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Head(s) of the Class?

Naming Multiple Valedictorians Becoming More Common

July 6, 2010

by Agnes Jasinski

If you just attended your high school graduation, you probably still remember some of the advice given to you by the valedictorian for your class, the student who received the highest marks and highest GPAs over their four years there.

If you attended graduation at Long Island’s Jericho High School, though, it may not even be that easy to name who was up on stage, no matter their words of wisdom. That’s because seven high school seniors were named valedictorians at the school, according to a recent article in The New York Times. Rather than giving a captive audience seven inspirational speeches, the group came up with a skit about their experiences at Jericho. Each valedictorian also had 30 seconds to devote to their personal well wishes.

Honoring multiple students with the title of valedictorian isn’t unique to Jericho. Many of the best suburban schools across the country are now naming more than one student to the top spot, and administrators say this leaves students less stressed and less focused on competition. According to the Times article, administrators say it is usually mere fractions that separate the top five (or seven) spots at any given school, making it difficult to be fair when it comes to choosing a valedictorian and even salutatorian, traditionally the second-place finisher.

How has this changed the make-up of high schools? Consider this. According to the Times, eight high schools in the St. Vrain Valley district in Colorado crowned 94 valedictorians. Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey chose a speaker via lottery among its chosen nine valedictorians. Harrison High School in New York City got rid of the title altogether, naming top graduates a part of the “summa cum laude” class instead. Does this mean students are just more serious about academics, and more are doing better in high school? Or does it mean more have access to a traditionally elite group of high school graduates?

Administrators on the college level warn that the practice only contributes to “honor inflation,” according to the article. Competition exists on the college level, and a healthy degree of that in high school serves as preparation for the rigors of keeping up at institutions of higher education, they say. One Harvard University dean quoted in the article described the case of a home-schooled student applying to the Ivy League institution. That student claimed they were at the top of their class—of one student. What do you think? How many valedictorians did you have at your own graduation?


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KFC Offers $20K for Best Tweet

This Scholarship of the Week’s Deadline is Friday!

November 22, 2010

KFC Offers $20K for Best Tweet

by Suada Kolovic

>Through November 26, KFC wants high school seniors to put their tweeting skills to good use and apply for the $20,000 Colonel’s Scholars scholarship. KFC is asking college hopefuls to tweet why they exemplify Colonel Sanders’ commitment to education and enriching their communities, and why they are deserving of a college scholarship. The scholarship winner, announced on December 1, will receive up to $5,000 per year for the next four years to pursue a bachelor’s degree at an accredited public university within his or her home state.

And a scholarship for tweeting is definitely S-O, G double O D good! For more information on this scholarship and others you may be eligible for, conduct a free scholarship search!


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Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition

Deadline Approaching for the Scholarship of the Week

January 3, 2011

Courageous Persuaders Video Scholarship Competition

by Suada Kolovic

Are you an aspiring director or an up-and-coming YouTube star? Perhaps you’re just fascinated by movies and the process of making them. If you’ve got some spare time and access to recording equipment, then this week’s Scholarship of the Week may be right for you. Courageous Persuaders invites high school students to create a television commercial about the dangers of alcohol use. Students compete for scholarship money and trophies. The grand prize-winning commercial actually airs on TV as a public service announcement.

High school students attending a United States High School can participate; emphasis is placed on concept and the message, not on production values. For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!


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Top Majors for College Class of 2011 Announced

by Suada Kolovic

Unfortunately, only two winners walked away with the $355 Mega Millions jackpot and if you weren’t one of them, instant fame and fortune may not be in the cards for you, but a lucrative career that is in high demand could be four short years away. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for possible majors and post-collegiate careers, looking at majors that are sought after may not be a bad place to start.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), organizations are most interested in hiring new college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the business, engineering and computer science fields. Nearly 62 percent of the organizations participating in NACE’s Job Outlook 2011 survey said they plan to hire accounting graduates, followed by finance (57 percent) and electrical engineering (53.5 percent). Here are the top six degrees according to NACE’s findings:

  1. Accounting
  2. Finance
  3. Electrical Engineering
  4. Mechanical Engineering
  5. Computer Science
  6. Business Administration/Management

Each year, through the Job Outlook survey, NACE surveys its employer members about their hiring plans in order to project the job market for new college graduates. Do you agree with this list? Let us know what you think.


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Win $10K in This Scholarship of the Week!

