Archive for the ‘Scholarships & Financial Aid’ Category

The Top 4 Types of Scholarship Essays

One of the most important aspects of your college application is the scholarship essay. For many, scholarships may be the only way to afford the cost of attending college. This makes crafting a stellar essay all the more important. Topics for scholarship essays may vary by institution, but there are some common ones that you can expect to come across as you prepare your college applications.

scholarship essay

Here are four of the top prompts you will likely encounter when applying for scholarships – and how you should (or shouldn’t) answer them:

1. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question is about planning. Have you thought ahead about your goals for your career and life? It’s a question that asks you to imagine your future. Scholarships are limited, and the essay is a chance for an institution to judge students’ ability to plan and execute short-term and long-term goals. Organizations awarding money are also interested in investing in a student who is serious about his or her goals. Be sure to keep your response limited to academic and professional goals (unless the prompt specifies otherwise). While you shouldn’t be afraid to think big, keep your goals realistic.

2. Who do you admire and why?
Mentors or idols can inspire you to pursue a specific academic or career path, and a prompt such as this provides an excellent opportunity to illustrate your passion for a specific field of study. What has your mentor achieved in his or her career that inspires you? How has your relationship with this mentor strengthened your resolve to pursue this path?

You can also broaden the scope of this prompt by writing about a teacher or other academic figure outside your field of study. Regardless of who you write about, it is important to remember that this essay should not be biography on the person you admire – it is also a chance to highlight aspects of who you are as a student and a person. Also, be wary of writing about a family member. If you do write about a relative, be sure to have an extraordinary reason for doing so – otherwise, you risk blending in with many other applicants.

3. Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart
This can be a deceptively difficult prompt and requires you to boast, which can make many students uncomfortable. A question that asks you to differentiate yourself from the scores of other students applying for the same scholarship requires concrete examples and anecdotes. How you tell the details of your story is important, and could be the very thing that helps your application stand out.

4. Describe how you have demonstrated leadership both in and out of school
You have likely demonstrated leadership in many situations, but the difficulty in answering a prompt like this one is choosing the right example. Remember: Only include instances that clearly and concisely demonstrate your leadership ability.

Don’t be afraid to discuss any mistakes you’ve made along the way. However, it is also important to write about how you corrected those issues or what you learned from the experience. Perfection doesn’t make a great leader – adaptation skills and the ability to learn do. By acknowledging challenges you faced and how you overcame them, you can make your essay stand out.

An essay prompt is an invitation to tell a story. As with any good story, giving concrete examples allows your audience to understand your message. The more specific you are in your essay, the more likely it is you’ll stand out from the other applicants. Regardless of the question you’re asked, a scholarship essay is a chance to demonstrate the specific skills, experiences, and passions that make you the most qualified recipient.

Brian Kornell is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, the leading curated marketplace for private tutors. The company also builds mobile learning apps, online tutoring environments, and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies.

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Scholarships Expiring in August 2015

Take advantage of those days when it’s too hot to leave the air conditioning by finishing some scholarship applications. These scholarships all expire in August, so there’s not much time left to try to win some money for college!

college scholarship

1. Jewell Gardiner Memorial Fund Scholarship
Deadline: August 1
Award: $1,000

Are you a member of the CSLA Northern Section who’s currently in a teacher librarian credential program? You qualify for this $1,000 scholarship.

2. Mario Cugia Italian Studies Scholarship
Deadline: August 1
Award: $600-$1,000

This award is for Italian students of the Roman Catholic faith who plan on majoring in Italian studies. Applicants must also maintain a 3.2 GPA and live within the Catholic Dioceses of California, Nevada, Illinois, or Arizona.

3. IDDBA’s Scholarship for Growing the Future
Deadline: August 1
Award: $100-$2,000

Applicants must work for a company that’s a member of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association and have a 2.5 GPA. Recipients must also continue to work at least 13 hours a week during the school year to continue receiving the award.

