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Strut Your Stuff! Make Yourself A Great Scholarship Candidate!

scholarships Strut Your Stuff! Make Yourself A Great Scholarship Candidate!Going to college with scholarships can greatly ease the burden on yourself and your parents. Scholarships are free money to pay for your education, books and room and board. There are scholarships everywhere and for almost anything, and the winner of the scholarship will be the candidate that best presents themselves in their application. Take these ideas under consideration when considering how to make yourself a great candidate!

Academics are the deciding factor on many scholarship awards. Most will have a grade point average (GPA) requirement. Demonstrating your ability to handle your course load and maintain a strong GPA will speak volumes about your aptitude and possibilities for success. When scholarships are awarded based on academics you have to demonstrate your desire to succeed in higher education. This starts with studying hard and doing well in your high school classes. This does not always require a 4.0 or perfect grade point average. SAT/ACT test scores can also give an indication about the possibilities for your success. Dedicate yourself to study time, focused classroom presence and maintaining a healthy balance to do your best and increase academic scholarship eligibility.

Going beyond academics, extra-curricular activities are also important to your profile as a scholarship candidate. Being a member of the drama team, debate team, band, national honor society, foreign language club or Explorer club will demonstrate that you are committed not only to your academic career. It will show that you are a well-rounded individual, and that you can handle academic studies along with social activities that will benefit y our community.

Speaking of benefiting the community, scholarship awards seem to find their ways into the hands of those with a strong sense of community service. Knowing that there is much more beyond yourself and understanding that there are people in need around you is important. Recognizing that need and feeling compelled to volunteer your time and energy to those less fortunate sends a message to scholarship committees that they are spending their money wisely on individuals who care not only about making a difference and succeeding academically, but helping others do so as well. After all, isn't that what scholarships are about?

Being a strong candidate does not depend on the type of scholarship you are applying for, it depends on the type of person applying for the scholarship. Present yourself in the best possible way by showing off your academic success, along with your desire to learn and be a vital part of your community.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Scholarships and have No Comments

Going Greek: Is it Right For You?

greek Going Greek: Is it Right For You?Depending on the college your enrolled in going Greek may be anything from a major lifestyle change to few extracurricular activities. It makes a difference what kind of a presence Greek life has in your school as to whether or not it is right for you.More prevalent in the south, some northern fraternities and sororities are simply small clubs that gather for occasional parties and get togethers. It may make you somewhat of an oddity to join one if they don't have a persuasive effect in the schools social and academic scene. There are benefits, however, to living the Greek life in a school that has a powerful Greek presence.

This is not to say that smaller schools have no prevalent Greek life. It may be the only choice to have any social life at all. Larger schools with bigger student populations offer other possibilities for friendship and outside school activities. Variations in Greek life are so wide it is best to consider the most basic pros and cons and then apply them to your own situation.

Housing is most often a big pro in the Greek life. Rushing (or joining) a fraternity or sorority can provide you with a large dorm house full of all the comforts of home. While not all schools have housing for the frats it can be a great alternative to dorm rooms. You share housework and responsibilities with your house brothers or sisters and get a general feeling of family that is hard to find away from home.

The Greek system has established itself to build better people through athletics, leadership building activities, community service, scholarship and most widely publicized – social life. They spend as much or more time on charity and community events as on socializing and partying. Membership in Greek organizations offers students opportunities to develop strong leadership potential by heading up various charitable projects for school and community. Membership can also provide students with lifetime friendships and future professional connections because Greeks have a reputation of staying loyal for years after graduation.

The Greek system offers fantastic ways to help students in their academic careers. A major goal of Greek life is to help and encourage pledges and members in achieving their absolute highest academic potential. Greek organizations give academic support programs such as national and local scholarships and grants, personal incentives and awards, workshops, tutoring and study sessions.
The social life of Greeks has been widely publicized in movies like Animal House, and although it's not all fun and games there is a fair amount of fun. Greeks are active in their schools and communities and never have a drought of events to attend.

