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Keeping Your Recommendation From Being A “Wreck”-omendation

Nov 2, 2015

by Christina Zhou

When it comes to college applications, most students worry more about whether or not their grades are high enough, whether their essays are well-written, or if they have enough extracurricular activities. Recommendation letters are often lower on the list of priorities and are often hastily asked for close to the deadline. However, recommendation letters are often one of the most common ways to distinguish between quality applications. Below are several ways to avoid getting tepid recommendation letters that make your otherwise quality application look lackluster.

  • Ask early. Teachers are often very busy, and quality recommendation letters take time and effort to write. Asking them right before the deadline is both inconvenient and inconsiderate. They may flat out turn down your request, and if you don't have backup options, you may miss out on applying for certain schools. Even if they do, they will most likely not do as good a job as they could have done if you had asked sooner.
  • Teach them about you. If they agree to write a recommendation letter, you should provide them with a copy of your resume. If you don't have a resume, a short summary of yourself will do. You might also want to refresh their memory of your performance in class.
  • Choose wisely. Ask a teacher that you had for a class fairly recently - junior year is probably best. The exception to this is if you have a teacher that you have had for multiple classes and/or have built up a very good relationship with. For example, you can ask your band teacher for a recommendation if you have been in band for many years and performed well. If you are applying with a specific major in mind, or if you are applying to a major-specific program, it would be a good idea to try and get a recommendation from a teacher that teaches that subject.
  • Ask in person. This is so important! You can email to meet with them to talk about it, but the actual request should be done in person. Recommendation letters are time-consuming to write, and also require a level of connection. Too many recommendation letters sound like fill-in-the-blank forms.
  • 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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Top Student Organizing Apps

Oct 26, 2015

by Erica Lewis

For people who are highly-organized, you want a way to keep track of everything you have to get done. It's one thing to write it down, but students often lose the list or forget about it entirely. So how can you keep organized, get all your homework done, and still have leisure time? Since we tend to have quick and easy access to mobile devices, check out some of these organizational mobile apps.

  • Evernote. This app allows you to sync everything between your phone and computer for the best accessibility: anywhere, anytime. From notes to task lists, Evernote keeps you focused on moving ideas from inspiration to completion. Best used for note-taking, you can also clip web images, capture handwritten notes and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times.
  • MyHomework. Do you forget your school agenda? Do you have a hard time reading your planner? Looking for a replacement to the paper planner or academic agenda? MyHomework is the solution. It allows you to program all important deadlines and tasks. The modern design and simple interface makes great for easy navigation. You can upload pictures and files to your homework and classes as well as use a class schedule widget for today's classes.
  • Finish. Named the "to-do list for procrastinators," the app reminds students of assignments to be completed. Give track of your completed assignments through the automatic archive tool. Finish also gives rewards for completing tasks on time. The most unique feature is its automated timeframes system - all you have to do is add your task by specifying a name and due date and Finish does the rest. Finally, Finish sorts timeframes as time elapses - set your priorities to either "short term" or "mid term" to let Finish notify you of due dates.
  • Pocket Points. This app is not necessarily for organization, but Pocket Points gives you rewards simply for not using your phone in class. Why not get rewarded for following the rules? The more points you get, the better rewards you can earn. Simply open the app, lock your phone, and start gaining points. Points can be used for great discounts at local and online businesses, such as food and clothing!
  • The best part of all these apps? They are FREE, just like Scholarships.com. Scheduling doesn't have to be difficult, and neither does paying for school. Make sure to keep checking scholarships.com for new opportunities!

    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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Cracking the New SAT

Oct 12, 2015

by Christina Zhou

If you've been studying for the old SAT, you only have a short amount of time left to take it. This standardized test is undergoing a redesigning process, a fact that leaves many high school students even more stressed about the test than before, especially juniors and seniors girding themselves for college applications. All the prep books from past years are obsolete! However, given what we currently know about the future format of the SAT, there are several ways to get ahead of the game and do well despite the unfamiliar format.
  • If you don't know, guess. Although the old SAT format penalized guessing by a deduction of a quarter of a point per wrong answer, the new SAT has no such penalty. Therefore, it is in your best interest to provide an answer for each question, especially if you're running out of time. Leaving questions blank is now the worst decision. Additionally, the number of possible choices per question is being reduced. So now if you guess wildly, you will have a greater chance of being right than before.
  • Forget vocab lists. No longer will you have to frantically memorize huge lists of practically obsolete vocabulary words in order to do well on the reading section of the SAT. The new SAT will have terminology more likely to be seen in the real world.
  • Other subjects matter. The new SAT will include either an excerpt from one of America's founding documents or issues discussing freedom, injustice and the like. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to become familiarized with some of the more well-known documents to save time during the test. Additionally, skills like graph reading and analysis, usually seen more in science subjects, will be featured in the new format.
  • Don't stress it. An increasingly high number of colleges are eschewing standardized tests as part of the admission process, turning it into a voluntary option. If you don’t do well the first time, study hard and try again, but don’t be discouraged.
  • 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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How to Not Lose It with Group Projects

Oct 5, 2015

by Erica Lewis

Oh, yes, group projects. When it comes to group projects, you either love 'em or hate 'em. There's really no in-between. So how do you keep your cool when you can't stand your partners or the project itself?