4. ALBA George Watt Prize Essay Contest
Deadline: August 1
Award: $250

If you’ve written an essay on the Spanish Civil War, polish it up and get it sent over so you’re entered for this scholarship. Submissions are judged based on originality, research quality, and effective arguments.

5. Sarah and Max Goldsammler Scholarship Fund
Deadline: August 2
Award: $300-$1,000

High school or college-aged Jewish students should submit a 500-1,000 word essay describing their passions and how they can make the world a better place will be entered to win this scholarship.

6. Milbank Diversity Scholars Program
Deadline: August 15
Award: $25,000

To qualify, students must have already completed their first year at an ABA accredited law school and be a member of a group that’s underrepresented at traditional law firms.

7. Atlanta Dental Spa Scholarship
Deadline: August 18
Award: $1,000

Submit an essay on a given topic and you’ll be entered to win this $1,000 scholarship. Applicants must be high school upperclassmen or currently enrolled in an accredited postsecondary institution or trade school.

8. Women in Public Finance Scholarship
Deadline: August 25
Award: $3,000

Young women with a 3.0 GPA, leadership skills, and an interest in working in finance or government may qualify for this scholarship.

9. AFSA Second Chance Scholarship
Deadline: August 26
Award: $1,000

Applicants must be attending an accredited two- or four-year college or trade school in the spring of 2016.

10. Luis E. Torres Scholarship Award
Deadline: August 31
Award: $500-$1,000

This scholarship is for students who have overcome a medical hardship to pursue a higher education. To qualify, applicants must have a documented illness or disability, a 2.5 GPA, and plan to enroll at an accredited college or university.

11. The Zebra Safe Driver Scholarship
Deadline: August 31
Award: $500

Write an essay on why you stopped texting while driving and you could win this free money for college.

12. Marketing Certified Social Media Scholarship
Deadline: August 31
Award: $1,000

Take a short test demonstrating your social media proficiency, submit an essay explaining how it could help you get a job, and you could land this award.

13. Scholarship
Deadline: August 31
Award: $500

A short 300-500 word essay on an internet-related topic could win you a scholarship for the fall 2015 semester.

14. Vectorworks Design Scholarship 2015
Deadline: August 31
Award: $3,000-$10,000

Submit your best design work and answer three short questions and you’ll be entered to win this big scholarship from Vectorworks.

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How to Make Your Education More Affordable Than Ever

One of the hardest things about getting a degree is finding out things you wish you’d known before you started. That’s particularly true when it comes to figuring out how to pay for the education you need in order to achieve your dreams. Most people simply fill out their FAFSAs and wait for the package to be announced, but there’s plenty more that you can do to save classes

There’s More Than You Think
This is the first mistake that people make when it comes to financing an education. It is wrong to assume that you have to take what is offered. You can actually get more out of financial aid by simply asking for it. There are also special “summer only” scholarships that you should jump on to pay for another class. Talk to your financial aid officer and ask them what you are allowed to get, as opposed to what’s offered to you. You’ll be glad you did.

An Early Start Is Best
Another way of stretching your dollars is to make sure you get everything you can out of high school. Some school districts now offer to pay for a year of community college – that’s an entire year of college for free. You should also pay the small sum for any Advanced Placement test you’re capable of passing. It may be a gamble, but many colleges accept scores as low as a 3 on the AP, and will grant credit hours in that subject.

Going Online Gives You an Advantage
Online schooling is another great way to shave expenses. This saves gas money and often allows you to necessary classes so they don’t conflict with the rest of your daily schedule. Many students get caught in the trap of needing two courses that are offered at the same time on the same day. But taking some of your courses online will help you to avoid this problem. There are plenty of options to choose from – a master of public administration program, teaching programs, engineering degrees, and more. This will allow you to find the right subject for you and save money doing it.

Using these tips, you may be able to graduate early and start earning money while everyone else is still sweating out their finals.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan also enjoys researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

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