do so. If you’re in college, dropping a class may put you below full-time status subsequently decreasing your eligibility for a full financial aid package (both scholarships and federal student aid).
Dropping required college classes may also be troublesome. When students decide to get rid of a requisite, they may be forced to take on a heavier workload in future semesters. A heavier workload may in turn lead to scheduling difficulties caused by core courses that overlap in time.
Sometimes, a class may simply be unavoidable. Once again, be realistic when you judge. If you think you can do without the class, let it go. If you know that dropping the class will only lead to future troubles, just grin and bear it for a while.
Be Cost Conscious If you’re in high school, dropping a class will probably save you money (unless you're paying for AP classes ). Once you graduate high school, it’s a different story. Most colleges and universities fine students who drop their classes too late into the semester. That’s why it’s important for students to be aware of the costs involved in taking on classes and dropping them. If you plan to drop a class, do so before the fee deadline. If you’re worried about the costs of taking on additional classes, stick with the basics and take enrichment courses once you can afford them.
February 26, 2008
After being sued by College Board, the makers of the SAT, Karen Dillard’s College Prep LP, a student test-prep company, announced its intent to file a countersuit. Last week, College Board filed charges against the Texas-based company accusing it of illegally obtaining, circulating and selling their PSAT and SAT materials.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the company was said to have acquired the unreleased PSAT tests from a high school principal whose brother worked for Karen Dillard, the owner of the test-prep company After conducting a four-month investigation, College Board decided to take the case to court. In addition to filing charges, College Board threatened to cancel the scores of students who had access to official test material prior to the SAT test day.
Soon after the College Board lawsuit was filed, Karen Dillard, the owner of the test-prep company, filed a suit of her own. She claimed that College Board had unlawfully obtained private information from a previous, disgruntled employee and that such information could not be legally used against her. She also complained that College Board was trying to drive her company out of business.
In past years, College Board had sold previously used SAT exam material to private companies, and Ms. Dillard stated that she had paid for such material. College Board eventually stopped this practice and began to offer tutoring services. According to Ms. Dillard, the lawsuit was an attempt by the company to monopolize the tutoring market and to eliminate small companies such as her own.
Though Ms. Dillard did not deny having acquired some test material without College Board’s authorization, she maintained that the information was obtained after tests had been taken.
March 3, 2008
Got milk? Well if you do, you may be eligible for a hefty scholarship. For ten years, milk providers have been awarding scholarships to young athletes across the country. The awards are promising, so if you quality, it’s worth a shot. Twenty-five high school seniors will have the opportunity to win $7,500 in scholarship money as well as a trip to the award ceremony. In addition to the money, winners will be commemorated with a spot in the Disney World Milk House Hall of Fame. Some may even appear in a Milk Mustache advertisement. To apply, students will have to write an essay of no more than 250 words about how milk has helped them in their academics and/or athletics.
1. Twenty-five $7,500 scholarships and paid trips to the award ceremony 2. A spot in the Disney World Milk House Hall of Fame 3. The chance to appear in a Milk Mustache advertisement
1. Applicant must be a high school senior in good standing. 2. Applicant must be a legal resident of the 48 contiguous U.S. states or the District of Columbia as of November 25, 2007. 3. Applicant must have participated in a high school sport or club sport in the 2007-2008 school year. 4. Applicant may not be on suspension nor can they have a record of an arrest, charge or conviction for any crime. 5. Applicant must enroll, full time, in a state-accredited college or university during the 2008 fall semester. 6. The person nominating the applicant must be a legal resident of the 48 contiguous U.S. states or the District of Columbia and must be at least 18 years of age. The applicant cannot nominate himself/herself. 7. National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board members, workers or their immediate family cannot nominate a student.Deadline:March 7, 2008 (by 11:59:59 p.m.)
1. An essay of no more than 250 words describing how milk has helped the applicant in his/her academics and/or athletics 2. A completed nomination form
Further details about the application process and about contacting the scholarship provider can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.
March 4, 2008
In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, students across the nation celebrated the eleventh annual Read Across America day on March 3rd. Though most festivities were aimed at the elementary and middle school crowd, plenty of high school students joined in to encourage the young and old to read on a regular basis.
Their support was both appreciated and needed. In 2005, a report published by the National Education Association (NEA) revealed that reading frequency dropped significantly for people of all ages. Those who struggled the most, individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, experienced a reading drop of 28 percent. To stop this trend from continuing, students are being taught that reading can be fun--really.
A list compiled by the NEA offers a few interesting examples of things students and educators have tried in an effort to encourage reading. They include:
o High school cheerleaders and athletes from Hamler, Ohio who challenged students to become active readers by leading them in reading spirit cheers.
o A Dr. Seuss Party thrown by the Central Lafourche High School Performing Arts Club. The event included a Dr. Seuss show, an appearance by the cat and a cake.
o The school-wide Braxton County High reading celebration in which all students, faculty and staff had to drop everything to read during first period.
o A Washington County event in which all elementary, middle and high school students read every day for a week. In addition to a skit performed by students from a high school drama class, prizes were awarded to the 100th person who entered the library.
o The foreign language event in which students from Edmond Santa Fe High School translated and read “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” in three different languages—English, Spanish and Latin.
But the award for the most interesting (and least appetizing) example goes to the Washington Elementary district which served its students a breakfast of—yuck—green eggs and ham.
January 3, 2008
Legislators are often willing to rearrange the budget in favor of students, but the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) may be an exception. President Bush’s plan for improving school standards through regular standardized testing has not received positive feedback from a large portion of teachers across the country. The bill signed into law in 2002 is expiring and will need to be reenacted, or done away with, in the near future.
