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Baker Wins Scholarships.com Culinary Arts Scholarship, Vows to Battle Obesity

September 9, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Briana G. wants to create a "healthy Twinkie." While completing an Associate's degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, she became concerned about America's obesity epidemic and realized she wanted to learn to craft more forgiving sweets. To help her complete her degree in Food Science and Dietetics at Colorado State University, Scholarships.com has named Briana the 2009 recipient of the annual $1,000 College Culinary Arts Scholarship.

Scholarships.com has been awarding Area of Study College Scholarships since summer 2008 to help students like Briana meet their college and career goals. The competition grants a $1,000 scholarship each month to a high school senior or undergraduate student planning to pursue a career in one of thirteen areas of study, including Culinary Arts.

"These students have such creative ideas and reasons for choosing a particular major and, through this program, we are able to help them share these ideas and aspirations," said Kevin Ladd, Vice President for Scholarships.com. "The Area of Study College Scholarships help students pay for college and also challenge them to really think about why they want to study a given subject or go into a particular field."

Applicants are asked to compose essays describing what influenced their career choices. In her submission, Briana described reconciling her desire to make "delicious, eye-catching desserts" with her growing awareness of how poor diets contribute to obesity. Her goal now it to make healthy version of the "sweet treats that Americans love."

The Scholarships.com Area of Study Scholarships are open to all U.S. citizens who will be attending college in the fall of 2009, regardless of age, test scores or grade point average. To apply for the Scholarships.com Area of Study College Scholarships, students can visit www.scholarships.com, conduct a free college scholarship search and complete an online scholarship application.

A complete list of Area of Study scholarship winners, as well as their winning essays is available on our Student Winners page.

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Introductions: Giving Your Scholarship Essay a Solid Start

September 11, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Unless you're lucky enough to happen across an extremely obscure and unusual scholarship with only one or two qualified applicants, you are going to have to face some competition to receive a scholarship award. In the case of essay scholarships that are easy to enter or that come with a substantial award, you may be facing quite a lot of competition. In fact, with many scholarship competitions, you may be up against so much competition that there's no guarantee a reviewer will even have time to completely read and digest each scholarship essay submitted. This makes your essay's introduction vitally important.

The first sentence of your scholarship application is your first, best and possibly only chance to capture your reader's attention. To have the best chance at winning scholarships, you need to know how to start your essay off right. The following are some tips to help you craft an eye-catching introduction that gets your foot in the door and gets your application the attention it deserves.

Put it in your own words. While starting with a quote is a common technique in speaking and some writing, it may not work best in a scholarship application essay. Leading with a quote shows the reviewer that you know how to read, but it doesn't tell much else about you or your ideas. Use your own words to begin, and if a quote supports or enhances your argument, consider bringing it in later in the essay.

Avoid clichés and tired phrases. One of your essay's goals should be to distinguish you from the competition, and it won't do this if it rehashes the same overused expressions that everyone else employs. Keep in mind that the scholarship reviewer will be reading hundreds or even thousands of applications. What seems clever or cute the first time doesn't seem that way after the 50th or 100th iteration. A good rule to follow is that if a phrase belongs on a bumper sticker or in an e-mail from your mom, it likely does not belong in your scholarship essay.

Establish a personal connection. If your experience gives you a unique perspective on the essay's topic, show your reader this. Most people are suckers for personal anecdotes, provided the stories are interesting and well-told. Make sure the story you tell fits these criteria and actually enriches your essay and contributes to your overall message. Don't get melodramatic and don't bog down your introduction in an overly long, detailed or irrelevant narrative, but if you've got a good story to tell to frame your essay, use it.

Say something new. Are you arguing something that falls well outside the typical series of canned responses? Consider leading with your thesis, or at least some of the information or realizations that guided your essay towards its thesis. There's no better way to stand out from a pile of fairly standard responses than to have something fresh and thought-provoking to contribute with your scholarship application.

With a solid introduction and a thoughtful and well-written response, you'll be well on your way to writing a scholarship-worthy essay.