Consider your alternatives and the presence and character of the Greek life in your school before rushing a fraternity or sorority. But chances are, you'll find something you like.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Campus College,College Life,Going to College and have No Comments

How To Pay For College If Your Parents Can’t

empty hands How To Pay For College If Your Parents CantIf you come from a limited financial background, that's no reason that you shouldn't go to college. In fact, the less financial support you have, the easier it may be to secure financial aid. Financial aid is only given out to the neediest students. That being said, there can be stiff competition for financial aid packages, so you should apply early.

If you are looking to save money on tuition, state schools are much cheaper overall than private schools–especially if you can prove residency. This is not true across the board, however. In special situations, you could potentially get a higher scholarship for a private university than financial aid at your local university. It's important to weigh all of your options. Obviously, the school with the lowest tuition is a good first bet, but there are other factors to consider as well.

A good financial aid or grant program should be able to help with tuition, room and board, and supplies. If the latter is not included, cut costs by buying and selling used textbooks. Room and board can be a huge chunk of expenses–if you can cut costs by living in a shared living space, instead of a dorm, this is recommended. The trade-off is that you will have to make your own meals, but you can save hundreds of dollars a month on rent.

Getting a job is an absolute necessity–and may be mandatory as part of your financial aid package. Many financial aid packages require that you get a job on campus–a sort of pay as you go student loan. This may be preferable to other types of student loans, as you won't be saddled with payments after you graduate. The problem is that your work study paycheck will go right back to the school, which doesn't provide money for other expenses.

Student Loans

Student loans are by far the most popular form of tuition payment: borrow now, pay later. If you get a job during the school year, much of your paycheck will be going in pocket. At the same time, it is important to start paying off your student loan early on. Defaulting on student loan payments after you graduate can have long-term consequences. As you are trying to get footing in the workforce, it can be difficult to have to spend a large chunk of your paycheck on loans.

All that said, there is no reason to not go to college just because your parents cannot afford it. They may be able to meet you halfway by fronting some of the money if you are able to find a loan from somewhere else. Even if they don't help out at all, you can still pay off tuition and other expenses through government loans, private grants, school scholarships, work study programs, and more.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Paying for School,Reducing Cost/Tuition,Scholarships and have No Comments

Work And Pay Part Of Your Tuition

tuition Work And Pay Part Of Your TuitionWorking to pay off tuition is becoming increasingly popular among college students. In the past, students would get student loans to help pay for college tuition. While this is a viable away to meet the demands of high tuition, student loans do have their drawbacks.

The main problem is that student loans can drag on for years after a student graduates. It is hard enough trying to make your way after you graduate without having a significant portion of your earnings taken up with student loans. In addition, having an outstanding student loan can make it more difficult to apply for an apartment, credit card, or other type of loan. This is especially true if you miss a payment, which will affect your credit rating.

These are all the darkest possible circumstances regarding student loans, but they should be mentioned. A work study program in which students work and pay off tuition while still in school is becoming increasingly popular. In effect, students will pay off student loans in real time. Instead of being saddled with student loan payments that will come out of future paychecks, students work their way through college.

The set-up is similar to a student loan. A student gets a select amount of money to put toward tuition. Unlike a scholarship, which is “free money,” the student has to then work off the grant. This is preferable to a student loan because it will be paid off by graduation.

However, with tuition on the rise, work study programs will not always cover the entire tuition, just a portion. It still may be necessary to apply for separate student loans and scholarships. Even so, the amount of a student loan will be severely diminished if included with a work study program.

One misconception among college students is that you can only participate in one kind of program. Certain programs do have restrictions, but it is possible to get a scholarship, student loan, and participate in a work study program. If a scholarship only covers $2,000 of tuition, you may need to explore other avenues as well. At the same time, if you default on student loan payments, you may be ineligible for certain work study programs.

Remember that much of student loan payments go to interest—especially for young, high-risk borrowers who will likely have high interest payments. Interest is basically lost money—it does not go towards paying off the loan. The higher the interest rate, the longer an outstanding student loan will last. It is imperative that you combine student loans with other types of payment plans in order to not be saddled with high student loan payments long after you leave college.