  • Divide the work evenly. Don't let one person do all the work and then have the other names attached to the project. Although the load may be carried more heavily by one person, it's important to make sure that everyone plays an important role and is kept up to date. This is crucial if you're doing a group presentation and not simply submitting the project.
  • Make use of in-class work time. Many professors will give groups time in class to work on their projects. There may not be enough time to accomplish everything during this period, but it can help everyone figure out their individual tasks so you don’t have to do more work than necessary. It's also a great time to ask questions if you are unsure about any instructions or requirements.
  • Set deadlines even if they aren't assigned. The project isn't due until the end of the semester, so you can put it off, right? Wrong. However tempting it may be to procrastinate, it is better to set deadlines for your group even if the professor hasn’t assigned them. Schedule a meeting with all the group members and hold everyone accountable for their job. It just makes things easier in the long run.
  • Group projects don't have to be a daunting task, and neither does paying for school. Make sure to keep checking out your scholarship opportunities.

    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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5 Essential College Reads

Sep 28, 2015

by Christina Zhou

One of the things necessary for success in college is being a well-rounded person. No matter what career field you choose to enter, reading and writing is essential. Therefore, every college student should strive to read a wide variety of literature. Below are several popular and timeless books that every college student should read:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. A classic coming of age story, many college students will identify with the young protagonist's struggles to figure out what she wants to do in life as well as learn that one should never abandon their principles, no matter the temptation.
  • The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot. Considered as one of the most important literary works of the 20th century, it has a multitude of confusing references and footnotes that are designed to obscure rather than illuminate meaning. The Waste Land shows both the tragedy and the hope of modern life.
  • The Odyssey by Homer. This classic epic of Odysseus’s fantastical and dangerous journey home to his family after the Trojan War has fascinated audiences for centuries. Odysseus must fight mystical creatures and endure the wrath of the gods while retaking the throne of Ithaca.
  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Although Shakespeare is well known for his tragedies like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, his comedic play Much Ado About Nothing is full of examples of clever word play as the two main characters throw verbal darts at each other. Even the title is a triple play on words!
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This hilarious and random galactic adventure involving several eccentric characters will find its way to your bookshelf and heart. A science fiction classic, it is the first of a series that reveal Adams' imaginative depiction of the future.
  • 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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Dietary Restrictions in the Dining Hall

Sep 21, 2015

by Christina Zhou

Although schools are becoming increasingly diverse with its food options, the situation is still fairly grim for those who have special dietary considerations. Foods with strong dietary specifications, such as vegetarianism or religious dietary products, can be difficult to come by and usually do not have many options. However, this deficit can be resolved with the following tips:

  • Stock up on stock. For many, buying the raw ingredients for the foods that they want to eat is unfeasible both practically and financially. However, soups are both easy to prepare and cheap to buy. Additionally, they keep fresh for a long time and can be bought in bulk.
  • Join a group. Nowadays, you can find almost any sort of club you want on a college campus. Try finding a group out there that fits your needs. These sorts of clubs often have get-togethers with opportunities for free food. This way, you have easy access to the foods you need and can bond with other students.
  • Bring snacks. Look into nearby stores and see if you can find options there. Simple things like dried fruit and granola bars are usually cheap and keep fresh for a long time. If you live close enough, you can also try to bring some food supplies from home.
  • Seek out advice resources. There are many nutrition and food services available for students, including dining services and student health. Ask about feasible options nearby as well as nutritional information. Additionally, take advantage of the most underused resource: current students. Talk to them and find out what they do to get around these dining problems. This goes for many other situations as well. The upperclassmen have gone through the same college struggles as you, and are usually more than happy to give advice.
  • 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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Extracurricular Activities: Not Just Application Fillers

Sep 14, 2015

by Christina Zhou

When it comes to choosing extracurricular activities, many students are concerned about whether or not the activity will look good on college applications. They end up either changing activities without commitment or stick with an activity that they don't particularly enjoy, but believe will look good to colleges. However, working or getting involved in clubs and sports can and should be fun! Below is a list of tips as to how you should approach high school extracurricular activities to help you obtain that much-desired college acceptance.

