College Scholarships Ending in December 2014 November 27th, 2014
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

The college scholarships on our list this month provide excellent opportunities for you to be creative. Some scholarship applications require essays, while others let you choose the format (such as artwork or video) that you submit. If you volunteer in your community, be sure to check out this month’s list as well.

Here are seven college scholarships with deadlines in December 2014:

Look Twice, Save a Life Scholarship: This scholarship program awards $1,000 to a student (with a valid driver’s license) currently attending or planning to attend a college or university. Applicants must create something (video, artwork, essay, etc.) that inspires other students to focus on motorcycle safety. Deadline: December 1

Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship: This $5,000 scholarship is open to students ages 5-25 enrolled at an accredited educational institution in the United States. Applicants must have a demonstrated, ongoing commitment to their community within the past year. The service must include performing volunteer services that impacts hunger in the United States. Deadline: December 5

Most Valuable Student Competition: High school seniors can apply to win one of 500 four-year scholarships from the Elks National Foundation. Criteria includes excellent scholarship, leadership and financial need. Recipients can win prizes from $4,000 up to $50,000. Deadline: December 5

AT&T Internet and Education Scholarship: High school seniors and current college students can create an infographic “showing how students utilize social media in and out of the classroom” to be considered for this $1,000 scholarship. Judges will select a winner based on creativity, thoughtfulness and insight.  Deadline: December 15

Odenza Marketing Group Volunteer Award: This scholarship recognizes a student who has contributed at least 50 hours of volunteer services in his/her community within the last year. Students ages 16 to 22 with a minimum GPA of 2.5 can apply. Deadline: December 30

ADT Home Security Scholarship: Current college students can apply for this $500 scholarship. You’ll need to write a 400-600 word essay on how you’ve seen mobile technology used in education and how you would use it to improve education and classes for future students. Deadline: December 31

Top Ten List Scholarship: Students age 13 and up can apply for this $1,500 scholarship by writing a top 10 list detailing why you should receive it. Deadline: December 31

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Job Shadowing 101: Get the Most from Your Experience November 25th, 2014
Job Shadow at Rockwell Collins

Make the Most of Your Job Shadow Experience

High school guidance counselors, parents and college career services offices often advise you to do a job shadow if you have an idea what college major you want to pursue or if you’re trying to decide on a major.

A job shadowing experience can give you a taste of what a job in a particular field would be like each day. You might learn you love it or hate it, but either way you’ll learn more about yourself and what you want to do with your life.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your job shadow experience:

Be on time—or early. This is essential in making a good first impression, and in making sure you get to do and see all the things your job shadow host has planned for you. It may take time to find a parking spot and find your job shadow host’s office, so plan to arrive early.

Dress to impress. Wear professional business attire. See pictures and tips on professional dress from various college career centers on Pinterest.

Put away your smartphone. It’s difficult to be fully immersed in a job shadow experience or to be fully observant of your job shadow host when you’re tapping on your smartphone. Keep your phone in your pocket or in your purse, and turn the ringer to silent.

Ask questions. Take a notepad and pen to take notes on answers to your questions, or to jot down questions as they come up (like if you’re sitting in on a meeting of executives) so you can ask your job shadow host at a more appropriate time (like after the meeting is done). The University of New Hampshire University Advising and Career Center recommends doing some research on the company and industry prior to your job shadow. This will allow you to ask better questions during your job shadow day.

Be polite. While you want to ask your job shadow host questions, don’t pepper him or her with so many questions he/she can’t get any work done. Also, be courteous of others you meet in the workplace and shake hands with others when you’re introduced.

Be observant. Do people sit at their desks all day? Are there constant interruptions throughout the day? What technology (old or new, types of software, etc.) is in the office? How are people dressed—formal or casual? Do people take a lunch break? Do people look super stressed or happy? How do employees treat each other?

Send a thank you. After your job shadow experience is complete, send your job shadow host a thank you e-mail the same day or next day. To get his/her e-mail address, ask for a business card before you leave the job shadow experience. And be sure to keep the host’s card and contact info—you never know when it could come in handy later in your college life or career.

