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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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Earning Money AND Experience for College!

by Lisa Lowdermilk

Now that the semester is well underway, now might be a good time to start thinking about next semester, especially if you're worried about paying tuition. It’s not exactly a secret that college costs are continuing to rise so it’s in your best interest to find a job which will a) help you defray these expenses and b) pay a decent hourly wage. Admittedly, I thought a job which fulfills both those requirements was too much to ask for in this economy, and so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about Education at Work.

Education at Work is an organization which requires you to be a college student and rewards your academic endeavors with tuition assistance and a competitive salary. Sure, you won’t make a ton more money than you would at a more traditional customer service job but you wouldn’t be going to college in the first place if you did, right? Plus, Education at Work supports a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, cable TV, utilities and more, giving even the pickiest of college students a chance to find a career which suits their interests. And of course, maintaining a job through Education at Work looks great on a résumé, as it shows future employers that you were committed to finishing your education from the start.

To apply for a position through Education at Work, click here to tell the organization more about your skills and complete a phone audition and typing test to ensure your customer skills are up to snuff. Make sure to block out about 45 minutes to complete the assessment in a private setting – after all, you don’t want to do a voice audition at a library! Education at Work positions are highly sought after so if you’re interested, apply today!

Lisa Lowdermilk is a published poet, avid video gamer and artist. Her poems have appeared in Celebrate Young Poets: West (Fall 2006) edition and Widener University's The Blue Route. She enjoys watching thrillers, trying different restaurants and attempting to breakdance. Lisa is now majoring in professional writing at the University of Colorado Denver.


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Meet Scholarships.com's Virtual Interns: Carly Gerber

by Carly Gerber

Hello readers! My name is Carly Gerber and I’m the newest member of Scholarships.com's virtual intern team!

I was born and raised in Highland Park, Ill., which is a suburb 30 minutes north of Chicago. I knew I wanted to find my future employment in Chicago and that is why I picked the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for my undergrad education; I am, however, in the middle of transferring universities so I’ll keep you all posted on where this adventure takes me and why I picked my new school!

I am currently studying elementary education at U of I but my new goal is to pursue journalism because I love learning and sharing new information. In my spare time, I enjoy being with my family and friends, watching anything on HBO or Showtime and blogging about fashion. I joined the Scholarships.com virtual intern team so that I could help make life less stressful for college students because, let’s be honest, college is a stressful time! My goal as a virtual intern is to help someone in some way and to be honest – be sure to let me know how I’m doing in the comments section!


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Meet Scholarships.com's Virtual Interns: Chelsea Slaughter

by Chelsea Slaughter

Hello Scholarships.com readers! My name is Chelsea Slaughter and I am a junior at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL. I am majoring in public relations with a minor in art. I did not start off as a public relations major, however: I started off as a graphic design major. I love art and I just knew that it was what I wanted to do with my life after college but as it turned out, I was wrong.

Ever have a hobby that you loved to do in your free time and then you’re forced to do it and it becomes a chore? Well, that’s what happened with me. I didn’t want to draw or design for fun anymore so during the second semester of my freshman year, I decided to change to public relations. I had been doing music promotions on a street team and realized I was really good at it and I made my minor art because I still have passion for it. College is all about learning more about yourself and what suits you. I am very happy I decided to change my major as early as I did!

In my spare time, I enjoy the simple things. I make jewelry, hang with my friends and family and I’m an avid concertgoer, often traveling to see some of my favorite artists perform. I’m very active on campus, maintain a job as a resident assistant and am a member of organizations such as NAACP and Public Relations Organization. As an RA in a freshman dorm, I see first-hand the difficulties that incoming freshmen have to deal with. This is why I wanted to be a Scholarships.com virtual intern: I have gone through the same things and have learned from them. From my experience and knowledge, I feel like I can help many college students facing similar obstacles.