Work study programs do not have the same problems with interest. Normally, you will have a portion of the tuition pre-paid, which you then work off. You will not have to pay extra for interest, but instead your paycheck goes towards paying off the grant. If you need extra spending money as well, you may need to get another job or save a portion from the work study program—if the program allows you to pay a set amount every month.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Paying for School,Reducing Cost/Tuition and have No Comments

Making the Transition to College Life

j0426568 Making the Transition to College LifeAttending college is one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions that anyone makes for their future. Typically, there are two types of students: either you are just out of high school looking to further your education or you have been in the working world for a while and realized that further adult education will enhance your work. Signing up for classes, getting previous credits transferred in, then accepted and building a schedule are the easy parts. Finding full funding, changing your schedule around schooling and studying are the difficult aspects.

The primary challenge for most people as it relates to schooling is finding the funding for it. Via government subsidized Stafford Loans a student with 0-27 college credits will receive about $6,625 for the year. A second year student with 28-59 credits will receive approximately $7,500 in loans for the year. Finally, during the last two years of schooling a student will receive $10,500 for the year. This is about the time where you gasp and realize that your schooling will cost much more than the amounts listed here. So what does a non-financially blessed person do? There are many different options available. Most students take out private, credit-based loans in addition to the government backed ones. It would also be wise to perform some research through your school and the Internet to find some scholarship and grant opportunities that are available. A word to the wise: Apply as soon as possible for scholarships because the application process is usually time consuming. Also be aware that when you apply for a scholarship, by the time it is sent to the school you will likely be in your next year's worth of education.

Whether you plan to attend school as a working student or not, finding a good schedule to fit your needs will be challenging to say the least. So, once you have decided upon a school and program to attend, sit down with your academic counselor to get scheduled for classes as quickly as possible. Do not delay here. The best class times, instructors and electives are quickly filled. If you are planning on a typical September start, you may want to be thinking about accomplishing these things in the springtime.

The final hurdle that slows people down in their successful pursuit of a degree is finding time to study. We are all busy with our lives and even more so if you have a family and a full time job. However, spending a few hours each night is the best action to take for scholastic success. Even if your schedule permits you to only work two hours per night and wrap up on the weekend, this is the best course of action. Do not attempt doing everything over the weekend, as you will soon find that school becomes overwhelming.

Ultimately, planning ahead and being fully informed about your degree program are sure fire ways to achieve success in school.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Campus College,College Life,Strategies for Success,Working & Going to School and have No Comments

Building Your Future

Choosing a college is choosing a future, or at least building towards it, so certain things should be kept in mind like future finances, job opportunities and location. By taking into account these things, applicants can work toward a rewarding future.

One of the worst things a young person can do is start life in incredible debt. Scholarship hunting is gravely important, and more so as tuition rises across the country. An honest look at the family finances will help determine exactly what is affordable now, and in the future. Talking with a professional financial planner may help, but setting a reasonable level of possible debt can be done without help. Attending a $40,000 year school on loans alone is not advisable; students should find as many scholarships as possible, and if the search doesn't net any, and the schools don't offer big scholarships, an education at an affordable state school is a very reasonable alternative. Most state schools cost less that $5,000 a year in tuition, and even doubling it to include living costs for four years would be less than a year at a private institution. Without a tremendous amount of debt around a student's neck, they have the freedom to explore a variety of options after graduation without having to immediately find a job and begin paying back the money.

Choosing a major in a growing field, or in a field where there is steady employment is also advisable. Sure, students should pursue their passions and dreams, but they should also be practical in their choices, especially if they will have a large debt after college. If a student plans on graduate school, studying at a more affordable school might be advisable, but not entirely necessary. Loan companies usually offer deferments for students enrolled in graduate school, and graduate schools often have programs to reduce the cost of tuition through teaching or research.

