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Scholarship Essay Etiquette

May 13, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

When reviewing your application, scholarship judges knows only what you tell them. Abiding by scholarship etiquette is an important but frequently overlooked way of letting scholarship judges know that your are serious about your future and appreciative of their donations. To maximize your scholarship potential, remember the following scholarship guidelines:

Professional Presentation Most applicants are dedicated to their education, but they often forgot to show it. Presentation is a great way to let the judging panel know that you have considered each part of the application process. Save email addresses such as dancincutie@yahoo.com or coolestgangsta@hotmail.com for your friends. When applying for scholarships, stick with the more serious name and number versions.

The Magic Words Don’t retire the “please” and “thank yous”. Scholarship providers don't have to offer financial aid, but they do. A simple, “thank you for this opportunity,” makes you stand out, and it lets the judges know that you appreciate  their efforts.

Spelling Spelling and etiquette may not appear correlated, but they are. Students who take the time to polish their scholarship essays are showing the judging panel that their application is important enough to revise thoroughly. Most word processors are equipped with spelling tools, and applicants should take advantage of them. A few grammar mishaps may be overlooked—not everyone is an expert grammarian—but spelling is vital.

Keep Some Things to Yourself Many students take finances into account when selecting a career. It’s only natural that individuals search for jobs that ensure financial security and a comfortable lifestyle. That being said, keep some things to yourself. You can mention wanting to provide for your family or to wanting to break a cycle of financial struggles, but skip the part about bossing people around, wearing fancy suits or wanting to make millions.

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College Board, KDCP Settle SAT Lawsuit

May 14, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

For two months, College Board and Karen Dillard's College Prep LP (KDCP), a college test-prep company, have been embroiled in a heated battle over allegations of copyright infringement. The two have now settled, with KDCP agreeing to give College Board $1 million--$400,000 in the form of free tutoring services to low-income high schools.

The problem began when College Board, the administrator of the SAT and AP exams, found through a previous KDCP staff member that KDCP had obtained and used unpublished copies of the SAT. Though President Karen Dillard did admit that her company had obtained the copies without permission, she denied selling the exams or using unpublished materials to tutor students. She instead accused College Board of attempting to monopolize the standardized test-prep business and of obtaining its evidence illegally (grounds for her countersuit).

Eventually, both sides dropped their lawsuit and a compromise between the $300,000 settlement first proposed by Ms. Dillard and the $1.25 million suggested by College Board was reached. College Board also agreed that students tutored by KDCP would not have their SAT exam scores canceled, a measure College Board threatened to take in the wake of the lawsuit. 

The New York Times quoted College Board Senior Vice President of Operations Laurence Bunin saying, “We believe that the settlement shows that KDCP acted improperly in copying and distributing a secure SAT test form and other college materials…We have demonstrated that we cannot and will not tolerate such conduct, and that we will take all appropriate steps to protect our tests.”

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Posted Under:

High School , High School News



Fringe Benefits: Parent Employer Scholarships

May 15, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Numerous companies compensate their employees for returning to school, but some take things a step further by also helping their families. If you’re one of the lucky students whose parents work for the companies or industries listed below, you may be eligible for numerous college scholarships. Check out the awards below to see if you qualify.

The Two Ten Footwear Foundation If you or one of your parents works in the footwear or leather industry, you may be eligible to win a $3,000 scholarship renewable for up to 4 years of undergraduate study. Winners are selected based on academic record, personal promise, character and financial need. One Super Scholar will win a $15,000 award renewable for up to four years.

Butler Manufacturing Company Foundation Scholarship Program High school seniors who are children of full-time Butler Manufacturing Company employees can apply for the Butler Manufacturing Company $2,500 scholarship. Students must visit a plant and/or office location to obtain an application.

H.O. West Foundation Scholarship Program A scholarship of up to $2,500 is available to high school seniors who are dependents of individuals working for West Pharmaceutical Services. Students must enter a college or university the fall after graduating to meet eligibility criteria.

Joseph R Stone Scholarship Students whose parent or parents work in the travel industry (hotel, car rental, airlines, travel agency etc.) may be eligible for one of three $2,400 scholarships. Applicants must be pursuing a degree at an undergraduate college or university.