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Meet Scholarships.com's Virtual Interns: Mike Sheffey

by Mike Sheffey

Hey readers! My name is Mike Sheffey and for this first post I figured I’d let you guys get to know me! I’m a junior at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina but grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. Music and technology interest me more than anything else so it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m a computer science major...but I’m also a Spanish major and recently spent a semester abroad in Chile – an experience I’ll never forget. I love writing music, skating, photography and all things computer.

At Wofford, I’m involved mainly in Spanish-related events and volunteering in the community at Arcadia Elementary’s afterschool program. I’ve considered teaching but right, now my focus is music and tech. And speaking of tech, I work at Terrier Vision at WoCo (a name for Wofford I’ll be throwing around a lot) filming sports events and streaming them online. I’m also involved in the alternative/punk/DIY music scene of Greensboro and I also work for the music news blog PropertyOfZack.com. Music makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself and I love being able to be a voice in the punk community...and now the college community!

I chose to virtually intern for Scholarships.com because I know college can be a great experience but people occasionally need a reference point. It can be challenging yet super fun and the best years of your life. I plan to blog about common issues that come up throughout your college career: roommate problems, extracurricular activities, drama, sports, working/study habits, major choices and other key concerns – believe me, we’ve all been there! I’ll also be talking about some Wofford-specific events to give you all a glimpse onto this campus and into college life. In short, I promise to keep this blog fun yet informative and I cannot wait to get started!


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Meet Scholarships.com's Virtual Interns: Katlyn Clark

by Katlyn Clark

Ever since I entered high school, I knew that college was in my future. I also had my career path planned as early as ninth grade: I always liked to write and given my interest in celebrity news and trends, a career as an entertainment journalist seemed like the perfect fit!

While I had my career decided, I was far less certain of the school that would get me there. I could not see myself going to any public schools in North Carolina and I was quick to look at the pretty private schools. Campbell University was in my top five but not high on the list until I went on a campus visit...but I left Campbell crying because I did not think my decision would be this hard! I ended up choosing Campbell because I loved the small campus feel, their campus ministries and the school paper. What I looked for in a school is all a reality now and I love it – I could not imagine myself anywhere else! I am now in my second semester and am taking advantage of all the campus has to offer, especially the ministries and the Campbell Times, where I work as a reporter.

I learned of the opportunity to become a virtual intern for Scholarships.com through an email over Christmas break. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to apply and to see where it would take me. I like to write about my college experiences through my own personal blog so when I heard that I was chosen to become a virtual intern, I was excited to know that others would hear my story!


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Meet Scholarships.com's Virtual Interns: Samuel Favela

by Samual Favela

Hey guys! My name is Samuel Favela (you can call me Samwell) and I’m currently a journalism major at Long Beach City College. Nice to meet you all!

What’s my story? I used to attend Cal Poly Pomona but left because, like most college students, I had no idea what direction I was going in. After a year off, I decided to move back home and try out a community college; I had my doubts at first but by mid-term, I LOVED my new school! The environment was fresh, there was so much diversity and the people there were actually willing to carry a conversation with me. I quickly realized I had a better connection there than I did at Cal Poly with both local students and ones from all over the nation.

My interest in journalism transpired from me always writing on my own time, taking pictures of cool random things and my people skills. To be honest, it was a lucky guess: I only took the classes because they were open and I needed four more units to get financial aid but two classes into my first journalism class (public relations), I was hooked. I even received an award for being at the top of my class. Good guess, huh? As of right now, I am interested in transferring to Cal State Long Beach after I take all the classes I need at LBCC, but who knows? I didn't expect to be going to LBCC and given how much I like change, I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up in New York!

What do I hope to get out of this virtual internship? I love the thought of being the voice for a community or generation. I have a voice I know how to use and if I can speak for someone who can't say the words themself, it would be my honor. I hope this is the start of a beautiful virtual relationship! :)


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Finding Your Place as a Transfer Student

by Carly Gerber

Transfer students: Does your new school offer everything you want in your college experience or are you still having trouble adjusting to its unfamiliar environment? As a transfer student myself, I know it can take a while to determine your niche so here are a few easy ways to make your new school feel more like home.

