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Suburban High School Graduation Rates Low, Urban Ones Lower

April 2, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

If you’re a suburbanite used to friends graduating left and right, you’re in the minority. A report released today by America’s Promise Alliance has shown that graduation rates for high school students residing in the suburbs are concerning—until one looks at those of urban students.

According to the findings, only 52 percent of  students attending principal high schools in the 50 largest cities receive their diploma before leaving. At 70 percent, the nation’s overall graduation rate is much higher but still in need of improvement.

The largest discrepancy between urban and suburban districts was found in Baltimore, Maryland and Columbus, Ohio. Of the students residing in the suburbs of Baltimore, 81.5 percent were able to graduate. Only 34.6 percent of those living in urban districts of the city were able to do the same. The respective graduation percentages for students living in Columbus were 82.9 and 40.9. As one might expect, New York City was not far behind, ranking fourth on the list of cities with the largest gaps in urban and suburban graduation rates.

The results were based on school data retrieved from the 2003-2004 school year leading some to wonder whether the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was in part to blame. Many educators feel that the main goals of the NCLB Act---to minimize student achievement gaps and increase overall scholastic performance--- have not been fulfilled. Both the effectiveness and the steps taken to achieve NCLB  aims have been subject to much criticism in past years.

During this year's Scholarships.com scholarship competition, high school seniors from around the country wrote to Scholarships.com to voice their opinions on the NCLB. In doing so, these students were given the opportunity to win $10,000 in scholarship money. 

Check back in a few weeks to read the essays of this year's Resolve to Evolve Scholarship winners. If you missed the deadline, don't despair. You may still be eligible for next year's scholarships. For information about currently available awards, try conducting a free college scholarship search.

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Duck Brand Duck Tape Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest

April 21, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Each year, the Henkel Corporation awards college scholarships to individuals who are literally stuck at prom. This contest encourages student creativity and expression by rewarding individuals for creating the most tapeworthy prom attire---attire made completely out of duck tape. Submitted photographs from eligible couples will be posted online and voted on by site visitors. Criteria will include workmanship, originality, use of colors, accessories and the quantity of duct tape used.

Prize:

1. One $3,000 scholarship for each individual in the couple

2. One $2,000 scholarship for each individual in the couple

3. One $1,000 scholarship for each individual in the couple

Eligibility:

1. Applicant must be attending a high school prom in the spring of 2008.

2. Applicant must be 14 years of age or older at the time of entry.

3. Applicant must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec and Puerto Rico).

4. Applicant may not be an employee of the sponsor or their family member, nor may they live in the same household as an employee.

Deadline:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Required Material:

1. Photograph of the couple wearing a prom outfit made completely out of duct tape

2. The individuals’ first names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, ages, grade levels and the name of the closest major city to their home towns

3. A liability, publicity release and consent form signed by each individual; if the applicant is a minor, parental permission is required

4. The high school name, address and telephone number, as well as the date the prom was held. 

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.

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Education Secretary Proposes Changes to No Child Left Behind

April 23, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

In an anticipated statement outlining potential changes to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced new plans to amend the act. Key improvements included the standardization of graduation rate calculations and the heightening of awareness about family tutoring and school transfer options.

Based on current regulations, states are permitted to define not only their benchmarks for academic success, but also the methods for determining their high school graduation rates. The problem with this approach became particularly evident after a  study comparing graduation gaps between major cities and suburbs suggested that numerous states fared much worse than their graduation data suggested.

Under the secretary’s new plan, all high schools would have to determine graduation rates by dividing the total number of high school senior graduates by the number of freshman who began four years earlier, with adjustments made for transfer students. Students who took extra years to finish would not be considered to have successfully completed the program, indicated a Los Angeles Times article covering the story.   The issue of assisting students attending “at risk” schools was also tackled, with the Secretary proposing an increase in efforts made to inform parents about alternative scholastic options for their children. Students who attend such schools have the option to switch to a more successful district school and additional tutoring opportunities should be made available to them. To address the problem of transportation costs to new schools, Margaret Spellings suggested that funding set aside for that purpose be increased.

In regards to the frequent requests for flexibility in measuring the progress of students with disabilities and those with limited English skills, the Secretary of Education stated, “the Department promulgated regulations to permit States to include in their AYP [Annual Yearly Progress] determinations the proficient and advanced scores of students with disabilities assessed based on alternate and modified academic achievement standards, as well as regulations that provide flexibility in the assessment of, and accountability for, recently arrived and former LEP [Limited English Proficiency]students.” 

The official version of this statement will be made available today in the Federal Register, and the public will have 60 days to respond before proceedings move forward.

As the NCLB primarily affects students, Scholarships.com has created an opportunity for them to voice their opinions about its effectiveness. In the 2008 Scholarships.com Resolve to Evolve Essay Scholarshiphigh school seniors were asked to determine and elaborate on why the NCLB has or has not been successful in reaching its goals. The number and quality of responses were nothing short of impressive. Winners of the annual Resolve to Evolve competition will be announced on June 30, and their essays will be made available to the public. Top responses will also be forwarded to the proper officials in the hope that we too can be a part of the solution.

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High School , High School News



Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship

May 12, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

As a means of promoting diversity and developing talent, Scholarships.com has created a new set of scholarships for high school students and undergraduate students. The “Fund Your Future” area of study scholarship consists of thirteen $1,000 awards to be granted to students who pursue a postsecondary education in one of thirteen designated fields and 185 related majors. Included is the Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship, an award for students who plan to or are already majoring in the culinary arts.

The way to someone’s heart may be through their stomach, but that's not the reason so many students pursue a culinary arts degree. Whether you dream of opening your own restaurant or joining the future cast of the Food Network, culinary arts classes can help you accomplish your goals. If you have the drive, Scholarships.com will help you buy the gas. By applying for the Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship, you may find yourself $1,000 closer to becoming a chef.

If you’re interested in applying for this essay scholarship, respond to the following question in 250 to 350 words (entries that fall outside of this word range will be disqualified):"What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the culinary arts?"

Prize: $1,000

Eligibility: 1. Applicant must be a registered Scholarships.com user. Creating an account is simple and free of charge. 2. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen 3. Applicant must be undergraduate student or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university in the coming fall 4. Applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors: Culinary Arts or Food Science/Food Industry

Deadline: June 30, 2008

Required Material: A 250 to 350 word response to the following question: “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in the culinary arts?”

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 list.

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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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Posted Under:

GPA , High School



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