Colleges That Dish Up Organic Food January 22nd, 2015
Organic Dining Centers

Organic Food at Colleges

Nearly 53 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 seek out organic foods, according to a 2014 Gallup Poll. If you’re one of these people (or you want to be), you may know that the multi-billion dollar organic food market continues to grow each year. And college dining halls and cafeterias are taking notice.

Many colleges offer organic food options. Here’s a sampling of just a few of the campuses that provide organic and sustainable foods.

College of the Atlantic (ME): According to this college’s Dining Services Web page, its “kitchen emphasizes the use of local, organic ingredients.” The college uses meat that is humanely raised and seafood from sustainable sources. The college dining services uses some organic produce from the Beech Hill Farm’s Farm Stand. The farm is run by a collaboration of students, faculty and farm managers.

Duke University (NC): The Blue Devils’ dining services says it “has a strong reputation for high quality dining services, which includes a commitment to sustainability.” Many of the dining locales on campus include organic ingredients.

Evergreen State University (WA): About 30 percent of the dining center food at this college is from local sources or is organic. Poultry and beef come from local vendors that raise the animals without antibiotics or added hormones. The college’s juice vendor—Columbia Gorge Organic Juice—offers several varieties of juice made with organic fruit. There’s also a certified organic farm on campus.

Middlebury College (VT): Students at Middlebury run the Middlebury College Organic Farm. Some of the produce grown on this farm are used in the college’s dining centers. The college’s dining services uses a much local produce as it can, such as locally grown fruits and vegetables, maple syrup and dairy products.

St. Olaf College (MN): This college has its own student-run organic farm, too, called STOGROW. The campus dining services buys vegetables and herbs from this farm, and uses meat and poultry raised antibiotic-free and without growth hormones.

University of California, Berkeley: This college is home to America’s first certified organic college dining hall. All salad bars in dining centers on campus are 100% organic. In addition, dining centers in the residence halls offer organic trans-fat free peanut butter and organic, cage-free eggs.

Yale University (CT): This Ivy League school has a Sustainable Food Program, which incorporates an organic food component. Students grow organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and more on the one-acre The Yale Farm located on Yale’s central campus. Yale’s dining services use hormone and antibiotic-free beef, cage-free chicken and organic fair trade coffee, among other sustainable and organic food.

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8 Tips for Proofreading Your College Essay January 20th, 2015
Proofreading

Tips for Proofreading

According to college admissions professionals, proofreading is the most important thing you can do to improve your college essay. Don’t overlook this key step in preparing your essay. Use these eight tips to proofread your college application essay.

1. Do spell check. Okay, so the spelling and grammar check tool on your computer won’t catch everything (and sometimes can even steer you wrong), but it’s a good place to start for proofreading. It should catch the most obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

2. Set it aside for a day. After you finish writing your essay, set it aside for an entire day before starting to proofread it. The time away from it will clear your head and allow you to better catch errors when you come back to it. (Oh, and if you started your essay at the last minute, you can still use this tip—just set it aside for an hour or two, and then come back to it.)

3. Read it aloud. Yes, this works. Even professional writers do this. You can read your own essay aloud to catch errors or find places where your sentences are running on (and on, and on). Or, ask a parent, friend or teacher to read it aloud to you.

4. Go backwards. You may have learned this proofreading strategy in English class: Start proofreading your essay at the end. Working your way from the end of the essay to the beginning forces you to pay more attention to the words on the page, so you won’t gloss over errors as easily as if you read it from start to finish.

5. Print it out. It may be easier to catch errors in your essay if you print it out, rather than read it on a computer screen only. Print it out, mark edits on the paper and input the changes in your electronic document.

6. Proofread in a quiet place. The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recommends finding a quiet place to work when proofreading your writing. That means turning off the TV, silencing your smartphone (or even putting it in another room or turning it off) and finding a spot away from other distractions.

7. Cover up lines you’re not reading. The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recommends using a blank sheet of paper to cover up the lines below the one you’re reading. “This technique keeps you from skipping ahead of possible mistakes,” says the center’s website.

8. Double check college names. If you use a college name in your essay, make sure it’s the right college name. “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.

Image credit: Courtesy of styler via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Guest Post: 3 Tips for Finding a High School Studying Abroad Program January 15th, 2015
Study Abroad

Tips for Finding a High School Studying Abroad Program

Did you know that you don’t have to wait until college to study abroad? High school study abroad is one of the most enriching and fun experiences you can have. There’s nothing like learning about another culture and language in an exciting foreign country.

Studying abroad during high school can be a great way to gain college-worthy skills and get a jump-start on your college education.There are many academic travel programs to choose from, so here are three questions to consider so you can select the right one and maximize the college prep potential of your study abroad experience.

