College Scholarships Ending in June 2015 May 19th, 2015
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

Many college scholarships with deadlines in June have deadlines coming up very quickly—like June 1. Check out these eight college scholarship opportunities available for future business leaders, writers, student-athletes and students who want to make a difference in the world.

Blaze Wifi Rural Students Scholarship: To apply for this $500 scholarship, you’ll need to write a blog post about whether you prefer living in the city or country more. High school seniors and current college students can apply. Deadline: June 1

CEO of Tomorrow Scholarship: This annual $2,500 scholarship is open to current college students interested in business leadership or entrepreneurship. A 500-word essay is required. Deadline: June 1

Giva Student Scholarship: This semi-annual scholarship awards current undergraduate students a $1,000 scholarship. Applicants must write an essay about their career goals and how they plan to use their talents and education to make the world a better place for future generations. Students of any major can apply. Deadline: June 1

ProofreadingServices.com High School and University Writing Scholarships: Awards ranging from $100 to $500 are available to high school seniors. You’ll need to write an essay about “a defining moment in the your life in the style of your favorite children’s author” to apply. Deadline: June 1

Abbott & Fenner Business Consultants Scholarship: High school juniors and seniors can apply for this $1,000 scholarship. An essay about your educational career and life goals is required. Deadline: June 15

Discount Park and Ride Paving the Future Scholarship Contest: Got an idea for a business? High school seniors and college students can write a proposal describing a business idea for a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship. Deadline: June 15

BigSun Scholarship: Any student-athlete who is a high school senior or currently attending college can apply for this $500 scholarship. An essay about how your participation in sports during high school influenced you, your career goals and how you relate to your family is required. Deadline: June 19

Do-Over Scholarship: Apply for this $1,500 scholarship by writing a short essay about one thing you would do over in your life and why. Deadline: June 30

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Should You Accept an Unpaid Internship? May 5th, 2015
Internships

Questions to Ask Before Accepting an Internship

Internships for high school and college students come in many forms, and not all internships pay students for their work. In fact, unpaid internships have been in the news in recent years due to former unpaid interns suing the companies they interned for. As a result, some companies now offer at least minimum wage to interns, but others still offer unpaid opportunities.

So is it a good idea to accept an unpaid internship? Here’s a look at the questions you should ask the employer and yourself before accepting an unpaid internship experience.

What work will I be doing? Of course, getting a paid internship is the preferred route to go, but in lieu of a paid opportunity, an unpaid internship may still benefit you or help you get your foot in the door.

Ask your future intern supervisor what work you’ll actually be doing. Are you going to be answering phones, making copies and getting coffee? Or are you going to be gaining actual work experience specific to your field of interest? If it’s the former, you may be better off getting a paid part-time job. If you’ll be gaining actual work experience related to your major, it might be worth going for it—especially if you’re still early in your college career.

In addition, the Department of Labor released a fact sheet about what qualifies for a legal, unpaid internship in 2010. Review the requirements to see if the unpaid internship you’re thinking of accepting meets the requirements.

Is academic credit given? Some companies offer unpaid internships in exchange for college credit. Typically, this means you’ll need to have your college approve the internship and then your internship supervisor (and you) will be required to fill out and submit paperwork and performance reviews throughout the internship. Check with your college first to verify whether you can receive credit for an unpaid internship.

What hours will I be required to work? An unpaid internship that requires you to put in 40 hours a week won’t leave you much time to secure a paid part-time job to earn money to pay for college. Meanwhile, a 20-hour-per-week internship could afford you the best of both worlds—a chance to gain important experience and the time available to do part-time, paid work for a different company.

How much will it cost me? If your unpaid internship is in your hometown, you could keep your living expenses down by living at home. If, however, your unpaid internship is in a different city than your college or your family, you may end up shelling out big bucks for rent, transportation to and from the city, parking or public transit, and more. Add up what you’ll be spending and decide if it makes financial sense for your situation.

Image credit: Courtesy of Ken Colwell via Flickr Creative Commons.

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College Scholarships Ending in May 2015 April 30th, 2015
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

This month’s college scholarship deadlines feature scholarships for high school juniors and seniors, ranging from $500 to $10,000. Most opportunities require at a least a short essay, and some scholarships are based on financial need while others are not. Check out these scholarship opportunities to see if one matches your interests.