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Foreclosure.com Scholarship Program

September 14, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Often, scholarship opportunities also serve as opportunities for students to think about and respond to pressing issues of the day, and one of the problems weighing most heavily on society in the last year has been the global economic crisis.  While the recession has begun showing signs of abating, it is still creating serious problems in several areas of life, ranging from paying for school to owning a home.

Homeowners have been facing threats of foreclosure due to a combination of factors related to the recession, and this problem could still get worse before it gets better. The real estate website Foreclosure.com is sponsoring a scholarship essay contest that invites college students to propose solutions to the ongoing spike in foreclosures. With a $5,000 top prize for the scholarship essay that best explains "how to solve the foreclosure crisis," the Foreclosure.com Scholarship Program is this week's Scholarship of the Week.

Prize: Top prize is $5,000 and four runners-up will receive $1,000

Eligibility: Students who are currently enrolled in or have been accepted to an accredited college, university, law school or trade school in the United States.  U.S. citizenship is required.

Deadline: December 31, 2009

Required Material: A completed online scholarship application, along with an essay of 1,000 to 2,500 words addressing the essay topic. Scholarship applications will be judged on writing ability, creativity, originality, and overall excellence.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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$1 Million in Scholarships Awarded to Top Urban School District

September 18, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

High school seniors in a school district in Texas will receive $1 million in scholarships after their district was named the winner of this year's Broad Prize for Urban Education. The award is offered annually by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and is designed to reward notable gains in student achievement and in narrowing the achievement gap for poor and minority students. Aldine Independent School District, which serves the Houston area, won the top prize this year, after having previously been a runner up for the prize three times.

The Broad Foundation names five finalists each year and from them, chooses a winner for the $1 million Broad Prize. This year, the other finalists were Broward County, Florida (a two-time finalist); Long Beach, California (a former winner and three-time finalist); Socorro Independent School District in El Paso, Texas; and Gwinnet County Public Schools in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Aldine won the prize based on a number of factors. The Broad Foundation cited the district's gains in breaking "the predictive power of poverty," as the district's predominately low-income students outperformed peers of similar backgrounds on state standardized tests. The achievement gap for both low-income and minority students has been closing at Aldine, with a 14-point reduction in the achievement gap for African-American middle schoolers in math over the last four years. Other successes included Aldine's recruitment of highly qualified teachers, engagement with students, and districtwide standardization of education practices and curriculum (many poor families move around within the district, so making what is taught in each grade more uniform across the district helps them keep from falling behind).

The scholarship awards will help further the success of graduates from Aldine, with $20,000 over four years going to students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities and up to $5,000 over two years going to students who enroll in community colleges. Students at other finalist schools will also receive scholarship money: each of the prize's four finalist districts will receive $250,000 to award to their high school students.

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Scholarships.com Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

September 21, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. This annual event was started in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, and was initially known as Hispanic Heritage Week.  It was expanded to a month-long celebration of Hispanic and Latino history in 1988 by President Reagan. Schools, municipalities, and organizations nationwide take this opportunity to honor the culture and heritage of Hispanics in America and to celebrate the achievements of notable Hispanic Americans.

Hispanics were some of the first residents of what is now the United States of America, with Spanish-speaking settlers arriving in Florida and the Southwest in the 1500s. Currently, Hispanic Americans make up over 15 percent of the population of the United States, making them the second largest ethnic group in the nation. Hispanic Americans have played notable roles in events throughout the history of the country and many prominent figures in business, entertainment and government proudly claim Hispanic heritage.

As a result, there is a lot to celebrate in Hispanic Heritage Month. In addition to the achievements of Hispanic Americans, Hispanic Heritage Month also celebrates the independence of several Latin American countries, as the dates coincide with the anniversaries of independence of Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile and Belize.

There are even scholarship awards offered in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, including this week's Scholarship of the Week, the PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship. This $10,000 award was created in recognition of the achievements of Hispanic families who put their children through college and is meant to help realize the dreams of students who are the first in their families to attend college. In addition to awards that specifically celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a number of other Hispanic scholarships are also available to help advance the education and achievements of Hispanic Americans.