1. Can you earn college credit? Some high school study abroad programs offer the chance to take language classes for college credit hours (um, having a great time abroad and getting to bypass a class in college—yes, please!). Earning college credit during a study abroad experience shows colleges admissions counselors that you have a certain level of academic maturity and it looks great on a resume.

To ensure that your future university will grant credit, it’s best to check with that specific university before going abroad because every school is different! It’s also a good idea to chat with your study abroad advisor about how often credit is granted. Ask if more than 90 percent of students receive college credit for the program.

2. Does the program have a global leadership or student ambassador component? In today’s world, global leadership skills (such as the ability to communicate across cultures, understand cultural nuances, and problem-solve on a global scale) are a must.

Many high school study abroad programs include some kind of global ambassador or mentor role that students are encouraged to apply for after they’ve completed their program. This is a wonderful way to gain great cross-cultural leadership skills—skills that will not only help you stand out during the college admissions process, but also will aid you during your time in college.

3. Is the program immersion-based or more of a travel program? Both types of programs certainly have their appeal, but in terms of impressing college admissions counselors, an immersion-based study abroad program (in which you are completely immersed in the culture and way of life of another country) is much more likely to help you learn a second language.

Why is this important? Because in our ever-globalizing society demonstrated proficiency in a second language is rapidly becoming the norm among college students. Getting a jump-start on the language learning process (in high school!) will help you become more fluent in a faster amount of time, and there’s no better way to do this than by engaging in true language and cultural immersion.

About the Author: Justine Harrington is the admissions director for SPI Study Abroad, a leading provider of language immersion and global leadership programs for high school students. She is also the main contributor to the SPI Blog.

Image credit: Photo by Ashley Tontodonato. Courtesy of Merrimack College via Flickr Creative Commons.

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2015-16 FAFSA Now Available Online January 8th, 2015
Financial Aid

FAFSA Now Available

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available online for 2015-16. High school seniors and their parents should fill out and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible to be considered for financial aid and college scholarships.

Why is it important to file early? Many colleges award financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis. Keep these additional tips in mind as you fill out your FAFSA.

1. Check for errors before submitting. Before you file your FAFSA, check to make sure all the information is correct. Make sure names are spelled correctly and social security numbers are accurate. Confirm that all required fields are filled in appropriately. Errors may delay processing of aid or result in incorrect amounts of aid.

2. Enter college codes before you file. You can send your FAFSA data to up to 10 colleges at a time. Before you submit the form, add the FAFSA school codes for the colleges you’re considering or have already applied to.

3. Get help if you have questions. Contact the financial aid office at the colleges you’re considering if you have questions about filling out the FAFSA. They should be able to answer your questions, or point you to the right resource. Also check out the FAFSA website’s Help section to find answers to frequently asked questions.

4. Submit it by your college’s deadline. Most colleges have FAFSA filing deadlines or priority filing dates. Getting your FAFSA form in as early as possible will help ensure you’ll get the most financial aid possible.

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College Major of the Month: Economics January 6th, 2015
Economics Major

College Major of the Month: Economics

If you’ve been considering a college major in business, consider the field of economics. This field is great for students who enjoy math and analyzing data, as well as problem-solving. Read on to learn more about this month’s College Major of the Month.

What is economics? Essentially, economists study how people, businesses, and other organizations choose to use resources. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that economists research and analyze economic issues, conduct surveys and collect data, analyze data using mathematical and statistical models, interpret data and forecast market trends, and prepare reports.

What jobs exist for economics majors? According to the American Economic Association (AEA), economists work in law, medicine, government, higher education and international relations, as well as for nonprofit organizations. They have job titles such as market analyst, financial analyst or economist.

What are education requirements for economics majors? Students who want to study economics should have or be in the process of developing two important skills—the ability to logically analyze data to solve problems and the ability to write and speak ideas in a compelling manner, according to the AEA.

Economics majors may take courses in mathematics and statistics, as well as in business, microeconomics, macroeconomics, financial economics, international economics and public policy, among other courses.

A master’s degree is required for most economist positions, but a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level jobs.

How much money do economists make? The average starting salary for a bachelor’s degree economics graduate is $55,100, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers April 2013 Salary Survey. The median salary for economists with a master’s degree is $91,860, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How can I prepare in high school to major in economics? Math is very important in economics, so it is important to take as many math classes as possible in high school, including AP or honors math courses if your school offers them.

To explore what economists do, try doing a job shadow of an economist or analyst in your community. Aask your teacher, parents and parents’ friends to help you connect with a professional in the field.