  • Join early. Building strong extracurricular activities takes time. Being in the program for a longer amount of time allows for more experience and better chances of obtaining leadership roles.
  • Think quality, not quantity. Someone who spent four years in their school's jazz band and was the first chair of their section will look more dedicated than someone who was in fifteen clubs but never did much more than attend meetings. Try to obtain leadership roles in whatever extracurricular activities you choose.
  • Pursue your passions. You may think your hobbies are too weird to impress colleges, but that's false. If you show enough dedication to an activity, whether it be basketball or making duct tape art, colleges will be interested. Remember, interviews are an important part of the college admissions process, and you will be asked to elaborate on your extracurricular activities. If you dislike what you do, it will show.
  • Don't forget about school! Although extracurricular activities are vital, grades and standardized test scores are also incredibly important. Be involved, but make sure to leave enough time for studying, as well as for some free time. Although it may feel like it sometimes, your time in high school does not need to be a non-stop pursuit of acceptance to college.
  • 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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High School , Just for Fun , Tips , Virtual Intern

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Redefining Mental Illness

Aug 30, 2015

by Christina Zhou

College can be a stressful time, suddenly full of both student and adult responsibilities. However, for some students, it can become more than just stress - potentially a larger issue like depression. If students cannot or will not seek help, the consequences can be severe. Therefore, students need to prioritize their happiness in college, since mental health is just as important as physical health.

The following tips are some ways to keep you from going down that dangerous road:

  • Take classes that truly interest you. It can be difficult to avoid the parental voice in your head telling you that your chosen major won't land you a high-paying job. However, in the long run, you will feel better if you study and write papers for classes you actually enjoy.
  • Exercise. Seriously. Homework is important but it can still be done in an hour after you go to the gym and boost your physical and mental health. Many colleges offer free classes that require very little commitment, such as yoga or spinning.
  • Ask for help. Colleges almost always have a counselor program of some sort. If you are feeling down, don't hesitate to talk to them.
  • Take a break. Watch that TV episode you haven't gotten around to yet. Splurge on a nice meal from that nearby restaurant. College may be fast-paced, but that doesn't mean you shouldn’t slow down once in a while and work on self-care.
  • Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has a multitude of negative effects, including health problems, lowered concentration, fatigue, and increased irritability. Not getting enough sleep also decreases your ability to fight stress. Try to avoid caffeine if possible, and don't push yourself too late into the night, otherwise that 8 AM chemistry lab will feel even worse.
  • 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 Text Book Game

Aug 24, 2015

by Christina Zhou

You’re starting college, excited to be embarking on the next big adventure, and…is that flimsy textbook really $500? For many students, the prospect of obtaining the course booklist on the typical college allowance may seem daunting at first. However, the following tips on how to be smart when buying textbooks can help you save a lot of tears and money.

  • Wait and see. Some (cruel) professors will put texts on the course booklist and never end up using them, causing students to waste money by rushing out and buying them immediately. It’s a good idea to wait a couple days to see which books you really need. Also, try asking previous students which books they used.
  • Ask upperclassmen. Speaking of previous students, upperclassmen can also be a great source for cheap textbooks. If you’re lucky, they might even give them to you for free!
  • Buy used, and online. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of students who immediately go to the campus bookstore and buy hardcover before looking up the prices of paperback from alternate online sellers. Amazon, eBay, and Chegg are good starting points for your search. However, make sure to check their approval rating before purchasing, as a good price is not worth poor quality.
  • Utilize the library. Schools will sometimes keep a copy or two of popular textbooks in the library. Get there fast before they’re gone, as you are competing with many other students for what is at most a handful of copies.
  • Embrace technology. Print might feel good, but the higher price won’t. Opt for e-books instead, to save on both money and backpack space.
  • Get your money back. Selling your own textbooks after you’re finished with them is a great method to get back some of the initial expense.
  • 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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High Stakes Testing

Aug 24, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Chances are if you’re on scholarships.com, you probably care about boosting your application to scholarships or colleges. The standardized test can be a huge plus for good test takers or a major stressor for others. Here are some general guidelines to help you make your testing plan and decisions easier.

  • Timing. There are many rumors about what dates have a better curve but essentially for the SAT or the ACT, it’s all about making the most of your studying. For instance, remember that if you schedule a test for January or June, you might also be studying for midterm and final exams. The May exams are also infamous because that’s when the Advanced Placement tests occur. However, many students take the subject tests that correspond with their AP classes during the May exam. It’s important to remember that not all subject tests are offered every exam date, so you’ll want to plan those accordingly. If you’re planning on taking the SAT, remember that the last date for the current version is January 2016. Finally, don’t wait too long to take the test. Many students do better their second or third time around, and you want to give yourself the chance to learn from your mistakes.
  • Studying. The ACT and the SAT are two distinctly different tests as some students will see greater variation between test scores than others. The general word of caution is to take a full practice exam before you take the real test. Try waking up early one weekend and replicating the exam scenario as completely as possible; this will give you the best estimate of your score. Remember that simple things like reading the newspaper or a challenging book can improve your score as well.
  • Stay Positive. Your score is not everything in your college or scholarship application. More and more schools are disregarding test scores in favor of essays, extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation. The worst thing you could do for your application is put all of your bets into your SAT or ACT score. So if you find yourself a terrible test taker, that’s okay. Find something else that you’re fantastic at, and make it noticeable. One of the best pieces of advice I got was that if a school turns you down because of your test scores, you probably don’t want to be there to begin with.
  • You are not a test score. Always remember that.

    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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