In building toward a successful future, an applicant should choose schools in places with good job prospects and opportunities for internships. As enjoyable as it maybe to attend college near the Great Lakes or close to another venue of outdoor adventure, studying in a major city affords the student a greater chance at landing worthwhile internships and eventually jobs. Highly motivated students from rural areas can find go internships too, but a student in an urban environment has a better chance of learning of an opportunity through their growing network in the city. Professors often associate with professional in the field they teach from nearby cities or in their city, and this connection can prove very valuable, and rare when compared to the opportunities a student at a rural college might have.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Choosing a Major,Finding Your Degree,Finding Your School,Making the Decision and have No Comments

Learn More About Applying for Scholarships

Applying for scholarships can be time consuming, but viewing it as a part time job, even one modest award can be worth several hundred dollars an hour in spent researching and applying. Considering most scholarships have similar criteria, and similar essay prompts, applying can be easy as cut and paste.

The most typical and readily available scholarships are sponsored by the university or the state and are merit based. Merit-based scholarships from universities might not even have a separate application for scholarship consideration and will automatically award money when they grant admission. Depending on the number of people who meet the criteria, and the applicant's scores, these awards can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars a year to full-tuition.

State scholarships have to be applied for, although some financial aid offices in universities streamline the process, if the applicant lives in the sate. Many state scholarships do not apply if the applicant goes out of state, and applicants from out of state typically do not receive scholarships from the state in which they will be attending school. Some state scholarships require community service; be sure to talk with a guidance counselor or teacher for more information on state based scholarships.

Scholarships from private foundations, charities, corporations and religious organizations can be a bit more exotic in the application process and requirements. Many foundations and charities require interviews as part of the selection process, but generally require similar scores and essays. They may also require special projects, or community service. Corporations generally offer some scholarship money to the children of employees who will be studying in an industry related field. A software company may offer scholarships to computer engineers only. Some place a requirement that recipients study at a state school. Some require that the applicant stay in state, but the applicant is free to attend private or public university.

Religious organizations often require that applicants be member of the church, and then the standard mixture of grades, need and essays. The more exotic requirements might come departmental scholarships offered within a particular university. These scholarships often require the applicant meet basic criteria, plus admission. Memorial scholarships make up the bulk of this type of scholarship and sometimes have additional requirements based on the interests or characteristics of the memorial scholarship namesake.

Applying for these loans can be a long process involving interviews and non-standard essay prompts, but they are often very lucrative. Applicants should gather as many scholarship and admission applications as possible before beginning an admission/application essay. Generally the prompts for these are similar, and a well-crafted broad essay can fit neatly into many applications, which streamlines the process. Be wary of application deadlines, as many scholarship deadlines, especially from private organizations come much earlier than university deadlines.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Paying for School and have No Comments

Scholarships: Get That Money!

Academic scholarships are an easy way to use your academic success to pay for college. Taking advantage of these can be incredibly easy, provided that you are able and willing to submit applications notifying whomever is awarding scholarships about your academic ability. There are some common mishaps that might keep you from gaining access to that free money.

Review the application entirely. This is the first step in avoiding the disqualification of your application. Read over it before filling or signing anything. Review the requirements to complete, submit the application along with whatever supplemental documentation might be required. This can include, but is not limited to, transcripts, and essays. Make sure that you have plenty of copies of these documents handy to send off with all of your scholarship applications.

Do not confine your eligibility to one scholarship application. Find many academic scholarships for which you might be eligible. Apply for all of them. You might not make the finalist list for one, but you will for others. Give yourself as many opportunities as possible to get that free money!

When you have an application, fill it out completely. Make sure you have read it through and provided complete and accurate information. There are countless applications that are disqualified because the applicant cannot be contacted with the given information. Make sure to be very observant of what you are typing or writing and maybe even ask a friend or family member to proofread the items for you.

Another common mistake when completing applications is to apply for scholarships for which you are not eligible. This wastes your time, the evaluating committee's time and that certainly won't get you a scholarship, especially if you do not have the proper required credentials.

Remember, you are trying to apply for an academic scholarship. The application is your chance to shine! Check for completeness, grammar, spelling, accuracy and that you have all the right supporting documentation. Do not include things that have not been required, such as a photo of yourself or a non-essential essay. Many academic scholarships are reviewed by committees of people who review applications. They won't read anything that isn't part of the application. The application phase shows that you are organized, punctual and capable of following directions. Show them what you've got and they will show you the money!

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Scholarships and have No Comments

Free Money??!! Apply For A College Scholarship Now!!