To find out more about scholarship opportunities for Hispanic students or more general scholarships for minorities, conduct a free scholarship search on Scholarships.com.

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Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

September 28, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Many college scholarships focus on high school seniors, but there are scholarship opportunities for younger students as well. This week's Scholarship of the Week is one such opportunity, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. These scholarships are awarded to students in grades 5-12 who have served their communities in a significant way in the last 12 months.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created in 1995 through a partnership between Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. These community service scholarships give young people who show an early commitment to helping others a chance at national recognition, as well as up to $6,000 to pay for school and an additional $5,000 to benefit the charity organization of their choice.

Prize: Five high school and five middle school National Honorees will receive $5,000 scholarship awards and an additional $5,000 donation to a charity of their choice; 102 State Honorees will receive $1,000 awards and will go on to compete in the national contest and participate in an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Eligibility: Students in grades 5-12 who are legal residents of any U.S. State or the District of Columbia who have engaged in a volunteer activity in the last 12 months. Applications must be certified by a school principal or the local head of one of several officially designated certifying organizations listed on the contest website.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted for certification by November 2, 2009 and must be sent by the school or organization by November 9, 2009.

Required Material: A completed scholarship application which describes your role in the community service activity you completed, as well as its impact on you and the community. Applications and a list of the questions applicants are required to answer are available on the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards website.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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Audit Reveals Problems with Colorado Scholarship Program

September 30, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Colorado's CollegeInvest agency, an organization in charge of state loan forgiveness and scholarship programs, is facing criticism and increased scrutiny from the state's legislature after an audit revealed conflicts of interest and a surprisingly low number of scholarship awards being made by the board. The state legislature will now require the agency to report to them monthly to ensure proper oversight of the state's scholarship and student loan funds.

The audit found that the CollegeInvest Early Achievers Scholarship, a fund that awards high-achieving high school students with college financial aid, had only given out a tiny fraction of the awards it was expected to since it was established in 2005. Students opt into the scholarship program as 7th, 8th or 9th graders and pledge to take pre-college coursework in high school and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better. The Colorado legislature estimated that the scholarship fund would award about $3.8 million in scholarships per year, but awarded only $91,000 this year. A volunteerism scholarship program and a student loan forgiveness programs managed by CollegeInvest also fell significantly short of goals and projections.

Meanwhile, the fund incurred over $12 million in administrative expenses beyond salaries and benefits for its employees. Reports on the audit note that the program has spent $10 on administrative costs for every $1 in scholarships awarded. The audit also found conflicts of interest with the board awarding funding to other organizations they were connected to and giving out large payments to financial advisors.

CollegeInvest officials say that the program is off to a slow start and that potential conflicts of interest were disclosed and didn't affect board decisions. For now, the state legislature has just asked for increased oversight of the program. But for Colorado students who were expecting to benefit from academic scholarships, community service scholarships, or loan forgiveness programs for which money is in place but funds aren't being awarded in large amounts, any change in these programs cannot come soon enough.

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World Sport Chicago Scholarship

October 5, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Chicago didn't win the Olympics, but something good has come out of the effort. This week's Scholarship of the Week comes from World Sport Chicago, which was created as the lasting legacy of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Bid to support the city's student athletes as they prepare to go to college. As part of the scholarship program, 56 students will be chosen to become World Sport Chicago Scholars and participate in Kaplan ACT Tutoring and a Chicago Scholars mentoring initiative. Of those 56, 16 student athletes will be chosen to receive renewable college scholarships worth up $10,000 annually.

World Sport Chicago was launched in September to help high school student athletes not only pay for college but be more prepared for the transition. The chosen scholars will get ACT prep help for the spring 2010 testing dates. The award is a good example of athletic scholarships that look at more than your abilities in your chosen sport.

Prize: 16 renewable college scholarships worth up to $10,000 annually.

