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When Choosing A College, Weigh Wants, Needs and...Quirkiness?

Aug 2, 2015

by Christina Zhou

My name is Christina Zhou and as part of my duties as a virtual intern for Scholarships.com I will be writing blog articles each week. Writing is one of my passions and that, combined with the opportunity to help people, was what drew me to this position. Hopefully, the content in these articles will assist student readers everywhere in answering their questions about the college experience.

As with any high school senior, my experience with college applications involved a great deal of stress and procrastination. However, I was confident in my final decision of the University of Chicago because of several reasons. I knew I had made the right choice after thoroughly researching the school and comparing what it had to offer with what I wanted to get out of the college experience. I was particularly drawn to the Core curriculum, because although I love biology I am also interested in a wide variety of disciplines. Furthermore, the quirkiness of the university shone through its offbeat email topics and its unusual essay prompts. I actually looked forward to writing those admissions essays, something that led me to the realization that the University of Chicago was the right choice for me.

Now I am a rising second year at the University of Chicago and am currently leaning towards a biology major. Although I am busy with classwork, in my spare time I love to read and draw, as well as use various social media websites. On campus I am involved in many different organizations such as Leaders of Color, Phoenix Biology and have just finished training as an emergency medical responder. College is an incredible experience but the admissions process is daunting for many. I hope to offer advice that is beneficial to those embarking on the same journey.

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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Strategy for Picking a Major

Jul 30, 2015

by Erica Lewis

Picking a college is hard enough on its own, but deciding what to major in can be even more challenging. Your major helps you find your future career, which is daunting, but don’t worry too much. Many students will end up changing their mind on what major to pursue at one point or another. The back and forth decision beings it’s in high school while trying to decide what school to go to and even carries into a student’s college career.

When picking a major, I would suggest thinking about what areas interest you. I was the type that always enjoyed math and science classes throughout all my years of school. This led me to look down the career path of engineering. Throughout high school, I was always looking at what schools were good for engineering, and there are many options out there. However, I ended up choosing Food Science and Technology because I found out that it was a better fit for me.

If you still feel confused about what major you want to choose or even if you have a major but don’t know what career path you want to follow, don’t worry. Go talk to your academic advisor or career services. Those people are there to help you make the right decision for your interests.

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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Jobs During College

Jul 30, 2015

by Ashley Grego

While some students are fortunate with affluent upbringings, others have had jobs since the day they were legally allowed to join the work force. Even with a heavy course load, some of these students still have to work. Typically, three types of jobs are common during college: work-study, on-campus and off-campus.

Work-study is an on-campus job usually open to students with financial need. According to the U.S. Department of Education, thirty-four-hundred universities in the country actually offer work-study programs. Unlike the other two types of jobs that will be presented later in this article, work-study pay goes toward tuition only. Therefore some students in the work-study program who have financial obligations outside of tuition, must then also pick up a second job.

A second common type of job common amongst college students are on-campus jobs. A student with an on-campus job may hold the same position as a work-study employee, but have the freedom to spend their paycheck on anything they would like. On-campus jobs can range from librarian assistant, postal clerk or even cook. The greatest benefit of these jobs are that students living on-campus do not have to worry about commuting.

Last but surely not least is the off-campus job. All of my jobs and internships, except one, have been off-campus. In terms of benefits, I personally think these positions are the best. From my experience, even though the commute may be inconvenient, off-campus jobs are open to anybody and give students more opportunities to explore outside of school. A wide variety of positions are available to the student, specifically opportunities to hold a position geared toward their major.

Additionally, I find that outside of campus, employers are less focused on the “student” title and more of the “employee” title. Employers can offer more hours than work-studies and on-campus jobs as well as responsibility, providing students with more real world skills that will benefit them as a post-graduate adult in the workforce.

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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Sexual Assault on Campus

Jul 27, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Every week we hear a new story about sexual assault on the college campus. By now the fact that 20% of females and 5% of men “reported being sexually assaulted either by physical force or while incapacitated” is no longer surprising. What most people are surprised about is the fact that 82% of the time, the perpetrator is known to the victim.

We all know that college is the time to explore new experiences, especially when it comes to relationships and intimacy. However, whether you’re an upperclassmen or a high school student, it’s important to know what resources are and should be available at your school and community if you ever find yourself in a position where you or a friend are in need of help.

Title IX is a civil right that ensures non-discrimination on the college campus based off of gender and sex. Each school is different in what services they provide via Title IX but they are required by law to have an established procedure for dealing with sexual assault cases.