National Peace Essay Contest Deadline Feb. 1st

January 17, 2011

Win $10K in This Scholarship of the Week!

by Suada Kolovic

Established in 1987, the National Peace Essay Contest is an annual contest open to high school students that provides the opportunity to do valuable research, writing and thinking on a topic of importance to international peace and conflict resolution. This year’s topic is Governance, Corruption, and Conflict. To participate, students are asked to answer the question: For those who hope to prevent violent conflict, how can their efforts to reduce, if not eliminate, corruption best contribute to building sustainable peace using two cases of countries in transition from war to peace?

State Level Awards are $1,000 college scholarships. National winners are selected from among the 1st place state winners. National winners receive scholarships in the following amounts: first place $10,000; second $5,000; third $2,500. First place state winners are invited to an all expenses-paid awards program in Washington, D.C. in June.

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!


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Your Score’s in the Mail...or Not

One Hundred High School Seniors’ ACT Results Lost

February 3, 2011

Your Score’s in the Mail...or Not

by Suada Kolovic

What three letters can inspire fear and loathing in the hearts of high school juniors and seniors nationwide? Depending on the region you live in, the answer is either the SAT or ACT. After a tense afternoon of test-taking, the last thing students want to think about is having to take the test again but for a group of Oakland high school seniors, that was their only option because ACT lost 100 of their test scores. According to ABC Local News, the standardized test scores were lost in the mail. ACT informed the affected students of the mishap on part of the organization and said they’d waive the fee for the February test dates. The problem: Some admissions decisions are due by March, so it may be too late for these applicants to be considered by some schools.

A spokesperson for ACT told ABC that the affected students have been “urged to contact the college(s) and inform them of the situation. The students may provide the college a copy of the letter they received from ACT regarding the need for the retest.” The spokesperson added that colleges are usually flexible when such a mistakes occur…and this isn’t the first “mishap” on the part of ACT either: Back in August, a handful of students didn’t receive their marks for months due to postal slip ups and yet here we are once again.

Snail mail is beyond outdated; aren’t there better ways to receive your test scores? ACT, have you heard of e-mail? To those of you who just received your test scores, how would you feel if this happened to you?


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The Young Naturalist Awards Scholarship

Deadline Approaching for the Scholarship of the Week

February 21, 2011

The Young Naturalist Awards Scholarship

by Suada Kolovic

>The Young Naturalist Awards Program hosted by the American Museum of Natural History, invites students in grades 7 through 12 to conduct original research in the areas of biology, earth science or astronomy. Students work independently to make observations, record data and illustrate findings before documenting their research in a written essay. The 12 finalists (two per grade) receive scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,500 and are flown to New York City to meet museum scientists, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum and attend an awards ceremony.

Winners are further distinguished by having their essays published on the Museum's website. The program is conducted by the American Museum of Natural History and supported by Alcoa Foundation. Entrants must be United States or Canadian citizens or legal residents living within the United States, Canada or U.S. Territories. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of science teachers and by museum scientists.

For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!


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March Means Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines!

by Suada Kolovic

Deadlines and due dates are serious stressors for almost everyone on the planet and this anxiety is only intensified when there’s money on the line. In the month of March, scholarship deadlines are ample and abundant to say the least and here at Scholarships.com, we know that you’re so busy during the school year with homework, extracurricular obligations and jobs that finding the time to successfully apply for scholarships and actually meeting those scholarship application deadlines can seem downright impossible. With the right strategy and willpower, however, you can stay on track and easily defeat those deadlines woes.

Perhaps the best advice for meeting scholarship application deadlines is to be honest with yourself about what you’re likely to finish and how long it’s likely to take you. If you know that you’re not going to be able to write a scholarship-worthy essay in less than a day, then you should either give yourself more time to prepare a particular scholarship application or to cross that essay scholarship off your list of potential sources of scholarship money. The key to effectively meeting scholarship application deadlines and winning scholarships is to effectively prioritize your scholarship opportunities and application efforts. Don’t strain yourself, don’t procrastinate and don’t force yourself into a situation where you must submit subpar work. Give yourself time, get organized and prepare as much as possible beforehand and you’ll be on well on your way to success in your scholarship search.

Below are some scholarships with fast-approaching applications deadlines. Remember, the sooner you start your scholarship search the better; it really could make all the difference when it comes to making a serious dent in your post-college financial situation.

  • GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarships

    Honoring the legacy and character of our nation's 40th President, this program rewards up to 20 college-bound students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship with financial assistance to pursue higher education. These renewable scholarships are $10,000 annually per recipient – that’s potentially up to $40,000 per recipient over the course of their college careers. The application deadline is March 18th.
  • The "You Like Me…You Really Like Me" Facebook Scholarship

    The "You Like Me...You Really Like Me" Facebook Scholarship will go to the Scholarships.com fan that is making the best use of our website’s many resources as determined by comments on our Facebook page. Love our scholarship search? Tell us why! Is our financial aid info really helping you out? Send us an example! Think our college prep section is the best? Give us a shout out! The application deadline is March 31st.
  • Zinch Weekly "Three Sentence Essay" Scholarship

    Writing three sentences and banking $1,000 to put toward college may seem like a dream but it is indeed a reality with the Three Sentence Essay from Zinch. Though many essay scholarships have word count requirements in the hundreds or thousands, Zinch caps theirs at 280 characters and requires applicants to respond to a prompt that changes on a weekly basis. All high school and college students (including international students) are eligible to participate so go ahead and check out the prompt, think about it some and submit a concise yet thoughtful answer worthy of $1,000.
  • Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program

    The Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program recognizes and rewards young volunteers (ages 6-18) whose efforts have made a positive impact on their communities. This year, Kohl’s plans to recognize more than 2,100 kids with prizes ranging from $50 Kohl’s Gift Cards to $1,000 or $10,000 scholarships. Nominations accepted online from February 1st through March 15th. Winners are chosen based on the project, benefits and outcomes.
  • GoDaddy.com .ME Scholarship

    The Go Daddy .ME Scholarship is all about YOU! Do you have what it takes to be a Go Daddy Scholar? We want to know how the Internet or Internet technology (e.g., websites, blogs, forums, social media, etc.) has helped you during the course of your studies. Have you used the Internet to advance your athletic, artistic or intellectual pursuits? How do you envision benefitting from it through college and beyond? Tell us in 500 words or less and you can become one of 10 Go Daddy Scholars to receive $10,000 for your college tuition. The application deadline is March 15th.

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Not-So-Standardized Testing

Controversy Surrounds Unconventional SAT Essay Prompt

March 16, 2011

Not-So-Standardized Testing

by Alexis Mattera

This past Saturday, one-third of high school students taking the SAT opened their writing sections and were met with a prompt that even the most extensive prep courses couldn’t have prepared them for. The topic? Reality television and its impact on its viewers.

While the prompt didn’t ask test-takers to cite specific shows or characters (as a New York Daily News headline suggests), SAT owner the College Board has been called culturally insensitive because the question assumes all students have a television, watch reality television and watch enough reality television to distinguish between them. Angela Garcia, executive director of the SAT program, responded that all essay prompts are pretested with students and then reviewed "to ensure that they are easily understood and that each student has an opportunity to respond, and is wide-ranging enough for a student to demonstrate their writing skills." Still, students, parents and school officials are equal parts distraught and confused, anxiously awaiting to see how answers to this question will impact scores.

Standardized testing – whether it’s about changes to existing exams or the decision to make submitting scores optional – is a hot topic as of late and now, we want to hear from you. Did you receive the reality prompt? How did you respond? Do you think you would have fared better if you were given a different prompt? Do you think the SAT (or standardized testing in general) is an accurate measure of a student’s worth?


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Scholarships.com Virtual Interns Wanted

by Alexis Mattera

Whether you're putting pen to paper, live tweeting campus events or blogging until the wee hours of the morning, one thing is certain: Sharing information is your passion. And you know what? It's ours, too, so let's join forces through Scholarships.com's virtual intern program!

Over the last 15 years, Scholarships.com has been a go-to site not only for high schoolers in search of financial aid but for college students living away from home for the first time, trying to balance limited money for food and fun, and adjusting to postsecondary academic expectations. We have plenty of information on those topics and more but we want to hear from you about what's going on at the campus you call home for the majority of the year. From parties to politics, from housing to hazing, and from class registration to commencement exercises, let us know what's trending at your school and your musings could be featured regularly on our blog.

If you're interested in becoming a Scholarships.com virtual intern, please send your resume, a 300-word writing sample detailing a campus issue, and links to your blog/Tumblr/Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest to virtualintern@scholarships.com with "Scholarships.com Virtual Intern" in the subject line.Thanks and looking forward to hearing what your unique voice has to say!


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