Eligibility: High school juniors who live and study in Chicago and have participated in an Olympic/Paralympic sport for two seasons in the past three years. Athletes of all levels are encouraged to apply; the judges just want to see that you're committed to your sport, on whatever level you may be. Commitment to the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect on the playing field in school and in the community will be considered during the evaluation process. Applicants must have a 2.5 GPA or better and be willing to perform the duties of World Sport Chicago scholars, which includes promoting Olympic values in the community.

Deadline: November 30, 2009

Required Material: An online application from World Sport Chicago, which includes three short essays, two recommendations and an unofficial high school transcript. Scholarships must be applied to accredited four-year institutions. Preference may be given to student athletes with high financial need.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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American Legion National Oratorical Contest

October 12, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Are you an aspiring politician, skilled speech-writer, or an excellent orator? Perhaps you just want to learn more about the United States Constitution and share what you've learned. If you're passionate about government or public speaking, or if you're looking to improve your knowledge of each while potentially winning scholarships, this week's Scholarship of the Week is worth checking out.

The American Legion National Oratorical Contest is an annual scholarship for high school students. It's divided into local, state, and national speech competitions, with scholarship opportunities existing at the state and national levels, and potentially the local level, as well. The top scholarship prize is $18,000 and the contest is open to students in grades 9-12. The goal of the contest is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students.

Prize: State/department winners will receive $1,500 and go on to compete in the national finals; national prizes are as follows:

  • 1st place - $18,000
  • 2nd place - $16,000
  • 3rd place - $14,000

Eligibility: Currently enrolled high school students, grades 9-12, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Contestants must either live or attend school in the state where they enter the competition. Students can only compete in one state.

Deadline: Varies. Local contests occur during fall/winter, with state-level competitions concluding before March 8, 2010. The national finals will take place April 9-11, 2010.

Required Material: To be eligible for department and national finals, students must enter through their local American Legion. Dates, locations, and contact information for local contests can be accessed through the American Legion website. The contest will have two parts: a Prepared Oration and an Assigned Topic Discourse. The Prepared Oration must be on some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government.  The same oration must be used in both the department and national contests. The possible topics for the Assigned Topic discourse are available on the American Legion website.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.

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High School Seniors: Make Note of Approaching Scholarship Deadlines

October 14, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

While most scholarship application deadlines occur between January and March, a number of large scholarship awards for high school seniors have deadlines that fall much earlier in the academic year. To make sure you're not missing out on major sources of college funding, be sure to start your scholarship search when you start your college applications, if not sooner. If you haven't gotten around to applying for scholarships yet, check out these awards with approaching deadlines for motivation. You may want to mark them on your calendar and clear some space in your schedule to apply.

Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program

Deadline: October 30

Dollar amount: $20,000

Who qualifies: High school seniors who plan to enter college next fall and to pursue a bachelor's degree. Students must be U.S. citizens with grade point averages of 2.0 or higher and critical financial need (typically, a family adjusted gross income under $50,000).

Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Deadline: October 31

Dollar amount: $20,000

Who qualifies: Current high school seniors planning to enter college in the fall. Must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0.

VFW Voice of Democracy

Deadline: November 1

Dollar amount: $30,000

Who qualifies: Any high school student in grades 9-12 who composes a taped response of 3-5 minutes to the question, "Does America Still Have Heroes?" Entries should be submitted through your high school or the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Intel Science Talent Search

Deadline: November 18

Dollar amount: $100,000

Who qualifies: High school seniors who have individually completed a research project in science, math, medicine, or engineering. More information on qualifying projects is available on the contest website.

AXA Achievement Scholarship

Deadline: December 15

Dollar amount: $25,000

Who qualifies: High school seniors who plan to enroll as undergraduate students at a two-year or four-year university. Winners will be chosen based on outstanding achievements in school, work, or their community.

These are only a few of the scholarships for high school students in our database, and only a few of the awards with upcoming deadlines. For more information about these and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free college scholarship search. If you qualify based on the information you provided, you will see a link to the award in your search results.

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