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Your College Application Guide

October 9, 2012

Your College Application Guide

by Radha Jhatakia

For seniors in high school, it’s about that time to dive into your college applications. The process is rather involved and has the potential to become very stressful but here’s how you can go about it while retaining your sanity.

First, you likely already have a list of colleges you are considering but start narrowing down your top contenders. Look at the majors they offer and see if they have the programs you’re interested in. Check the cost – financial aid may play a key role in what college you attend – and also see if they have activities that interest you (a sport you want to play, a specific student organization, a Greek system, an honors program, etc.). What’s the on-campus housing situation and could you see yourself living in the dorms? Consider these questions and more when deciding whether or not to apply to a college.

Second, check all the application deadlines. Remember, besides the actual application, you must submit test scores, transcripts, recommendation letters and personal statements and you need adequate time to procure all of these items. Also, review the fees associated with each application; some schools let you apply for free or a discounted rate online but you should also consider requesting application fee waivers if money is tight.

Third, the personal statement is the biggest part of the college application because it represents your personality. You may have a high GPA, AP classes and extracurricular activities but so do many other students – what will set you apart from the rest of the application pool is how you present yourself in the personal statement. Have a teacher or parent review your personal statement and edit it for you before submitting it to your college of choice.

Fourth – and although this is fourth on this list, you still want to get it done early – request recommendation letters. Ask teachers you’ve worked with and trust well in advance if they can write on your behalf. Have two or three for each college that requires one. Along with your personal information/resume/school involvement list, give the teacher an envelope that is stamped and addressed to the college(s) to which you’re applying so they can submit their letters directly.

Last but not least, take all your tests on time. If you haven’t taken the ACT, SAT or SAT II tests, register for the next available date; check which tests your colleges require and sign up for those ASAP!

Radha Jhatakia is a communications major at San Jose State University. She's a transfer student who had some ups and downs in school and many obstacles to face; these challenges – plus support from family, friends and cat – have only made Radha stronger and have given her the experience to help others with the same issues. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, reading, cooking, sewing and designing. A social butterfly, Radha hopes to work in public relations and marketing upon graduation.

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The Common App Announces Big Changes

October 10, 2012

The Common App Announces Big Changes

by Alexis Mattera

Show of hands, people: Who has ever applied to college or is considering applying to college by using the Common Application? As the list of schools accepting this document grows (there are currently 488 members), so will the number of college hopefuls opting to use it. It’s incredibly convenient for students looking to apply to multiple schools but future applicants should know that big changes are afoot for the next admissions cycle.

According to representatives from the Common Application, changes – which will take effect on August 1, 2013 – include web-only submission and the removal of the popular "topic of your choice" essay option. Rules regarding the essays will also become more rigid: Students will be required to write at least 250 words but those who exceed the 500-word maximum will face an error message. Lastly, the ability to upload resumes will be eliminated unless specifically requested by a particular college.

What do you think of the Common App’s new approach? Will you welcome the changes or will they deter you from using this application method altogether?

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Scholarship of the Week: Youth Free Expression Film Contest

October 15, 2012

Scholarship of the Week: Youth Free Expression Film Contest

by Suada Kolovic

Books get pulled from library shelves and school curricula all the time because someone complains about the language they contain or the topics they address. Tell us about a time when parents, a teacher or some other adult was distressed at what you or someone you know were reading...and wanted to take it away. You can also submit a film about or inspired by a book censorship incident from the news that involves students or other young people.

Film your response in four minutes or less. Entries can be videos of any kind, including documentary, animation, experimental, satire, fictional narrative or music video. Applications must be submitted (and films uploaded to YouTube) no later than October 31st. All films must be produced during the current calendar year and address the contest theme.

Contestants must be either living in the U.S. or its territories (but need not be citizens) and must be age 19 or younger on the day the film is submitted. Films will be judged on content, artistic and technical merit and creativity. Judges will be drawn from a panel of renowned writers, actors and filmmakers.

The top three winners receive:

  • Cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250
  • A trip with a guest to New York City to attend the Youth Voices Uncensored event in the spring
  • A one-year complimentary student membership to the Rubin Museum of Art
  • The first place winner will received a $5,000 scholarship to the New York Film Academy

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

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Boo! Short & Tweet is Back for October!

Your Scariest College-Related Experience Could Earn You $1,000 or a Kindle

October 18, 2012

Boo! Short & Tweet is Back for October!

by Suada Kolovic

Applying to and attending college can be the best time of your life but it can also be the scariest! Did your guidance counselor forget to include your transcript in your application packet? Were you matched with a freshman roommate who had an aversion to soap? We want to know: Tell us your scariest college-related experience in 140 characters for a chance to win $1,000 or a Kindle for college through our latest Short & Tweet Twitter Scholarship!

Don’t be scared – entering is easy! Simply log on to Twitter (or create an account if you don’t already have one), follow us and mention us (@Scholarshipscom) in your tweet detailing your scariest college-related experience. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to apply:

  • Step 1: Follow @Scholarshipscom on Twitter.
  • Step 2: Mention us (@Scholarshipscom) in a tweet answering the question “What is your scariest college-related moment?” Once you do this, you are automatically entered to win a $1,000 scholarship or one of two Kindles.
  • Step 3: You may apply as many times as you want but please limit your tweets to five per day. Each tweet will be a stand-alone entry and tweets that are submitted by non-followers, exceed 140 characters, do not include @Scholarshipscom, do not answer the entire question or are submitted after the November 11th deadline will not be considered. From there, the Scholarships.com Team will determine which entries are most deserving of the awards; the best tweet will receive a $1,000 scholarship and second- and third-place winners will receive one Kindle each.

This scholarship competition is offered by Scholarships.com and is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter.