The Nordstrom Scholarship: Act quickly if you want to apply for this $10,000 scholarship available to high school juniors. Applicants must live in a participating state, have participated in volunteer activities, have a minimum GPA of 2.7, and plan to apply for financial assistance to attend college. Deadline: May 1

ScholarshipRed: Are you a redhead? Then you can apply for this $500 scholarship open to redheads only. High school junior and seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.5 can apply. Applicants must create something (essay, video, artwork, etc.) that represents what it means to you to be a redhead. Deadline: May 4

B. Davis Scholarship: This $1,000 scholarship is open to high school juniors and seniors, and to current colleges students. An essay is required to apply for scholarship. Deadline: May 25

Design Your Future $1,000 College Scholarships: Write an essay between 500 and 1,000 words on “today’s design trends across different markets” to compete for this $1,000 scholarship. This scholarship is open to high school seniors and college students with an interest in studying interior design, art and design, architecture, or a related major. Deadline: May 25

The Kevin Dare “Life … Back on Track” Scholarship: If you’re an athlete who has experiences a life-changing injury or serious illness, you may be eligible to apply for this scholarship. A personal essay, three letters of recommendation, and a verification of your injury/illness is required, among other application materials. Scholarship amount may vary, as the award will supplement other financial assistance received to pay for college. Deadline: May 29

DoSomething.org Comeback Clothes Scholarship: No minimum GPAs or essays are required to compete for this $10,000 scholarship. Simply collect old clothes and recycle them at an H&M store. Deadline: May 31

Fifth Month Scholarship: You can get creative with this short (250 words or less) scholarship essay contest, which asks you to write a letter to the number five explaining five is important. The prize for this scholarship is $1,500. Deadline: May 31

Krylon Clear Choice Art Scholarships: Students in fine arts programs (such as painting, drawing, or sketching) can apply for this scholarship. Five scholarships of $1,000 each are awarded each year to graduating high school seniors and college freshmen and sophomores. A portfolio of artwork, artist’s statement, letter of recommendation and official transcript are required. Deadline: May 31

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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What Does “Liberal Arts” Mean? April 28th, 2015
Liberal Arts College

What are the Liberal Arts?

You’ve probably heard the term “liberal arts” tossed around in the media lately. Politicians have tossed the term around, too. In fact, over the past several years there’s been an ongoing conversation in the United States about the value of a liberal arts education. Is a liberal arts education still valuable in today’s society? Can students who major in the liberal arts really get a job?

In this post, we’ll take a look at what the liberal arts are all about, and what it means for you when choosing a college and a major.

What are the liberal arts? The liberal arts are the foundation of education at most four-year colleges and universities in the United States. The liberal arts expose you to a breadth of subjects (such as English, history, philosophy and social sciences). A liberal arts education doesn’t just focus on preparing you for a single job or career. Instead, it helps you develop important skills that are transferable to any job or career you may have.

What skills do liberal arts colleges teach students? Students at liberal arts colleges and universities develop critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Students also acquire a broad knowledge of the liberal arts and sciences, which can help students understand the context of situations they encounter in life and in the workplace. In addition, liberal arts students often gain intercultural skills and learn about exercising ethical judgment and integrity.

A recent report by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) found that 93 percent of employers say that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, community clearly and solve complex problems is more important that a [candidate’s] undergraduate major.”

Do liberal arts graduates really get jobs and make money? In any major you choose, it’s important to gain experiences throughout college that will make you more desirable by employers, such as participating in internships and taking on leadership positions in campus organizations. Those experiences, along with your college degree, will help you land a job when you graduate.

In addition, the recent AACU report found that people who majored in the humanities or social sciences actually make an average of $2,000 more per year during their peak earning years than their peers who majored in professional or pre-professional fields.

How can a liberal arts education benefit you? Today’s job market is changing rapidly. In fact, many jobs that exist when you start college may not exist by the time you graduate. In addition, jobs that don’t exist today may be created by the time you graduate.

The skills you learn through a liberal arts education are transferable to nearly any industry, and to any job you may have in your lifetime—even jobs that don’t exist yet. In addition, a liberal arts education teaches you how to learn, so you can be a lifelong learner and get up to speed quickly in any job you have.

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60 Colleges and Universities on Instagram April 23rd, 2015
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Gardner-Webb University on Instagram

Want to get a glimpse of what college life is really like? Checking a college or university’s social media platforms is a great way to see what students are doing around campus. Instagram, in particular, lets you view snapshots of student life at college. Check out these Instragram feeds from 60 colleges and universities around the United States.

