College Scholarships Ending in July 2015 June 30th, 2015
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

Get ready to write! Most of the scholarships with deadlines in July require you to write an essay. As you write your essay, be creative and be sure to explain your thoughts and ideas thoroughly. Also, remember to check each scholarship’s criteria for essay word limits so you don’t write a too long or too short essay.

Here are few highlights of college scholarships with deadlines in July:

Spokeo Connections Scholarship: Win a $1,000 scholarship by writing an essay on one of three topics related to social networking or “Big Data.” Applicants may be high school seniors or current college students. Deadline: July 1

$1,000 Safe Driver Scholarship: Participate in an approved Safe Driver Program, and then create “a form of social awareness” (video, artwork, essay, etc.) to engage other students to focus on safe driving. This scholarship program is sponsored by CarInsuranceComparison.com. High school seniors and current college students may apply. Deadline: July 10

Resume Companion $1,000 Scholarship Giveaway: Create a resume based on the life of a character from TV, history, literature or myth for a chance to win this $1,000 scholarship. High school seniors entering college in Fall 2015 and current college students may apply. Deadline: July 14

TheHealthy.com General Scholarship for Higher Learning: Write an essay on one of three topics (health, inspiration or travel) for a chance to win this $500 scholarship. High school seniors planning to attend college in the fall may apply. Deadline: July 15

Movers Corp Moving Scholarship: Share your moving stories to win this $500 scholarship. The scholarship is open to high school and college students. Deadline: July 15

Flavor of the Month Scholarship: In honor of National Ice Cream Month, you can write a short essay about which ice cream flavor you’d like to be and why. The award-winning essay writer will receive a $1,500 scholarship. This scholarship is open to any student age 13 and up. Deadline: July 31

NursesLink.org Nursing Program Scholarship: If you’re currently enrolled in (or plan to enroll in) an undergraduate nursing program, you can apply for this $1,000 scholarship. The application requires an essay. Deadline: July 31

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9 Tools to Help You Budget for College and Save Money June 16th, 2015
Money for College

Tools to Budget and Save Money for College

Getting a college education is a big investment, and it’s never too early to start earning money for money to help pay for college. The following websites and apps can help you plan your budget, save money on things you buy and better manage your money while you’re in high school, in college and beyond.

Money Management

MyMoney.gov – This site has money management info and advice, as well as a toolkit with budget worksheets and a debt payoff calculator (handy for helping you figure out how long it will take you to pay back your student loans).

Mint.com – Get some help managing your budget and bills all in one place. This site lets you see all your bills, income and bank accounts in one place so it’s easier to see what you’re spending each month.

Power Wallet – This tool helps you monitor your spending and set a budget. It also gives you reminders to pay bills.

Financial Aid and College Costs

Net Price Calculator Center – Want to know how much college will cost you? Simply enter the name of a college you’re considering to access its Net Price Calculator, an online tool that helps you estimate the true cost of attending that school.

Studentaid.gov – Become familiar with all your options for federal student aid, such as grants and loans. Plus, learn how you can qualify to receive financial aid to help pay for college.

Student Loan Calculator – This tool from the College Board helps you calculate your student loan repayments in relation to your possible starting salary so that you can make smart borrowing decisions.

Discounts and Coupons to Save Money

Cartwheel – Target is a popular store for stocking up on dorm room supplies. Download the Cartwheel app to your smartphone to get discounts on everything from food, toiletries and cleaning supplies to clothing, electronics, school supplies, dorm décor and organization supplies.

Yowza! – This free mobile app (for iPhone and Android devices) lets you clip coupons digitally. It helps you find coupons in your local area. To use a coupon, just show the cashier the coupon on your smartphone. Great for late night pizza runs and movie nights!

RedLaser – This free mobile app (for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone) helps you compare prices when you’re at the store. Simply scan an item’s barcode and the app will show you if there are lower prices at stores near you or online.

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The Summer After High School Junior Year: 10 Ways to Make the Most of Summer Break June 2nd, 2015
Ways to Prepare for College During Summer

Ways to Prepare for College During Summer

Summer is not only a time for relaxing. It’s also a great time to get a head start earning money to pay for college, spending quality time with friends and upping your game by learning new skills. Check out these 10 ways to make the most of the summer break between your junior and senior years.

Get a job. Start earning money for college by working part-time at a local store. Or, start your own lawn mowing service and ask neighbors if they’ll pay you to mow their lawns. Another option: take a Red Cross babysitting course and then offer your services to neighbors and family who live nearby.

Apply for scholarships. It’s never too early in your high school career to start applying for college scholarships. Consider these scholarship essay contests for high school sophomores and juniors.

Do a job shadow. Think you know what you want to be when you grow up? Find a family friend or ask your school guidance counselor for help getting in touch with a person who works in the field you want to study. Summer is a great time to job shadow, so you won’t miss math or English class while you’re getting a taste of what it’s like to spend a day in the life of a professional.

Spend time with friends. High school goes by fast, so make sure summer isn’t all work or filled with to-do lists to build your college resume. Spend quality time with your friends, as well as your family.

Study for the ACT or SAT. If you weren’t satisfied with your test score from the spring exam, sign up to take an early fall exam, and then study, study, study so you can improve your score.

Attend a pre-college summer program. Many colleges and universities offer pre-college programs in the summer for a variety of academic disciplines and other interests (like sports camps). Check out the offerings at colleges in your local area and sign up for a program that matches your interests.

Volunteer. Find a cause you’re passionate about and then lend a helping hand. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an every week commitment—it could be volunteering to help with a large event or helping out a few times at a food bank.

Visit colleges. If you haven’t visited colleges already, now is a great time to get those visits in. Plus, depending on where the colleges are located, it may give you an opportunity to travel to new locations and expand your horizons.

Narrow your college list. You don’t need to apply to dozens of colleges (not only will it take a lot of time, but also a lot of money for the application fees). Use the summer months to review your list of potential colleges and narrow the list to the ones you most want to apply to. Check with an admissions counselor to see if the application is ready for new applicants, and if it is, look at the essay questions and start brainstorming and writing your college application essay.

Learn a new skill. Always wanted to learn to surf? Want to learn how to use Microsoft Excel since you plan to major in accounting? Or, want to learn how to do your own laundry since you’ll need to do it when you’re at college? Use online tutorials for free via YouTube or GCF Learn Free or low-cost tutorials at Lynda.com to help you learn something new that will help you in college.

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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

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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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

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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.

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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.

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