Image credit: Courtesy of Corridor Business Journal, Flickr Creative Commons. Photo shows student job shadowing at Rockwell Collins.

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7 Best BuzzFeed Posts About College November 20th, 2014
College campus

Get the Buzz on College Admissions and College Life

Have you checked out BuzzFeed lately? We did, and we found several posts about college life, surviving college admissions season, and how to make your decision about which college to attend.

Check out our favorites below for both serious advice and some good laughs.

On College Admissions

The Cheapest, Best Colleges: BuzzFeed used tuition rates and average starting salaries to create this list of “best value colleges.” Note: The public school tuition used in this post is for out-of-state tuition costs, which are typically much higher than in-state tuition.

20 Tips for Surviving College Admissions Season: Some advice to help you relax during the stressful time when you’re waiting to hear back from schools.

15 Inspiring Stories That Will Help You Make Your College Decision: BuzzFeed writers share their stories of how they ended up at the college they attended. The theme of many of these stories: it’s not as important where you go, but what you make of your experience once you get there.

Confessions of a College Admissions Officer: Get a behind-the-scenes look at the admissions process from an admissions officer’s point of view. This admissions officer talks about odd essay topics he/she has seen and what things students (or their parents) do that impact an admissions officer’s view of the student (and possibly the admission admission decision.)

On College Life—Especially During Your First Year

20 People You Will Meet at College This Year: This post is a great reminder to have an open mind about the people you’ll meet at college—especially the one about possibly meeting someone who might be your boss someday.

24 Rookie Mistakes Every College Freshman Makes: Transitioning to college is about more than keeping up on your classes. From locking yourself out of the dorm to not taking advantage of your meal plan, check out the advice here to help you adjust to college life.

16 Care Packages That Any College Kid Would Love: Bookmark this post and send it to your parents right before you head off for college.

Image credit: Courtesy of Nazareth College (Rochester, NY), Flickr Creative Commons

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8 Great Scholarship Search Sites to Check Out November 13th, 2014
Scholarship websites

Scholarship Websites You Should Know

College scholarships are an important resource for affording a college education. There are plenty of free online resources for you to find scholarships that you can apply for. Remember: You should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship; if you do, it’s likely a scam.

Use these eight sites to begin your scholarship search.

bigfuture.collegeboard.org: Operated by the same company that created the SAT and PSAT, this site has a scholarship search of 2,000 programs offering nearly $6 billion in aid. Just enter a little information about yourself and your interests to find scholarships that match your criteria.

dosomething.org: This site offers scholarships for students who do good things for others. Each year there are different scholarship options. Scholarships range from $2,500 to $10,000.

Fastweb.com: With 1.5 million scholarships, this site is worth a stop. You’ll need to register for the site in order to begin searching (and for the site to match you with scholarships that fit your profile.)

LatinoCollegeDollars.org: This site connects you to a database of more than 2.4 million scholarships for Hispanic students. It’s run by ScholarshipExperts.com and is supported by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

ScholarshipAmerica.org: Again, you’ll need to register with this site to begin searching. Registering will also match you with scholarships for which you are eligible.

ScholarshipExperts.com: This site offers a different scholarship opportunity each month. All you have to do is write a 250-word (or less) essay on the given topic. Students age 13 and up are generally eligible for ScholarshipExperts.com awards. In addition, the site has a Scholarship Search database with more than 2 million scholarships. There’s also a Scholarship Directory that breaks scholarships down by category: athletic scholarships, merit-based, college-specific, minority and more.

SchoolSoup.com: You can be matched to 250,000 scholarships via this website. You can view scholarships by state, city, college, major and other categories. As with other sites, once you register it will automatically match you to relevant scholarships.

StudentScholarships.org: This site claims to be “the largest scholarship database on the Web.” You can register with the site and it will match you with scholarships and grants that fit your profile. Or, you can browse through scholarship listings of awards with upcoming deadlines. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the site’s career and salary info, too.

Learn more about paying for college and financial aid.

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5 Things LinkedIn Can Tell You About Colleges November 11th, 2014
LinkedIn University Page

Using LinkedIn in Your College Search

Have you checked out LinkedIn? If not, now might be the time to take a look.