What scholarships are available for economics majors? Many colleges offer scholarships specifically for students studying economics, so check with the colleges you are considering to learn about scholarships available through the school. Additionally, check with state and local economics professional associations, as well as financial corporations and government agencies that offer scholarships for business students.

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How to Organize Your College Search in 2015 January 1st, 2015
Recruitment materials

How to Organize Your College Search

Happy New Year! When it comes to getting into college, there’s lots to do: research colleges, visit campuses, take the SAT or ACT, write your application essay, request transcripts, apply for financial aid, and so much more. Being organized about your college search can help you stay on top of deadlines and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Use these four tips to organize your college search in 2015.

1. Organize your snail mail and e-mail. Set up a system for reciving and reviewing snail mail brochures, postcards and letters. Use baskets: label one “inbox” and place new mail in it as you receive it; label the other “for further review” where you place brochures you want to look at closer after you open it.

To organize e-mail, make sure you’ve entered the college’s admissions e-mail address into your e-mail address book for your top college choices. This will make sure the e-mails will come to your inbox, not your Spam folder.

In addition, create folders in your e-mail to store e-mails you want to keep. For example, you may want to have a folder for Top College Choices or Colleges to Consider. Or, you could create a folder for each college you’re considering. After you open an e-mail, move it to the appropriate folder. It could make important e-mails easier to find later.

2. Create old-fashioned hard copy and computer file folders. Colleges send information in both print and e-mail formats. Create a hard copy file folder for each college you’re considering so you can file brochures and postcards by college.

On your computer, create a College Search folder in your Documents folder, and then create a folder for each college. Put any electronic information you receive from colleges here—such as PDFs of the school’s e-brochure or a PDF about scholarships you downloaded from the college’s website.

3. Use a calendar. Keep track of deadlines on your smartphone. Use an app like Google Calendar or another free calendar and reminder app to track deadlines and write task lists of things you need to do. For example, if you’re a high school senior, you’ll likely want to file your FAFSA no later than March 1. If you’re a high school sophomore or junior, you might want to input registration deadlines and test dates for the ACT or SAT.

4. Create a spreadsheet. A spreadsheets can be very helpful in the college search. It can help you compare college options—just input colleges you’re considering as column names and factors important to you (like size, location, tuition price, majors, etc.) as rows. It also can help you track important deadlines for applying to colleges, applying for financial aid and submitting college scholarship applications.

Additionally, you can keep a spreadsheet for all usernames and passwords you need to remember for college search websites, as well as for college application online portals for each college and federal student aid online applications.

Image credit: Photo by Dana McCullough, Dana’s Creative Services

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 January 2015 December 25th, 2014
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

Happy Holidays! With the end of 2014 here, and the beginning of 2015 just around the corner, it’s the busy season for scholarship applications. Many college scholarships have deadlines coming up in the next few months, so make the most of your school’s holiday break by writing essays and submitting scholarship applications.

Here are six scholarships with deadlines in January 2015.

IDDBA Undergraduate Scholarships: The International Dairy, Deli, Bakery Association (IDDBA) awards up to $1,000 per semester to graduating high school seniors and current college students. You must plan to study a food-related field such as culinary arts, baking/pastry arts, food science, or business/marketing. Priority is given to supermarket dairy, deli and bakery employees. Deadline: January 1

Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund: High school seniors of Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity enrolling in college in Fall 2015 can apply for this scholarship. Awards range between $2,500 and $15,000. Deadline: January 9

Dell Scholars Program: To apply for this $20,000 scholarship, you must be a high school senior who has participated in a Dell-approved college readiness program and who has demonstrated financial need. You also must demonstrate your drive to succeed and meet your future goals. Deadline: January 15

C-SPAN’S StudentCam 2015: Students in grades 6 through 12 can create a short (5-7 minute) video documentary on this year’s theme: how a policy, law or action by one of the three U.S. branches of government has affected you or your community. The grand prize is a $5,000 cash prize. Additional prizes for honorable mentions to second place will win cash prizes between $250 and $3,000. Deadline: January 20

Elks National Foundation Legacy Awards: High school seniors who are children or grandchildren of living Elks Lodge members can apply for this $4,000 ($1,000 per year for four years) scholarship. Deadline: January 30

I Have a Dream Scholarship: Students age 13 and up can apply for this $1,500 scholarship. Simply write a 250-word (or less) essay on what you dream about. Deadline: January 31

Learn more about financial aid and how to pay for college.