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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4 Most Common College Application Essay Mistakes April 16th, 2015
college essay

Common College Application Essay Mistakes

Do college admissions committees really read the application essays you write? Of course, they do. We’ve interviewed admissions officials from four colleges and universities, and they’ve provided us with a list of the common mistakes they see in college application essays. Use their insight to avoid making these mistakes on your own essay.

Mistake #1: Mentioning a different university’s name. Yep, you read that right. Students who try to reuse essays for multiple schools are most likely to fall into this trap, and it’s a turn off for admissions officials. “While we understand students will apply to multiple colleges and universities, it is always discouraging to see a student mention another university’s name in their essay,” says Hannah Bingham, first-year admissions coordinator at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Mistake #2: Not proofreading. Mistakes (like the one in #1) can be easily avoided by proofreading your essay. “It’s always important to have someone proofread your essay. Whether it’s a parent, teacher, counselor or friend, a fresh set of eyes can give you a fresh perspective and catch any grammatical errors you may not have seen before,” Bingham says.

Mistake #3: Writing too broadly. Read the essay questions or prompts carefully and make sure your answers reflect what was actually asked in the question. Also, make sure your answer is specific and not generic. “Generally speaking, students write an essay that is too broad in scope and not specific enough to the institution,” says Christopher Gage, dean of admission at Hanover College (IN).

Mistake #4: Not focusing on you. “The most common mistake in college essays is that students don’t include enough personal information about the student … because they don’t think it is ‘important’ enough to share,” says Cyndi Sweet, director of admissions at Maryville College (TN). Be sure to include how the activities you’re involved in, awards you’ve won or specific interests or passions you have make you a good fit to attend the college.

Sarah Neal, senior assistant director of admission at Agnes Scott College (GA), agrees that students need to make sure to bring the essay back around to why the subject matter of the essay is important to the student. “Whether the essay prompt asks the student to describe a favorite work of literature, an important moment in their lives, a place where they feel content or anything else, all essay prompts are designed to get the students thinking about something that is important to them,” as well as why it’s important to them.

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What To Do If You Get That Dreaded Rejection Letter April 14th, 2015
Rejection Letter

How to Deal With a College Rejection Letter

It’s bound to happen at least once, especially if you’re applying to six to 10 colleges: a rejection. But getting a rejection letter, even from your top choice school, doesn’t have to be the end of the world. So if you do get that dreaded rejection letter, don’t let it get the best of you. Instead, try this:

Scream, cry and then regroup. Getting a rejection letter could make you a bit emotional, and that’s okay. Let it out, and then regroup. After all, it’s their loss. And it’s not personal, as the HerCampus.com blog says, “Colleges are trying to create a class made up of students with diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, career and athletic interests and geographic locations.” Because of that, a rejection may have nothing to do with your abilities, and everything to do with the college and its goals.

And remember you’re not alone: even people who have gone on to be highly successful—like broadcast journalists Tom Brokaw and Meredith Vieira, co-founder of Sun Microsystems Scott McNealy, Nobel Prize in medicine winner Harold Varmus—were rejected from their top-choice colleges.

Take a closer look at your “back up” choices. College isn’t all about where you go, but what you make of the experience. Use the rejection letter as a jumping off point to explore other colleges you’re considering more in depth.

Take a campus visit to those schools, if you haven’t already. Contact the admissions office to show your interest and ask questions about academic programs and financial aid. Check out the school’s social media pages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to get a better feel for what the school is really like.

Talk to your guidance counselor. If you’re unsure what to do next after receiving a rejection letter, or if you have questions about what other colleges you should consider or apply to, schedule an appointment to meet with your high school guidance counselor. He or she can help you sort through your college options and figure out your next steps.

Study hard. As always, continue studying hard in school and keep pushing yourself to excel all the way through the end of your senior year. This will help you look good to other schools that are still considering your application. Plus, since many merit scholarships at private colleges are awarded based on your GPA, keeping that GPA up could help you win more scholarship money once you are accepted to a college.

Stay confident. You’ve worked really hard to get where you are today, and a college you apply to will surely take notice of your great talents, academic abilities and more. Be patient and wait for acceptance letters to roll in.

Image credit: Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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New 2015 Junior Edition Now Available April 9th, 2015
Junior Edition

My College Guide 2015 Junior Edition

Have you seen the latest edition of My College Guide? Our 2015 Junior Edition is now available online. This edition provides the latest information on college admissions, visiting college campuses, applying for financial aid and scholarships, writing college application essays and preparing for college life.