My number one piece of advice for transfer students is to get involved with any club or organization that interests you. Shoot for one to three on-campus groups – this way, you’ll be able to meet people with similar interests and still have time for schoolwork and part-time employment. In addition to student government, the newspaper and intramural sports, some sororities and fraternities offer rush during spring semester so if Greek life interests you, go right ahead!

In that same vein, you want to choose activities that you’ll be proud to look back on and talk about during job interviews. (Yes, it’s time to think about where your future is headed – a little scary but we all feel the same way!) Consider visiting your school’s career center and exploring internship opportunities in your chosen field. An added bonus? Some can even be used toward college credit.

Lastly, become friendly with faculty you’ll see often. If you haven’t yet, introduce yourself to your professors before or after class – once they hear you are a transfer student, most will be interested in hearing why you switched schools and will be happy to help you adjust to new academic rigors. Professors and academic advisers are potential recommendation writers so be sure to make a good first impression!

I truly hope your new college or university is exactly what you have been looking for. It takes time to find your way but you’ll get there...trust me.

Carly Gerber is majoring in journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She loves fashion and hopes to cover the topic for a Chicago-area magazine. In her free time, she focuses on her blog, loves making jewelry and spending time on Pinterest and Pose. She hopes to use this blog to guide and relate to its followers: college students like herself!


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Spring Break Planning Tips & Advisement

by Chelsea Slaughter

We’re midway through February, which means it’s the perfect time to get your spring break plans in order! How will you spend your time off? Here are a few suggestions:

If you plan to travel, check out sites like StudentCity.com for information on Panama City, South Padre Island and other popular destinations. Take time to research different cities and their respective attractions but keep in mind that the sooner you finalize your plans, the cheaper your trip will be. You should also decide who you travel with (a responsible group of friends you can trust is key) and how you will get around (if you are not driving to your destination, realize you’ll have to walk, cab or take public transit once you’re there).

A vacation is not the only way to spend your spring break, as many universities have alternate spring programs that include volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and other organizations. If your school does not offer a program like this, check out UnitedWay.org to find an alternate spring break trip that suits you. You’ll be able to experience a new place while volunteering and helping the community: This year, they have one in Newark, NJ to help families rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.

Another idea could be a short-term internship. I spent my first spring break job shadowing a digital marketer in the entertainment industry and it was a great way to build my resume and get hands-on experience for a future career. Work hard and you could score an internship or job for the summer!

Spring break can be whatever you want it to be but the key element is planning. Don’t wait until the last moment; if you have nothing planned yet, then it’s time to get started!

Chelsea Slaughter is currently a junior at Jacksonville State University majoring in communications (public relations concentration) and minoring in art. She serves as a resident assistant on campus, is the treasurer in the Public Relations Organization and is an active member in W.I.S.E., NAACP and Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Leadership Society. She aims to work in the entertainment industry post-graduation and is well on her way thanks to an internship with a digital marketer to several music artists. Chelsea strives to achieve all of her goals and motivate others along the way.


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Public or Private - Which Type of College is Right for You?

by Katlyn Clark

As admissions decisions begin to roll in, high school seniors are weighing their college options. In addition to financial aid packages, programs offered and distance from home, school type – public or private – is an important factor to consider.

If you’re thinking about attending a public university, consider these facts:

I was automatically drawn to private schools (Campbell specifically) because I was not interested in any of the public schools in North Carolina. If you want to go to a private school, here are some points to ponder:

Before you submit an enrollment deposit, I hope that you take a moment to consider these factors and do some deeper research. If you have any questions for me about what it's like attending Campbell or a private school in general, please shoot me a comment!

Katlyn Clark is a freshman at Campbell University majoring in journalism and minoring in marketing. She hopes to become a broadcast journalist for entertainment or write for a magazine such as People or Seventeen. In her spare time, Katlyn loves to hang out with friends and family and watch sports; she is a Christian who is so thankful for God’s many blessings in her life. Katlyn is from Elizabeth City, North Carolina and loves Tim Tebow, Pinterest, the WWE and cats.


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