Alcoa Foundation Sons & Daughters Scholarship The Alcoa Foundation Sons and Daughters Scholarship Program provides financial aid to students whose parents work for Alcoa Inc. The $1,500 award can be renewed for either one or three years. Applicants must apply as high school seniors and must meet the established academic criteria.

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The Calm-A-Sutra of Tea $20,000 Scholarship Competition

June 30, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

The Tea Council of the US, an organization of tea packers, importers and allied industries within the United States, is sponsoring the Calm-A-Sutra of Tea $20,000 Scholarship Competition . Students who are interested in applying will have to come up with a creative video that demonstrates an interesting way of drinking tea and mentions the health-related benefits of the beverage. Judges will consider the health-related content, the creativity and the individuality of submissions. Last year’s applicants had exceptionally kooky ideas, so applicants will have to stretch imaginations to their fullest. For such a large dollar amount, it’s worth it.

Prize:

1. One $20,000 Scholarship

Eligibility:

1. Applicants must be legal residents of the U.S. or Puerto Rico. 2. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age as of May 8, 2008.

Deadline:

August 6, 2008

Required Material:

A one to two minute Internet video that describes the benefits of drinking tea and portrays a unique way of drinking it

Further details about the application process 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 search results.

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Managing a Hectic Schedule: A Sanity Guide for High School, College Students

June 18, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

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.

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Posted Under:

College Culture , High School , Tips



Maintaining the A in AP: How to Succeed in Advanced Placement Classes

June 25, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Senior year is a breeze right? Yeah right. Between homework, standardized testing, applications and internships, things couldn’t be further from the truth. And for those of you who decide to enroll in advanced placement classes, things could get hectic. But you will get through it, and you can do so successfully. The tips below may help you manage the schedule you have and obtain the grades you want.

Don’t ignore the second semester. After all applications are sent out, once the preliminary acceptance letters are received, it’s easy to breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, AP classes are still in session during the second semester, and pushing through these final months can make or break your scores. Advanced Placement classes require serious effort; obtain the rewards that accompany them.

Prioritize test material. Most teachers will, to some extent, emphasize test material during class discussions. They know that AP classes are difficult, and they want you to succeed on final exams. Take note when you hear that something may show up on the test. Ultimately, you only have so much time in your schedule, and, if you can’t learn everything, at least learn what you need to know to earn a passing score.

AP first.  All classes are important, but AP ones offer college credit potential.  Therefore, when possible, address assignments dealing with these classes first. Once you have applied to schools, your overall GPA won’t be a major issue—assuming it does not drop drastically—but AP scores will. If you can’t give all classes full attention, at least address the ones that can lessen your college workload.

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GPA , High School



Study Yields New Conversion Chart for ACT, SAT

July 2, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

On Tuesday, ACT and College Board (the administrators of the ACT and SAT tests) released a conversion table that could be used to compare scores of students who completed either exam. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the table was based on a study of more than 300,000 students who had taken both tests between 2004 and 2006.

The two test providers release a similar table every few years, but the latest chart was a necessary update due to a change in the SAT format. In 2005, College Board added a new mandatory writing section to their exam, one that is optional for ACT takers. To better assist college administrators in making their admissions decisions, the new table predicts the SAT scores of students who chose to opt out of the ACT writing section as well as of those who completed all portions of the exam.

Students who did not take the writing section and received a score of 21 (the average composite score on the ACT), could expect a combined critical reading and math score of 990 on the SAT. Those who chose to complete the writing section of the ACT and received a composite English and writing score of 20 could expect to receive a 490 on the writing portion of the SAT.

College Board stressed that the comparisons were estimates and that a student’s results on one test did not necessarily ensure the suggested equivalent. The company stated that, “In general, the scores should not be compared. However, we understand that our constituents, particularly members of the admissions community, have a need to assess the test scores of students, some of whom might have taken the SAT, while others might have taken the ACT.”

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Posted Under:

High School , High School News



Using Tuition Installment Plans to Pay for School

July 3, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

A college education is an expensive purchase. It’s certainly an investment, but an expensive one nonetheless. Many students are forced to take out thousands in student loans to afford college, but some are so close to  paying for school that accumulating college debt on account of minor need would be a shame.

For many such students, tuition installment plans may be a good option. Certain colleges and universities allow students to split up their semester or trimester payments into monthly installments. They pair up with one or more tuition installment plan companies which administer the services, and make the option of enrolling available to those who are interested.

