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Mom’s Famous Spaghetti

Aug 17, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

It seems like to get into college these days students have to be involved in nearly everything: sports, debate team, internships, nonprofit volunteering, honor societies, part time jobs…the list of potential activities goes on. But how do you describe yourself adequately without breaking the cardinal rule of the college essay: Do Not Regurgitate Your Resume? Here’s a little metaphor to help break it down.

Imagine that all the different pieces of you are embodied in ingredients to your favorite meal. Your volunteering is the pasta, your creativity is the tomato, your leadership is the salt, that time you lost the championship game is the garlic…and so on. Now imagine that your college essay is the recipe and it has to tell the admissions officer, the cook, how to make your Mom’s famous spaghetti.

To make her sauce it is important to have the right proportions: how many tomatoes, how much salt and how much garlic? A list of ingredients is nothing without the amounts and neither is your application. Did you spend a year on a research project? Have you volunteered since you were in elementary school? Look to the length of your involvement for signs of character growth, project manifestation, and endurance.

Once you put the ingredients in the pot, you have to heat them up. You have to stir it to just the right temperature so that the scent fills the air around you. The circumstances of your involvement are important too. Did you finish the race despite all odds? Did you try something new? How did it change you? In what way did you interact with your environment to accomplish something?

Then there’s the secret ingredient, the one that Mom’s grandmother’s grandmother whispered in her ear years ago. It’s the ingredient that lets the sauce linger on your taste buds just a second longer so you can savor the taste. In your essay, it’s what creates the perfect picture of you. For me, it was sharing my biggest hopes and dreams, for you it might be describing the way your hands shook when you held the trophy, or the feeling of your first paycheck. It is something unchangeable, something only cultivated by a true connection between the reader and the writer.

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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Significance of Joining Clubs and Organizations in College

Aug 14, 2015

by Erica Lewis

Many students find an area of interest outside the classroom to be involved in during high school, but being involved in extracurricular activities at college has a significant impact on your education experience and even future career. It allows you to build your resume, make new friends and provides scholarship opportunities that you might not have otherwise known about.

During the first few weeks of classes, clubs are trying to recruit new members at full force. It’s a great opportunity to discover what programs your school offers that best fit your interests. I would suggest starting out with multiple clubs and then sticking with the ones that interest you the most. Many majors have their own club, but you don’t have to be in a major to be in a club, just a desire to partake in what they offer. One of the best things about being in students organizations is the people you meet. Many organizations bring in professionals to talk about resume building, job applications and of course scholarships.

Another thing that I enjoy about clubs is the opportunity to meet other students taking the same classes as you and get advice from students who have already taken challenging courses. It’s always nice to have someone you can go to when studying for a big exam. My closest friends at college today stemmed from the relationships started in the clubs I joined. Not only do we see each other at club events, but we also enjoy doing fun activities together as well.

My biggest piece of advice with clubs is to seek out the ones that interest you the most and stick with the ones that you feel provide you with the opportunities you desire. Although clubs greatly enhance your college experience, you don’t want to become so involved that your GPA takes a hit. Personalize your college experience and utilize the resources your school offers.

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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Early Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision?

Aug 10, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

There are three common options for submitting your application to college. Early decision is a binding agreement stating that if you are accepted you will attend that school regardless of the cost or which program you are accepted to. Early action is simply submitting you application early and receiving your decision earlier. Regular decision is when you submit your application on the normal deadline and hear back in the spring.

There’s a lot of debate over which type of decision process is easier to get into. Generally, the caveat with Early Decision is that you are in a smaller pool of applicants, all of whom are as attached to that school as you are. This might mean that the acceptance rate is lower in fact for early decision applications. However, some people argue that applying early decision shows a school you are dedicated. That was the argument my parents used. It was an alluring one, you could know your college by Winter Break.

If you’re like me though, the thought of committing to a school without knowing all of your options terrifies you. That’s okay. There are many reasons why you might be wary of early decision even if your parents are ready to jump the gun.

Both of my parents went to their safety school; they did not have the option of a dream school. They wanted me to have every possible chance of acceptance at the best school. What I had to help them understand was that I did not know which school was my dream school. I applied to 12 schools, many of them reach schools that all had stellar reputations. The idea of turning down one school for another without even knowing the financial aid, honors, or other options I might have, did not make sense to me.

Eventually I convinced my parents that there was not a significant enough advantage to early decision to make committing worth it for me. I told them I wanted to see all of my financial aid options, compare career programs, and look into the fine details of where I was going to be for the next four years. Now that I am committed to my school, I can honestly say I do not regret doing regular decision. In fact, filling out the dozen applications helped me see which schools I liked better, and the long wait illuminated which school I was desperate to know about. In the end, by the time I got my acceptance to NYU, I had already decided I would go there in the fall.