Last year, LinkedIn launched university pages on its site. Today you can use these pages to learn lots of career information about the graduates of colleges you’re considering. If you’re at least 14 years old, you can sign up to create a LinkedIn profile. Go to www.linkedin.com/edu to search for colleges on LinkedIn.

Here’s what LinkedIn can tell you about colleges and universities:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn University Page for The University of Chicago

1. Where alumni are employed. LinkedIn shows you a list of the top companies where a school’s graduates are employed (aka “Where They Work”) and the industry in which they work (aka “What They Do”). This can give you insight into what the most popular majors or programs are at a school.

For example, if  LinkedIn’s “What They Do” data says Finance is in the top three, that college likely has a strong (or at least popular) business or finance major. Likewise, if Engineering is in the top three, it’s a good chance engineering is a top major at that school.

In addition, a “Where They Live” graph shows the cities where most alumni live, which can tell you what cities you might expect to get a job in once you graduate from that school.

LinkedIn Alumni

Details on university alumni on LinkedIn

2. What alumni studied. Click on the Students & Alumni tab to get even more detailed info on alumni careers. Click on the left or right arrows to see more data, including a “What They Studied” section. This shows what majors were most popular at universities, based on information the college’s alumni on LinkedIn have provided.

Also, when you click on a specific area of study, LinkedIn pulls up profiles of alumni. You can browse through those profiles to see the types of career opportunities that might be available if you pursue that area of study, too.

Next to this section, is a “What They’re Skilled At” section, provides insight about skills the college’s curriculum emphasizes, such as communication or leadership.

LinkedIn Recommendations

LinkedIn Recommendations for the University of Colorado-Boulder

3. What graduates really thought about the college. Check the Recommendations tab to see recommendations from alumni. The recommendations may talk about specific programs and professors, and may even give advice on earning your degree or on what to do with your free time when you’re not studying. For example, one University of Colorado-Boulder recommendation advises students to take summer session courses to stay on track to graduate.

4. Notable alumni. Each college listing also pulls a list of the school’s notable alumni. For example, Boston College’s page lists notable alumni such as John Fanning, founder and CEO of Napster.

5. College news. Colleges have the opportunity to post information about the school, so you’ll see a Facebook-style news feed with news and updates from the college. You (and others) can like or comment on the posts. You’ll also see updates when the college gets new recommendations.

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: Food Science November 6th, 2014
Food Science

College Major of the Month: Food Science

Do you like food? Were you captivated watching movies like “Food, Inc.” and “Supersize Me”? Are you curious about how food gets from the farm to your plate?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to take a closer look at this month’s College Major of the Month: food science.

What is food science? Food science combines chemistry, microbiology, chemical engineering and other sciences to study the makeup of food. Food scientists work to understand processing and deterioration of foods and analyze food content and nutritional value. Food scientists research new ways to ensure processed foods are safe, tasty and healthy. They also develop new food products and packaging.

What jobs exist for food science majors? According to Penn State University, “industrial food scientists are needed in food quality management, processing, research and development, marketing and distribution.” Food scientists need strong communication, math, critical thinking, observation, data analysis and decision-making skills.

Food scientists work for food manufacturing companies, restaurants, and private and federal food research organizations. Think companies like Butterball (where your Thanksgiving turkey might be coming from!), Hormel, Barilla, Del Monte, Kraft Foods, Frito Lay, General Mills and Campbell Soup Company.

Also think organizations like the National Food Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What are education and certification requirements for food science majors? First, look for a food science major at universities that have colleges or departments for agriculture and life sciences. Most entry-level jobs require food scientists to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

Undergraduate courses you’ll take may include biology, botany, physics, mathematics, food chemistry, food analysis, food microbiology, food engineering and food processing operations. Many food scientists go on to get a master’s or doctorate degree to study advanced topics such as genetics or biotechnology.

Additionally, you can obtain certification from organizations such as the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

How much do food scientists make? The median annual salary for food scientists is $54,890 for those working in the food manufacturing industry, $70,920 for those working in research and development, and $71,440 for those working in management, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more salary information, check out the IFT’s biennial salary survey.