For official rules, please click here.

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Free Speech + Free Money for College = Scholarship of the Week!

October 22, 2012

Free Speech + Free Money for College = Scholarship of the Week!

by Alexis Mattera

Do you think free speech is important at our nation’s colleges and universities? Are censorship of student speech and higher education incompatible? If you answered yes to both questions and are a high school junior or senior, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a scholarship opportunity for you in its annual Freedom in Academia Essay Contest!

FIRE's mission is to defend and sustain individual rights at America's colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty and sanctity of conscience – the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. At FIRE's core is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them. If you share these beliefs, fire up your keyboard and enter now: Students must submit an essay between 800 and 1,000 words on this year’s topic (provided on FIRE’s website) to be eligible to receive one of nine awards: $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place, $1,000 for three runners-up or $500 for four randomly-selected participants.

FIRE is accepting essay contest entries through November 25th. If you are interested in learning more about this or other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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Scholarships.com Launches RightStudent College Recruitment Service

October 4, 2012

by Suada Kolovic

Highland Park, Ill. - Scholarships.com, one of the most widely-used and trusted free college scholarship search and financial aid information resources on the Internet, has recently launched RightStudent, a recruitment service designed to help college recruiters and admissions officers find the ideal students for their institutions.

“For more than 12 years, students, parents and educators have been using Scholarships.com to find scholarships, grants and other valuable financial aid information at no cost to them. And while we feel great about having played such an instrumental role in so many students’ journeys to and through college, we knew we could do more. And we are...with RightStudent.” said vice president Kevin Ladd. The benefits are two-fold: On the Scholarships.com side, students enter their information – which includes potential majors, extracurricular activities and family income level – to be matched with their ideal scholarship awards and on the RightStudent side, colleges can use this information to create campaigns that speak directly to their ideal applicants. “If a college is seeking a specific type of student, RightStudent can help them not only find that candidate but ultimately reach out and recruit them for their incoming class,” Ladd added.

RightStudent is currently offering interested colleges and universities a free demo and trial of its service. For more details about RightStudent and to schedule a demo, please visit www.rightstudent.com or call 847-432-1700.



About Scholarships.com

Since its founding in 1999, Scholarships.com has had one goal: to help students find money for college. More than a decade later, Scholarships.com is recognized by high schools, colleges and universities nationwide and remains a trusted option for students and parents navigating the college and financial aid processes. To obtain more information, order free materials or create a profile, visit www.scholarships.com.


Media Contact:

Kevin Ladd
RightStudent
Phone: 847-432-1700 x 111
knl@rightstudent.com

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Scholarship of the Week: JFK Courage Essay Contest

November 21, 2012

Scholarship of the Week: JFK Courage Essay Contest

by Suada Kolovic

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is the nation's most prestigious honor for elected public servants. The Award was created in 1989 by members of President Kennedy's family to honor President John F. Kennedy and recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most.

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest invites high school students to consider the concept of political courage by writing an essay on a U.S. official who has chosen to do what is right, rather than what is expedient. A "Profile in Courage" essay is a carefully researched recounting of a story: the story of how an elected official risked his or her career to take a stand based on moral principles.

Students are asked to write an original and creative essay of less than 1,000 words that demonstrates an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in "Profiles in Courage." Students should use a variety of sources such as newspaper articles, books, and/or personal interviews to address this year's essay topic.

The essay topic, submission guidelines and contest details can be found online. For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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Like Scholarships.com? Tell a Friend to Win $1,000 in This SOTW!

December 10, 2012

Like Scholarships.com? Tell a Friend to Win $1,000 in This SOTW!

by Suada Kolovic

As a Scholarships.com member, you have free access to a customized scholarship search, detailed financial aid information, an organized college search, standardized test study guides and much more. Like what you see? Spread the word about Scholarships.com to your friends through our “Tell A Friend” Scholarship and you'll have a chance to win money for college - $1,000 for you and $500 for one of your buddies.

To enter, simply copy your personalized TAF referral link and blog it, tweet it, email it, IM it or Facebook it. For every one of your friends who creates a profile on our site by clicking your link, you will be entered to win a $1,000 award; there’s no limit as to how many people you can send your link to and if you win, one of your friends who created a Scholarships.com profile using your link will be chosen at random to win $500.

For more information, visit our Tell a Friend Scholarship page and for additional scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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Become a MIT THINK Scholar in this SOTW!

MIT is Accepting Entries Through Jan. 12th

December 18, 2012

Become a MIT THINK Scholar in this SOTW!

by Suada Kolovic

Have a great idea? Then MIT’s THINK Scholars Program might be the scholarship for you! The program helps high school students turn ideas into reality. THINK project proposals are science and engineering ideas that span many fields from green technologies and practical devices to software applications. Almost anything is fair game. As long as it can be completed in one semester with a $2,000 budget. The program is run by undergraduate students at MIT and sponsored by technology companies and educational organizations.

All high school students are eligible to participate. For more information on this scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search today!

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SOTW: Girls Impact the World Film Festival Scholarship

Deadline Quickly Approaching

December 24, 2012

SOTW: Girls Impact the World Film Festival Scholarship

by Suada Kolovic

The Girls Impact the World Film Festival, presented by the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative (SIC) and Connecther, is a film festival and scholarship program in which high school and undergraduate college students submit 3-5 minute short films that focus on a variety of global women's issues, including maternal health, microfinance initiatives, child-marriage, sex-trafficking, poverty alleviation, etc.

Winners will receive a monetary prize, film distribution channels via SIC, Connecther and Creative Visions networks, as well as an internship opportunity at Creative Visions in Los Angeles. An official screening and red carpet will take place at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, MA on February 23. The film festival has marketing partners in college campuses across the nation.

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

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