Hotlines: Your school may have a crisis intervention team or health office that you can contact if you feel the need. However, many individuals do not immediately feel comfortable sharing their story with officials or friends. There are a variety of hotlines that provide anonymous services:

Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN) offers an online hotline here: https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ and a telephone line: 800-656-HOPE.

National Domestic Violence hotline offers online services here: http://www.thehotline.org/ and on the phone 1-800-799-7233

National Teen Dating Abuse Online Helpline can be accessed here: http://www.loveisrespect.org/

*Remember, if you are in immediate danger, call 911.

It is always a good idea to review the policies your school has set in place and make sure that you feel comfortable with them. Because the majority of sexual assault instances occur with acquaintances, be sure to brush up on your understanding of consent and have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

Does reading this article make you sick to your stomach? Do something about it and conduct a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com to see what student body is waiting for you to lead them.

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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Insight on Dorm Life

Jul 24, 2015

by Erica Lewis

It’s that time of year when housing assignments start coming out for the upcoming school year. Some students will know their roommates, but many won’t. Moving onto campus is a very exciting moment for students. It certainly was for me. It means getting away from home and getting to have your own space. For many of us, it also means learning to share space with another person. It’s a challenging, but fun experience.

There’s a variety of options where you can live in college. Many schools require students to live on campus for at least their first year in school. This is mainly to help with the transition of learning the ropes of campus and getting to meet more people. When it comes to on campus living, the traditional dorm rooms are 2 people per room and a bathroom down the hall. That’s probably the general situation for most freshmen, depending on the school. However, there are other options. The one I live in is suite-style dorms, which is like an apartment only without the full size kitchen; I still go to the dining halls to eat. Some campuses may also have apartments, but I typically think of apartments as off-campus living.

Many students move off-campus as upperclassmen to try to save money. You lose the convenience of being directly on campus, but most cities with colleges have plenty of living space not far from campus. Living off campus is great for many students, but you have to plan your budget to buy groceries, gas, pay rent, etc. There’s positives and negatives no matter where you choose to live. Make sure to think it through and decide which plan will work best for you and what you want to do.

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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Discovering Your Personal Soundtrack for Success

Jul 22, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Forgive me if this seems a bit nerdy but I listen to soundtracks when I write and one of the most important things I wrote in my high school career was my Common Application essay. Preparing for this essay was overwhelming but it helped me to collect a master soundtrack that triggered all the questions I needed to answer.

Who am I? In the classic musical inspired by Victor Hugo's novel, Les Miserables, Jean Valjean faces the immense difficulty of revealing his true identity or remaining safe in a lie. While you may not have such dire circumstances as he, this question is the core of what colleges want to know about you.

Why do we fall? I'll be honest, The Dark Knight Trilogy directly influenced my essay as I wrote about overcoming obstacles. This song, featuring the chant that follows Batman through his escape from prison, represents both hardship and triumph. When thinking about your failures, ask yourself what impact they had on you and how your life view changed.

Where is my home? Continuing with my nerdiness, I grew up with The Lord of the Rings books and movies. The shire not only represents innocence and beauty, but home and culture. Your home can teach you a lot of things: where you feel comfortable, where you work best, what means a lot to you. How does your college fit into that?

What is my future? Without considering any obstacles, what is the best thing you want to do with your life? College is an investment in your future and in your time - how are you going to spend it?

I have found that in the twilight with a notebook and pen in hand and music pulsing in your ears, it is easy to think on these questions. More than anything, your Common Application essay should be a piece of you, whether it carries your obsession with Batman or your love of dogs, you should feel proud to send it away.

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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A Winning Recipe for College Dining

Jul 20, 2015

by Erica Lewis

Food is important to any college student. Who doesn't love food? When college begins, it's important to think about all of the dining options that are available. Many campuses offer dining halls on campus, with smaller schools having one or two options and larger universities boasting more choices. There are many advantages to eating on campus, the biggest one being convenience: Not only are your options close by but payment is often as easy as swiping your student ID. Many students may be tempted to eat off campus but that can mean going through a lot of money in a hurry.

Whether on or off campus, it is important to think about the amount of money being spent on food; however, this is especially important if living off campus where you can't necessarily eat at the dining halls for every meal. Buying fast food can seem like a cheaper option but it will add up over time. Money can be saved by buying food at the grocery store; your meals will usually be healthier, too. This could be the nudge you need to learn how to cook!

Finally, I recommend taking advantage of any opportunities to get free food! This varies from campus to campus but there are usually plenty of chances to get free food if you look for them. (At UNL, for example, many of the less-popular sports offer free food to students for attending.) Other opportunities could be handouts from your campus rec center or from your RA at dorm floor meetings. As a college student, you'll quickly learn to take advantage of anything that's free!