How can I prepare in high school to major in food science? First, check out the IFT’s Day in the Life of a Food Scientist online series to learn more about food science careers. Next, be sure to take all the science classes (including AP courses) you can. Plus, take any home economics courses that cover nutrition or food preparation. It’s also a good idea to find a professional in your area that you could job shadow for a day.

What scholarships are available for food science majors? Many college scholarships are available for food science majors. For example, Feeding Tomorrow awards multiple $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in food science.

Look for scholarships from food companies, environmental organizations, as well as from food producers associations in your state. For example, the Iowa Pork Producers Association offers various scholarships for students studying an agriculture-related major like food science. Goya (a food company specializing in authentic Latin cuisine) offers the Goya Foods Culinary Arts and Food Sciences Scholarship Program that awards students up to $5,000 per year.

Image credit: Courtesy of KEK064/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 November 2014 October 30th, 2014
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

We know that finding a way to afford college is super important for you and your family. That’s why each month we bring you a list of college scholarships you can apply for, and this month is no exception. Our list of scholarships with deadlines in November 2014 includes opportunities for high school freshmen through seniors. Many require essays, so plan ahead and start writing ASAP!

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program: This highly competitive scholarship program is open to high-achieving high school seniors with a financial need. Winners receive up to $40,000 per year to pay for tuition at an accredited four-year college. In addition to financial need, winners are selected based on academic achievement, persistence, a desire to help others and leadership. Deadline: November 1

Voices of Democracy Audio-Essay Competition: High school students in grades 9 through 12 can enter this audio-essay contest for a chance at a grand prize of $30,000. You’ll need to write a speech about why veterans are important to our nation’s history and future, and record yourself saying it. Deadline: November 1 (for submitting to your local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post)

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum Student Essay Contest: High school students in grades 9 through 12 can participate in this contest for a chance to win up to $300. To participate, write a 500-word essay responding to a political cartoon and text passages that highlight the responsibility of the government to keep us secure in the context of our personal freedoms. Deadline: November 3

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards: This program recognizes students in 9th through 12th grades for their volunteer service to the community. Each school or organization will forward one applicant to the state competition. State finalists will participate in the national competition. State winners receive $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. National scholarship winners receive an additional $5,000. Deadline: November 4

Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest: This out-of-the-ordinary contest in Arkansas provides high school seniors a chance to win up to $2,000 to help pay for college—all you need is the best duck call. Deadline: November 28

Education Matters Scholarship: Write a short essay about why college matters to you to win a $5,000 scholarship. This scholarship competition is open to all U.S. students ages 13 and up. Deadline: November 30

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How to Get the Real Scoop on Colleges October 28th, 2014
College

What Colleges Are Really Like

Brochures and websites can tell you only so much about a college—and usually they tell you only the best things about it. So how can you wade through all the marketing speak and get the inside scoop on what a college is really like? We’ve got tips for you to get the real story.

Twitter: Most colleges are now on Twitter. Twitter (and other social media sites) usually have more spontaneous information posted, along with some of the typical “scripted” info. By following a college’s Twitter feed you can get a feel for how active students are, what goes on campus throughout the year and more.

Colleges on Twitter

University of Texas-Dallas' Twitter feed

When looking for feeds to follow, be sure to check for student engagement and other department’s feeds, in addition to the university’s main feed. Here are a few feeds to check out: @UT_Dallas, @EmbryRiddle, @Sweetbriaredu, @Pepperdine, @EvergreenStCol, @RutgersU and @UofSC.

Blogs: Whether it’s a student blog on an official college website, or a student’s blog you stumble upon elsewhere, blogs can tell you a lot about a school and its students. If a school has blogs for certain majors or experiences (like study abroad or internships), it can show you the type of experiences you could have and what student life is like.

On Elmhurst College’s (IL) website, for example, their study abroad program shares blog posts written by students about their international study experiences. On the College of Holy Cross’s (MA) blog site, numerous students, alumni and faculty write blogs to share their experiences.

