Posts Tagged ‘college application’

Community colleges voice concerns about changes to federal aid

As part of new budgetary measures, students will have to possess a high school diploma or GED if they want to remain eligible for financial aid, reports Inside Higher Ed.

At the moment, students don’t necessarily need to have a high school diploma to enroll in community colleges. However, beginning July 1, individuals who want to apply for federal financial aid must have their high school diploma or GED. Officials from some community colleges say this approach goes against their mission and the idea of college accessibility.

“Our colleges are very concerned that this is a big step backwards for our acceleration efforts for this population,” Jan Yoshiwara, director of education services at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, told the news source, speaking about students who may have had to drop out of high school to take care of dependents or faced other similar difficulties.

Community colleges are seen as increasingly important to people who want to enter vocational professions. According to U.S. News and World Report, two-year schools can be a more affordable way for people to change careers later in life or explore new majors that may have better employment prospects.

Whether you’re returning to school or filling out college applications, the changes in financial aid eligibility emphasize how important it is to work hard in high school and earn your diploma.

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Students set positive example for alternative spring breaks

It's that time of year again – students all over the country are setting off to places like Florida and Cancun to blow off some steam during Spring Break. However, some college students are proving that the spring vacation from school can be used to set a good example and help people in need.

For instance, students from Boston University (BU) are planning a series of road trips to lend a hand in communities across the country. The International Rescue Committee and Project Open Hand in Atlanta; Vital Bridges and Pets Are Worth Saving in Chicago; and the Homless and Runaway Street Outreach Center in Iowa are among the organizations that BU students plan to help during their alternative spring break. According to the initiative's official blog, the university has operated the program since 1988.

Students from all over the country are getting involved. Aspiring lawyers at the University of Memphis recently offered their services to local people free of charge, according to The Commercial Appeal.

"I'm excited and I'm intimidated," Erin Coates, a law student, told the news source shortly after meeting her first client. "But mostly, I'm enthusiastic."

The University of Rhode Island recently sent students to Austin, Texas, to volunteer at a local food pantry as part of its Students Actively Volunteering Engaging in Service (SAVES) program. College students moved almost 30,000 pounds of food for the pantry and helped build homes alongside volunteers at the local Habitat for Humanity branch, according to the university's student newspaper, The Cigar.

"It’s been tremendous seeing students get involved in local nonprofit organizations or in areas that are part of their interests," Chelsea Tucker, president of SAVES, told the news source. "They end up having so much fun and learning so much about themselves."

Volunteering can be a great way to spend spring break. If you're interested in helping local communities, ask your admissions adviser if your prospective schools offer these kind of programs when you're doing a college search. Many schools operate general initiatives that allow you to explore different ways to help people, and others might offer specialized programs that align with your personal interests.

Alternatively, if you're already involved in a nonprofit or volunteer organization, this experience can look good on a college application. In your admissions essay, consider mentioning how volunteering has affected you and how you have helped others. 

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Students at Tennessee university get early heads-up on grades

If you thought waiting to hear back after sending out college applications was nerve-wracking, wait until you have to wait for your grades. Now, thanks to the technical skills of the school's provost, students at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee can get a better idea of their grades before they even take their classes, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Tristan Denley developed Degree Compass using the same technology that websites like Netflix and Amazon use to suggest recommendations to users. By analyzing a student's academic record, the system is able to predict how well an individual is likely to perform in specific subjects. In addition to predicting academic performance, Degree Compass can also help students filling out college applications pick a major.

Denley told The Chronicle of Higher Education he hopes the system will help freshmen explore subjects they may not have thought about.

"I don't think the major thrust will be to push people to classes that are sort of easy A's," Denley told the news source. "I hope the major effect will be instead to open students' eyes to courses that they were dimly aware of."

What do you think about this system? Would you base your college application decisions on the predictions of software algorithms? 

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