Have you started applying for your scholarship yet? No? WHY NOT!?! This is free money for your education. Following these quick and easy steps will help make this process painless.

First, Eliminate the Scholarships That Don’t Apply To You
There are many scholarships available for people who want to attend college. The most practical approach to winning the money you need or want to go to school is to do some research and figure out the scholarships for which you’re eligible. Because of the overwhelming amount of scholarships out there, you will save yourself a lot of time and potentially wasted effort if you identify at the outset of your process which scholarships just don’t apply to you.

Next, Make A List of the Scholarships That You Are Most Likely To Receive
Once you’ve eliminated the list of scholarships that have nothing to do with you, you’ll probably see that the amount of scholarships is still pretty large. Of course, this is basically good news, but if you are eligible for a very large number, the clock might run out on you before you have a chance to apply to them all. To mitigate this possibility, take your research skills in a different direction by learning about the scholarships you could apply to and prioritizing the ones that you most would like to receive, and/or have the best chance of receiving.

Look Around — Are There Experts Available To You Who Can Help You In Your Quest?
The above tasks may sound daunting. Before you get too overwhelmed, ask yourself if there is someone who could help you make sense of all of the scholarships. If you are still in high school, before you do anything, you should make an appointment with your guidance counselor and let him or her help you figure out which scholarships might be the best for you, as well as which ones you are the likeliest to be awarded. If you’ve been out of high school for a while and are looking to get that college degree, chances are there’s someone in your current circle of friends, maybe someone who’s already been to college and been through this, who can help you cut through all the paperwork to get to the scholarships that are best for you.

Don’t Forget The Internet When It Comes To Tracking Down Scholarships
There are a number of Web resources at your disposal to aid you in your search for money for college. For example, Fastweb.com is a very popular site devoted to helping people match them up with scholarships for which they’re eligible. A great feature of a site like Fastweb.com is that once you enter your profile information on the site, it will e-mail you with news about upcoming scholarship deadlines.

And of course, regardless of how you find out about your scholarships, as soon as you determine which ones you’ll go after, the most important thing is to request the application materials and complete them as soon as possible.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Education and have No Comments

How To Pay For College When Your Parents Can't

If you come from a limited financial background, that’s no reason that you shouldn’t go to college. In fact, the less financial support you have, the easier it may be to secure financial aid. Financial aid is only given out to the neediest students. That being said, there can be stiff competition for financial aid packages, so you should apply early.

If you are looking to save money on tuition, state schools are much cheaper overall than private schools–especially if you can prove residency. This is not true across the board, however. In special situations, you could potentially get a higher scholarship for a private university than financial aid at your local university. It’s important to weigh all of your options. Obviously, the school with the lowest tuition is a good first bet, but there are other factors to consider as well.

A good financial aid or grant program should be able to help with tuition, room and board, and supplies. If the latter is not included, cut costs by buying and selling used textbooks. Room and board can be a huge chunk of expenses–if you can cut costs by living in a shared living space, instead of a dorm, this is recommended. The trade-off is that you will have to make your own meals, but you can save hundreds of dollars a month on rent.

Getting a job is an absolute necessity–and may be mandatory as part of your financial aid package. Many financial aid packages require that you get a job on campus–a sort of pay as you go student loan. This may be preferable to other types of student loans, as you won’t be saddled with payments after you graduate. The problem is that your work study paycheck will go right back to the school, which doesn’t provide money for other expenses.

Student Loans

Student loans are by far the most popular form of tuition payment: borrow now, pay later. If you get a job during the school year, much of your paycheck will be going in pocket. At the same time, it is important to start paying off your student loan early on. Defaulting on student loan payments after you graduate can have long-term consequences. As you are trying to get footing in the workforce, it can be difficult to have to spend a large chunk of your paycheck on loans.

All that said, there is no reason to not go to college just because your parents cannot afford it. They may be able to meet you halfway by fronting some of the money if you are able to find a loan from somewhere else. Even if they don’t help out at all, you can still pay off tuition and other expenses through government loans, private grants, school scholarships, work study programs, and more.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Education and have No Comments
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