Students and parents who receive steady paychecks and those awaiting college scholarship or grant awards may benefit from the tuition installment plan option. Such plans are interest free, but, unfortunately, they are not cost free. Individuals who use tuition installment plans usually have to pay administering companies annual enrollment fees or finance charges, ones that usually average between $30 and $60. Certain participating colleges may also ask that those enrolled pay a large portion of their college tuition and fees up front.

Students considering a tuition installment plan should contact their college financial aid office to find out if the plan is available and, if so, what fees are involved.

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Mastering the College Interview

July 8, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

As if the application process was not enough, the ACT, SAT, GRE etc. not sufficiently stressful, some students must also worry about acing a college interview. Those who wish to enroll in certain undergraduate or graduate school programs may find that the interview is simply unavoidable. Because interviews cannot be proofread by an older sibling, students can use the following pointers to prepare themselves for the big day. 

Location is Key. Before moving on to the content, finalize the basics. Confirm the address and time of the interview, and plan out the best way to reach your location. If possible, visit the meeting place beforehand. If not, at least arrive early. Realizing that the campus layout is confusing, the buildings ambiguously marked and the office hidden in a building labyrinth is not the optimal start to your interview. You need to arrive (outwardly) calm, (seemingly) confident and obviously on time.

Do Your Homework. Interviewers want to hear the following: you want to attend this school; you have a clear, original reason for wanting to pursue your degree, and you’re mature and ready to benefit their institution (as a current student and accomplished graduate). Be prepared to convince them of the aforementioned. Browse the school website, and be prepared to drop some names, numbers or facts. For example, let the interviewer know how the department’s A to B student teacher ratio was impressive, exactly what you had hoped to find, and how very much you would like to help professors C, D or E with their latest research project—it perfectly aligns with your career interests.

Leave a Lasting Impression. Having worked in an admission’s department and attended a board meeting where professors decided the future of incoming (or not incoming) students, I was surprised to see how seriously the interview process was taken. Yes, the board reviewed and heavily emphasized a student's course experience and GPA—over sub sandwiches—but it also paid attention to a student's presentation. Professors remarked about dress code, about how carefully a student considered his or her career goals and about formality. From this I learned that you should dress to impress; prepare specific, original details about current and future goals, and express how important your interview and goals are to you.

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Posted Under:

Graduate School , High School , Tips



Tips on Finding a Campus Apartment

July 9, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Dorms are filled to the brim with students your age, and therein lies their charm. But after finding a group of people you enjoy spending time with, their appeal slowly fades. Dorms are cramped, noisy, and, eventually, old news. But before you can hug your RA goodbye, you need to find an apartment, and that takes some planning. The following tips can help you find the best-suited home at a reasonable price.

Determine Boundaries. Before the apartment hop begins, establish a general search boundary. Off-campus apartments may be cheaper, but, depending on location, the class hike may be substantial. Decide which is the bigger priority, finance or location, and be realistic about how far you are willing to walk—in boots on a rainy, snowy day—to your perfect residence.

Get a Head Start. If you attend a large state school, chances are, you have options. But you can only be as picky as the time allows. Begin your apartment search early, around December or January. If you wait until the summer months to find an apartment for the upcoming year, you may find your options slim. Stake your claim before someone else can.

Look at Reviews. What you don’t see when you visit an apartment—the unreachable repairman, the stinky, bug-ridden basement—may come back to haunt you. One of the best ways to gauge a potential home is by seeking out feedback from previous tenants. Reviews of landlords and apartments can frequently be found in campus newspapers, both on and offline. You may also want to ask around. Satisfied and disgruntled students alike are often willing to let you know what they think.

Budget. When budgeting, you have to consider paying for school, for residence, for food, for leisure, for holiday gifts, for transportation, for emergencies and so on. If you're an apartment penny pincher, it's best to limit surprises. Ask landlords about any city or tenant fees that may be tacked on to the lease, and find out if if gas, water, parking or an internet/cable package are included. If you don’t plan to stay on campus during the summer months, also ask about a 10-month lease option. The need for apartments drops during the summertime, and many students have a hard time finding individuals willing to sublet at full price. By asking the right questions and budgeting accordingly, you can avoid many such problems down the road.

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