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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80 Percent of College Students Drink

Aug 3, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

The disease of addiction has ravaged college campuses, evident by the fact that 80 percent of college students drink alcohol, 40 percent binge drink. College students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Young adolescent’s ages 18-24 already have an increased risk of addiction- those enrolled in a full-time college program are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Several factors play into substance abuse at the collegiate level. With the high demands of coursework, part-time jobs, internships, and social obligations, many students turn to drugs to cope with stress. A heavy course load has more students than ever taking stimulants, such as Adderall, to help them stay awake long enough to study or complete assignments by their due date. In a time where one is exploring many new aspects of life in personal and professional realms, college students are curious to self-explore and dip into drug experimentation.

But what drugs are being abused? The four most common substances that are consistently abused among college students are alcohol, Adderall, marijuana, and ecstasy. Because drinking is socially acceptable, the vast majority of substance abuse on college campuses spurs from the use of alcohol. In college, drinking often goes hand-in-hand with house parties, sporting events and student get-togethers. Since the use of alcohol on college campuses is widespread and often condoned, college students drink more frequently than their peers who aren’t in college. What students fail to realize is that excessive drinking is not only a major health concern in the long-term, but can lead to immediate tragedies such as assault, injury, arrest and even death.

Adderall, dubbed the “study drug” and other stimulants are increasing in popularity as students face the pressure to meet their study requirements. As we continue to see a shift in the leniency for marijuana legalization, more students have turned to pot as their drug of choice. On some campuses, marijuana use outweighs that of alcohol. Ecstasy, the “party drug” most common at raves and concerts, has made it’s resurgence in recent years in its pure form of MDMA or molly.

Other factors, such as being in a fraternity or sorority also contribute to increased drug abuse rates. College students as a group are similarly considered high-risk for developing eating disorders.

Do you feel like stress, work load and curiosity are valid excuses for college students to use drugs? Does knowing these statistics/facts change your perspective on going to college, or ideas on drinking/drugging at college?

A better statistic would be 80% percent of students that conduct a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com find free money for college. Let's be part of that group.

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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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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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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“Queer Sphere” Gains Visibility and Recognition in Higher Education

Jul 7, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Whether it’s Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer outlining his journey from the world’s greatest athlete, to a surgery which induced womanhood, or actress Laverne Cox breaking the trans glass ceiling in the Netflix’s hit series, Orange Is the New Black, where a trans woman is actually played by a trans woman, the transgender community continues to break the boundaries of social acceptance. The transgender push for equality has now shattered the Higher Education glass ceiling. According to the Washington Post, starting next fall, University of California applicants will be the first wave of students given the option to signal their sexual orientation and any number of gender identities on their application.

This change is one of several new accommodations the university has made in effort to make the campus as inclusive as possible. “I think it introduces the kind of welcoming environment we want to have just by introducing the question on the first thing students will see, which is the application they’re filling out. We think it’s very important,” said Pamela Brown, vice president for institutional research and academic planning, who serves on the system-wide-advisory council on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.

UC undergraduate program applicants will now have the option to answer the following questions:

How do you describe yourself?(Mark one answer)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans Male/Trans Man
  • Trans Female/Trans Woman
  • Genderqueer/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Different Identity

What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?

  • Male
  • Female

Do you consider yourself to be (Mark one answer):

  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not listed above (please specify)

The university hopes to one day implement these options in graduate study and employment applications. The information will enable them to track such students in order to monitor graduation rates and determine if the support available is sufficient.

President Janet Napolitano, who pushed for these changes with the creation of a task force last summer said “it doesn’t stop [here] – we must continue to look at where we can improve so everyone at UC feels respected and supported.”

University officials note that an applicant’s answer to any of the questions holds no bearing on chances for admission.

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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As More States Legalize Marijuana, “Cannabis College” Aims to Educate Students

Jun 30, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

If you walked into a seminar hall and were met with visions of tie-dyed t-shirts advertising High Times and marijuana-leaf tie clips as far as the eye could see, you may think you had stumbled onto the set of the classic movie Dazed and Confused. In actuality, you may have been in Washington, D.C. for a presentation by Oaksterdam University – the self-described “Cannabis College” – where more than 100 students recently took part in a 10-session seminar focusing on education in regions with recently loosened marijuana laws.

With nearly two dozen states having already legalized marijuana, Oaksterdam officials are trying to educate marijuana users, growers and purveyors. “It’s really important that you spread education because there’s way too much that people don’t realize,” said Oaksterdam provost and dean of faculty Aseem Sappal. “You’re going to continue to pass laws, and all of a sudden you’re going to start a dispensary, which is great. But who’s going to teach you how to open that dispensary? Who’s going to teach you how to cultivate?”

Since its founding in 2007 as a mix of trade school and advocacy group, Oaksterdam University has been thriving as students are eager to pay $800 to attend these weekend sessions. Seminars are so popular that they sell out two months in advance; fourteen-week semesters at Oaksterdam’s flagship campus in Oakland, Calif. are booked six months ahead of time. Plans to potentially expand by opening campuses in New York, Los Angeles and Colorado have already been discussed. Sappal argued that “it’s just a matter of time before the entire nation legalizes.”

What are your thoughts on Oaksterdam University, aka Cannabis College? Would you attend one of the school’s in-demand seminars or do you think the administration is just blowing smoke?

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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