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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College Applications - Start Early and Revise Often

Jul 17, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

To all the seniors...

Take a deep breath. The most common piece of advice for high school seniors is to start your applications early and that's because it's true...but it doesn't have to ruin your summer! The Common Application essay prompts are already out and the 2015-2016 Common App opens on August 1st. Some of you are probably staring at a list of 6 to 12 schools wondering how you'll manage to write all those essays, pay for all those application fees and keep track of those deadlines. It's possible, though: We can do this together.

As someone who applied to 11 schools, my best advice for writing lots of essays is to start them all. Grab a journal and write down the prompts and your initial ideas. Carry that journal with you and keep track of anything that comes to your mind. Try setting the timer for 20 minutes, playing your favorite album and simply writing. If that doesn't give you any ideas, sit down with your parents or another adult that knows you well and just talk about what has shaped you as an individual. Remember that your first drafts are simply drafts; the advantage of starting early is that you can revise and think it through over and over again.

To reduce the anxiety, print out a calendar and map out your deadlines. You can try color coding your schools, scholarship deadlines and other big events. Write in when you are going to send the essays to editors and when you are going to submit them to your colleges. Remember, The Common App and other systems get really busy on the major deadline days so submit early to avoid technical difficulties. It's also a good idea to share this calendar with your parents and estimate how much your applications will cost. In addition to the application fee, your high school might have transcript fees so consider that as well and plan in advance where this money will come from.

Have you started the college application process yet? What has worked for you thus far?

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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Why Students Should Use Scholarship Websites

Jul 15, 2015

by Genevieve Grant

Why should you use scholarship websites? How should you use them? And what are the chances of you actually getting scholarships off of these sites? I had the opportunity to interview Scholarships.com VP Kevin Ladd and here's what I found.

Scholarships.com is a space for scholarship providers to manage their own submissions, so what you see is what you get. The scholarships offered on this site are then more up to date than some of the other sites out there. Some tips for using this site included using it frequently, constantly looking for new postings and maintaining your profile so your information is current. Also a pro tip from Kevin: "If you can use a single essay for more than one scholarship application, DO IT. Just make sure that you are still following the instructions and not cutting corners."

Timing and organization are also important. Sort your scholarship results based on the time of year with larger dollar amounts at the top of the list in the fall and by deadline date in the spring so you don't miss applying for anything. Though this is not to say that there is any one "good" time to apply for scholarships; rather, you should continuously apply for as many as you can throughout the year, regardless if you're in your junior year of high school or your senior year of college.

I also asked about the kinks. What are people put off by when using the site? The two biggest drawbacks are users having too many results and not knowing where to start, and also the profile to some, is asking for too much detail. In response to that, Kevin stated that users "will get even better results by spending a bit more time and providing a bit more information." That being said, it's okay to brag about what you do! Give them the entire list of all the activities, sports and clubs you participate in, all the details about awards you've received, internships, research you've done, even where you've worked. It'll pay off!

If it isn't easy enough, I'll make it easier. You're already at the leading site for scholarships so just click Scholarhips.com to fill out your free profile now. Don't waste another second and let someone take away the money you deserve.

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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The Pros and Cons of Commuting

Jul 15, 2015

by Ashley Grego

Commuting from home is awesome or awful depending on the student. Do the benefits of commuting outweigh the negatives? As a commuter student, I have firsthand experience with the pros as well as the cons.

  1. Boredom: Some colleges are simply limited on the activities students can participate in, which can cause students to become bored easily. As a commuter, however, I know the surrounding areas of my college and never really get bored. If there is nothing on campus, I just hang out friends and do something we would have done in high school like local sporting events or concerts.
  2. Comfort: The hardest thing for many freshmen is adjusting to college life. I didn't have this issue: I get to come home to my family every day, limiting homesickness. My regular schedule has not changed and if I need my parents urgently, they are not far from my reach.
  3. Time Management: Going to college is a big jump from the previous independence most high school students have experienced but the lack of structure can negatively impact your time management. Commuting from home gives you a sample of independence without removing the safety net. Yes, college requires more energy, reading, studying and participation in general; however, living at home means I rely on parents a little bit so I can focus on my studies and not constantly worry about a healthy non-cafeteria meal or laundry. Mom helps me out!
  4. Saving Money: Probably the biggest benefit of commuting from home is saving money. Sure, I pay gas to drive to campus but its total expense does not compare to the cost of room and board. For a family like mine who does not receive any financial aid but still could use it, commuting from home seemed like the best option to save.

Commuting from home is not for everybody but for some, it is really the perfect fit. And if it isn't? Use the money you saved to move onto or closer to campus further into your college years.

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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