College Admissions

Financial Aid, College Scholarships, and Other Money Issues

College Life

Download a copy of the full My College Guide 2015 Junior Edition from the MyCollegeGuide.org homepage.

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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College Major of the Month: Teacher Education April 2nd, 2015
teacher

College Major of the Month: Teacher Education

Do you know what your teachers do? In this month’s featured College Major of the Month, we’ll take a look at majoring in teacher education and discover what a teacher’s job really involves.

A teacher’s job isn’t just time spent in the classroom lecturing or giving exams. Teachers spend time outside of the classroom planning lessons to teach (including the hands-on activities you do in class), answering student and parent questions, attending faculty and training meetings, grading assignments and exams and more.

What jobs exist for teacher education majors? As you know, teachers are employed in public school districts and at private schools worldwide, and they can teach students from kindergarten to 12th grade. Opportunities for teachers are expected to grow throughout the next decade or so, especially as many current teachers approach retirement age. Special education, math and science teachers are in particular high demand.

How much do teachers make? Salaries for teachers depend largely on amount of experience and level of education, as well as what state you live in. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, K-12 teachers make a median annual salary between $53,400 and $55,050. An April 2014 Salary Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers said that new education graduates made an average starting salary of about $40,836.

What are the education requirements for teachers? Requirements for teacher education programs vary by state. Typically, a student will major in education and select a specific age group to concentrate on (such as K-6, K-8 or high school), depending on how state licensure requirements are arranged. In addition to majoring in education, students seeking to teach at the high school level often may be required to double major in a specific area (such as English, Chemistry or Biology) or take additional credits hours in their academic specialty.

While many people think teachers get the summers off, it’s important to know that in order to maintain a teaching license, teachers are generally required to take continuing education courses each year. In some cases, those courses could lead to a master’s degree.

How can I prepare in high school to major in teacher education? Talk to your favorite teachers, and ask them what the job is like. In addition, volunteer at camps or organizations where you can help younger children.

What scholarships are available for teacher education majors? There are many college scholarships and other types of financial aid to help teacher education majors pay for college. For example, there’s a federal TEACH Grant program that provides up to $4,000 per year to a student who is specializing in a high-need field or plans to (after graduation) teach at a school or agency that serves low-income populations.

The website Teach.org has a list of several scholarships available to students studying teacher education, and CollegeScholarships.org also has a list of national and local scholarships for education students. Be sure to check with local and state teaching organizations, school districts and other educational organizations to find additional scholarships.

Image credit: Courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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College Scholarships Ending in April March 31st, 2015
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

April isn’t just the month your parents have to submit their tax returns (which will come in handy when you file the FAFSA). It’s also a month full of college scholarship opportunities. This month’s featured scholarship opportunities give out prizes ranging from about $500 to $10,000. And, not of the scholarships are need-based; some are based on merit (aka your achievements) only.

Check out these seven scholarships:

American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship: High school seniors can apply for this scholarship by reading an essay on automatic fire sprinklers and taking an online multiple-choice test. Ten winners will win $2,000 each. This scholarship is not based on financial need. Deadline: April 1

Old School Impact Scholarship: DoSomething.org is offering a scholarship for students who use their skills to improve the lives of older adults. Top prize is $10,000. Deadline: April 1

College JumpStart Scholarship:  This merit-based scholarship is open to 10th through 12th graders and college students who want to pursue education to better their lives, family or community. Financial need is not considered for this scholarship. First place receives $1,000. Deadline: April 15

Post Office Locator Scholarship: To apply for this scholarship, high school seniors and college students at accredited institutions need to write a 500- to 1,000-word essay “about the most interesting item you have ever received in the mail.” The scholarship winner will receive $500. Deadline: April 15

Sports Unlimited Scholarship: Student-athletes who are high school seniors or current college freshmen or sophomores can apply for this $1,000 scholarship. An essay describing a time you’ve had to overcome adversity to succeed in a sport is required. Deadline: April 20

NinjaEssays Writing Contest: Choose from one of 10 essay topics and write an 800- to 1,000-word essay to enter. Top prize is $500, second place gets $300 and third place gets $150. Deadline: April 27

All About Education Scholarship: Write a brief (250 words or less) essay on how a $3,000 scholarship for education would make a difference in your life. Any student age 13 or older can apply. Deadline: April 30

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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