As far as Minnesota legislators are concerned, the second option is better than the first. Both Republicans and Democrats in the state have been loudly voicing their concerns about the effectiveness of the bill, so much so that they are considering pulling out altogether.
The NCLB mandates that students partake in standardized testing to demonstrate their ability to meet established academic standards, ones that differ from state to state. Teachers whose students don’t meet the grade are held accountable, and schools with poor results may be forced to reassign students to other schools. This is a problem for many educators who feel they can only do so much to whip their students into shape, especially teachers who work in low-income urban areas. The problem has become so great that some schools have been accused of fishing for reasons to expel students whose scores contribute to lowered averages, and in doing so, completely leave students behind.
If it chooses to pull out of the program, Minnesota would be forced to give up some of its funds. According to estimates, Minnesota schools could lose as much as $250 million per year if they choose not to participate. However, legislators claim the state can make up for much of the losses with the money it saves on test preparation. The choice is not an easy one, and more research is needed to clarify the possible repercussions of leaving the program.
Like legislators, Scholarships.com recognizes the influx of passionate responses, both positive and negative, to the No Child Left Behind Act. In an effort to raise awareness and assist students in their search for college scholarships and grants, we have set up the 2008 Scholarships.com Resolve to Evolve $10,000 scholarship. By responding to the question, “Has the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 been successful in fulfilling its purpose,” seven high school seniors will have the chance to win money for college. Another option is to write about the affect rising costs of a postsecondary education have had on students and families and to propose possible solutions for offsetting adverse results. For additional information about this and other scholarships, students can conduct a free college scholarship search.
January 24, 2008
Close your eyes and imagine it. You’re sitting in math class, struggling to keep your eyes open, calculating how many minutes are left in the day. Then you do some mental math to figure out what percentage of the day has already passed, the only math you plan to do that day.
That is until you're snapped out of you boredom-induced coma by a teacher who tells you that effort pays off, literally. Well it’s not a dream. Some students have been getting paid for good test scores, and the trend is slowly spreading. In a number of Texas schools, students have been receiving money for good scores on A.P. exams, and students in Baltimore will soon be expecting the same rewards.
Through the Advancement Placement Incentive Program (APIP), students can earn a few hundred dollars for scoring well on A.P. exams, between $100 and $500 for scores above a 3. One student earned $700 for the tests he took during his junior and senior years of high school.
According to a study put together by Cornell University’s C. Kirabo Jackson, 41 schools have taken part in the APIP program so far, and 61 schools plan to adopt it by 2008. The report shows that financial incentives have been an effective tool in getting students to work harder in their A.P. classes. Improvements of about 30% on ACT and SAT scores have also been attributed to APIP.
According to The Baltimore Sun, some Baltimore schools will soon take a similar approach to raising test scores. The Baltimore program will concentrate on improving graduate exams rather than A.P. tests, but the idea is the same; if you do well, you can earn money, up to $110. Like the APIP, the program will focus on assisting and rewarding students who attend low-income, inner-city schools.
Despite positive results and hopes for continued improvements, both programs have been criticized for their approach. Many feel that bribing students into doing well will take away from the purpose of learning and only teach them to expect payoffs for future efforts. More than the Texas program, the Baltimore version has also been criticized for using public funding to pay students. Unlike the Baltimore version, Texas will mostly use money collected from private donations.
January 25, 2008
Your shot at winning the lottery is not particularly high, but playing is so easy that it’s simply irresistible. Though students should not hinge their entire financial futures on luck alone, lottery scholarships are a fun and easy way to supplement one's scholarship search. Plus, someone has to win. Maybe it'll be you. But before you go lottery crazy, familiarize yourself with the options, and get the facts on lottery scholarships and lottery-funded scholarships (there is a difference).
Lottery Scholarships: There are two kinds of lottery scholarships, ones that are state-sponsored and ones that are sponsored by outside providers, usually businesses. Company-funded lottery scholarships, also known as sweepstakes, pretty much embody what comes to mind when one hears the word “lottery”. Most people are eligible, and the application process is pretty easy; sometimes contact information is the only requirement. Unlike regular lotteries, you don’t have to pay to play. If paying is a requirement, don’t apply; more than enough charge-free awards are available.
Once the entries are in and the lottery deadline passes, the sponsoring company will choose an applicant at random—think computer generations rather than spinning spheres with name ballots. If you’re wearing your lucky socks on selection day, you just might win.
Lottery-Funded Scholarships: Another type of lottery scholarship is the state-sponsored, lottery-funded one. These scholarship prizes are paid for by the big, jackpot of $50 million, kinds of lotteries. A number of states have adopted programs wherein a portion of the revenues received from lottery tickets are used for education programs (both scholarships and school contributions). Not all states participate yet, but it’s quite possible that more will jump on the bandwagon. Tennessee, New Mexico, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, New York, South Carolina, Missouri and West Virginia are among those sponsoring lottery-funded scholarship programs.
State eligibility requirements for lottery-funded scholarships vary greatly from state to state, with some states having stricter regulations than others. Usually, students who apply for lottery-funded state scholarships must at the very least attend a high school and college within the state of the program.
Students who apply for certain lottery-funded scholarships must also meet or exceed a particular GPA or standardized test score before applying. For example, only students with a GPA of at least 2.75 may apply for the merit-based Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.
Other states make financial need a requirement. This may partially ease the minds of people who have voiced concerns about lottery-funded scholarships taking from the poor and giving to the middle classes. According to professor of economics Mary O. Borg, a disproportionately large portion of lottery tickets are purchased by low-income customers. These winning are then redistributed largely to middle class students at the expense of the poor.
To find lottery and sweepstake scholarships you may be eligible to receive, conduct a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com. You can also check out our Scholarships.com "Tell A Friend" $1,000 Sweepstakes contest for a chance to win $1,000 towards your college education!
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