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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Year in Review: Best College Admission Advice of 2014 December 23rd, 2014
Year in Review

My College Guide: Year in Review

With 2014 coming to a close, we’re taking a look back to bring you some of My College Guide’s best advice from 2014. From college scholarships and financial aid tips to demonstrating interest and earning college credit while you’re still in high school, check out these top six bits of college advice.

1. Earn college credit now to save money and time in college. Even in high school you can start earning college credit. This can save you time and tuition expenses. Learn more about ways you can earn college credit in high school.

2. Changes are coming to the ACT and SAT. Both the ACT and SAT announced changes to their tests. If you’re graduating in 2014 or 2015, SAT changes won’t affect you, but if you’re graduating in 2016 or later, you’ll be taking the new test. Learn more about changes to the ACT and SAT.

3. You need to demonstrate your interest in a college. It’s becoming increasingly important for students to show your interest in a school during the admission process. Five ways to demonstrate your interest include: requesting information, visiting the campus, asking questions, connecting via social media and visiting campus a second time after you apply.

4. Submit FAFSA early in your senior year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important form for you to file in order to receive financial aid. It’s available January 1 each year, and you need to file it each year beginning when you’re a high school senior.

Nick Mulvey, dean of admissions at Carthage College (WI), advises: “Many states and schools have made their [FAFSA] deadlines earlier as funding for financial aid programs has decreased. This makes it important to file the FAFSA early.”

5. Local scholarships can help you afford college. When you’re looking for college scholarships, don’t forget to check out local scholarships in your community, in addition to scholarships listed on big scholarship search websites. Get tips on ways to find local scholarships.

6. Be prepared to pay fees after you’re accepted to college. Once you’re accepted to a college during your senior year of high school, you’ll likely need to pay several fees such as a deposit/enrollment fee to hold your spot, a housing deposit to get first dibs on a residence hall room and a new student orientation fee. The fees may add up, so start saving now.

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How to Search for Scholarships on University Websites December 18th, 2014
External Scholarships

Searching for Scholarships on University Websites

Which websites do you use to search for college scholarships? Many students use sites like Fastweb.com, www.studentscholarships.org, www.scholarshipexperts.com and other sites with large scholarship databases.

Another place to look for college scholarships is on college and university websites. Why? Many colleges and universities include listings of external scholarships (aka scholarships organizations outside the college provide to students). For example, Elmhurst College (IL) and Texas A&M University have a section on their Scholarships Web pages with upcoming deadlines for external scholarships.

Some colleges have more comprehensive lists of scholarships available and even if you’re not interested in the university, you can learn about scholarships you can apply for and use at a university you do plan to attend.

So how do you find these scholarships on university Web pages? Use these three steps.

1. Google the term: external scholarships. Start your search using these two broad search terms. A quick search for external scholarships brings up listings at the University of California-Irvine and the University of North Texas on the first page of results. Keep clicking to additional pages to see more schools and scholarships.

2. Narrow your search to education websites only. To narrow your search results to college and university websites only, add the search term site:.edu to your Google search, so that you now are searching for site:.edu external scholarships. The first website listed in results for this search is the University of Alabama’s external scholarships Web page.

3. Add your college choices to the search. If you want to search for external scholarship listing provided by specific universities, simply add the university name to the search terms you use. For example, a search for St. John’s University external scholarships finds a list of upcoming external scholarship deadlines on the St. John’s University (NY) website.

Of course, not all colleges and university websites have external scholarships (aka private scholarships) listings, but most will at least provide information on where you can go to find those types of scholarships.

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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Behind the Scenes of College Admissions Decisions (Videos) December 11th, 2014
Behind the Scenes of College Admissions

Behind the Scenes of the College Admissions Process

Ever wonder what happens to college admission applications once you submit them? How do college admissions officers really make decisions? We’ve found several YouTube videos that give you a look behind closed doors of college admission offices so you can learn the secrets of college admissions.

College Admissions: Inside the Decision Room: Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Amherst College (MA) admissions officials make their decisions on which students to accept.

The Envelope: This video is a bit long (21 minutes), but it follows Butler University (IN) admissions officials and a group of high school students through the college application and admissions decision-making process.

College Admissions: USC: An admissions official at the University of Southern California gives advice on how to make your college application stand out, including tips on writing your personal statement and how much extracurricular activities and test scores impact admission decisions.

Zinch Prep: College Admissions Behind the Scenes: Learn about how admissions officers make decisions and what things might be out of a student’s control. This video provides advice from three current and former admissions professionals.

Inside Admissions: Two Tufts University (MA) students take you behind-the-scenes at the school’s admissions office. There are some great essay tips in this video.

Life of a Smith College Admission Application: This video shows where your application goes at Smith College (MA), and how it makes to it the committee that makes admission decisions.

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