Campus tours: When you visit a college campus, students usually give the tours of campus. This provides a great opportunity for you to ask them what the experience is really like: How much do they have to study? What is there to do on weekends? How helpful is the Career Services Office in helping you land an internship? Is the food at the dining center really good?

Free online classes or lectures: Many colleges around the country have posted videos and podcasts of lectures and classes on iTunes University for free. In addition, companies like Udacity, edX and Coursera offer something called massive open online courses (MOOCs) that allow you to take a college course for free. These provide great opportunities for getting a sneak peek at what a class at a university is really like.

Image credit: Photo by Richard Patterson. Courtesy of Sterling College/Flickr Creative Commons

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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Win Scholarship Money Now! 10 Essay Contests for High School Sophomores and Juniors October 23rd, 2014
Scholarships

Essay Contests for College Scholarships

Opportunities abound for high school sophomores and juniors to write essays and win college scholarship money. For potential pay-days as big as $10,000, it’s time well-spent.

My College Guide has gathered a list of 10 essay contests that high school sophomores and juniors can participate in. Be sure to check each contest’s website for complete rules and deadlines. Now, get your laptop ready and start writing!

American Foreign Service Association Essay Contest: Write an essay for this prestigious national essay contest for a chance to win a $2,500 cash prize, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to meet the Secretary of State and full tuition to cover a Semester at Sea voyage once you enroll at an accredited university. Any high school student can enter. New essay contest rules and the application are posted in November each year. The deadline is typically in April.

Bennington Young Writers Awards: Students in grades 10 through 12 can participate in this writing contest. Choose from one of three categories: poetry, fiction or nonfiction personal or academic essay. The deadline is usually November 1 each year. Top prize is $500.

DuPont Challenge Science Essay Contest: Middle school and high school students can participate in this essay contest. Write an essay on a science-related topic on one of four of the identified challenges: feeding the world, building a secure energy future, protecting people and the environment and being innovative. The deadline is typically in February each year. Prizes range from a $250 U.S. Savings Bond to a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond. First, second and third place winners also receive a trip to Orlando.

EGirl Essay Contest: The National Academy of Engineering’s EngineerGirl website offers an essay contest on an engineering topic for girls and boys. Awards range from $100 to $500. Winning entries are published online.

First Freedom Student Competition: Write an essay (or create a video) about a topic examining the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom. Top prize is $2,500. The deadline is usually in November each year.

The Fountainhead Essay Contest: High school juniors can read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and write an essay on one of three topics. Prizes range from $50 to $10,000. The entry deadline is typically in April.

JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest: Write an essay on a U.S. elected official “who has chosen to do what is right, rather than what is expedient.” The winner gets $10,000, second place gets $1,000 and up to five finalists receive $500 each. The deadline is typically in early January each year.

George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest: The National Society Sons of the American Revolution sponsors this annual essay contest. Students compete at the state and national levels. You must write an essay on a topic related to the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution. The top national winner receives $2,000. State/local deadlines are usually by no later than December 31 each year, but these deadlines can vary depending on location.

National Peace Essay Contest: The U.S. Institute of Peace offers this contest. First-place state winners receive a trip to Washington, D.C., and a $1,000 scholarship. National award winners receive $2,500 to $10,000. Essays are typically due in February.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: Apply in one of 28 categories to earn a scholarship and have your artwork exhibited or writing published. Awards range from $500 to $2,500. New submissions are typically accepted beginning in September each year. Deadlines vary by region and contest.

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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The Latest College Admission Advice for High School Sophomores October 16th, 2014
Sophomore Edition

2015 Sophomore Edition, My College Guide

Have you seen the latest edition of My College Guide? Our 2015 Sophomore Edition is now available online! This edition provides the latest information on the college admissions process, the hottest college majors and careers, preparing for the ACT and SAT, pre-college summer programs, and how to pay for college.

Check out the topics covered in the latest My College Guide.

How to Prepare for College During High School

Choosing a College

Choosing a Major

Paying for College

College Life

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.

Subscribe to our blog via RSS or email and stay on top of everything college!

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