A mom on Twitter asked me where to start searching for scholarship money. It’s hard to answer that question in 140 characters, but as I was crafting the tweet, I realized there are three basic tips for finding scholarships:
1. Search locally
The best place and the easiest place to find scholarships is to search locally. Not only is it an easy search, but the odds of winning are far greater since there is a much smaller applicant pool. Check with your local librarian for a list of organizations that offer scholarships. Watch the news and read the paper for scholarship award announcements and winners.
2. Ask your high school counselor
Counselors have multiple scholarships come across their desk on a daily basis. You can check the school website as well. But don’t just stop there. Look at other high school websites in your area for scholarship postings.
3. Follow my blog and READ my Scholarship Friday posts
Most every week I provide scholarship search tips and often scholarship awards on my blog. You can also do a search for “scholarships” and find websites that can help you with your scholarship search.
But, don’t stop there. Get on social media! Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are great resources for locating scholarship money.
When my daughter left for college she had just barely turned 18. Not only was she young, but she was attending a college over 2000 miles away from home. I was afraid for her; very afraid. She was entering a world of the unknown: she had no friends, had never spent time away from home, and was going to experience a completely different culture than what she was used to.
Not only was she young and inexperienced, so was I. I did not attend college. I had no idea what to expect. I also had no idea what she would be facing. We both jumped into deep water without a life jacket. I have since then become a seasoned parent and now know what words of advice about college I wish I had told her before she left home.
1. Choose your friends wisely
Most people who attended college will tell you that the friends they made in college stayed with them after graduation. For my daughter, that was true. Your choice of friends will dictate your study habits, your social life and even your future job prospects.
2. Make studying a priority
If you don’t study in college you will fail. College is much more difficult than high school. The reading is extensive, the homework can be overwhelming, and the study requirements can be brutal. Find a study plan that works for you and stick to it. Your good grades will be your reward.
3. Soak up every bit of knowledge
It’s true when they say colleges are institutions of higher learning. But you have to pay attention, be motivated to study, and do the work. The knowledge won’t just soak in, you have to do your part.
4. Don’t waste a moment of your time there
College is a world of opportunity: from social activity, to academic pursuit, to Greek life, to on-campus sports, plays, and concerts. Sitting in your dorm room after your classes and studying are done for the day is just wasting the time you spend there. Get involved, meet new people, and take advantage of all the free opportunities on campus.
5. Leave the past behind
Your friends (and boyfriend or girlfriend) back home will often bring you down. My daughter learned this after the first month of college. They begged her to leave college and come home. Even though attending this college was her dream, she had not moved on. It took some very tough love to keep her in school. She thanks me every day that I stood firm.
6. Start planning for graduation the day you set foot on campus
Four years will pass quickly. Inquire about internships, make connections with alumni, and visit the career center. Most students don’t even start thinking about jobs after graduation until senior year. When graduation day arrives, you will be prepared for a career.
7. Handle roommate issues immediately
Passive/aggressive behavior will make your life miserable. When you recognize a problem, address it. Much of the angst my daughter experienced with roommates could have been avoided if she had simply had a conversation. For the worst problems, go to the RA for mediation.
8. Drink responsibly and always be aware of the consequences of your actions
Every college is a party school. From the day my daughter stepped foot on campus she was offered alcohol. Yes, it was illegal. Yes, the administration frowned on it. But the reality is there will always be drinking on campus. Excessive drinking can cause all sorts of regrettable behavior. Always be aware of the consequences of your actions.
9. Get to know your professors
Your professors are key players in your college success. Establish relationships with them and cultivate them. You might need them for tutoring help, and you will definitely need them for job connections after graduation.
10. Enjoy every moment; those memories are priceless
The memories my daughter made in college are some of her most treasured memories. Her sorority sisters, her study abroad experiences, her trips with friends, and some of her most admired professors and mentors live in those memories. She still, to this day, after almost 10 years, talks about her college experiences with the greatest joy.
Entering middle school is a huge transition for students. They go from one classroom to multiple classrooms, lockers, multiple teachers, and more homework. The summer before your student begins middle school is the perfect time to begin preparation for the future. Although it might seem premature to start thinking about college, it’s never too early. Your child needs a strong middle school foundation in order to take the high school courses that colleges expect of a college-bound student.
A national survey by Harris Interactive found that while 92% of seventh- and eighth-graders said they were likely to attend college, 68% said they had little or no information about which classes to take to prepare for it. The National Association for College Admission Counseling emphasizes that parents should begin planning for college in middle school.
Here are 10 tips to jumpstart the middle school transition:
1. Broach the subject of college
By no means is it the time to push for Harvard or Yale, or any other specific college. But it is important to discuss goals, interests, and career aspirations. Once you start the discussion, it will make it easier to see how these interests can translate into a college and career plan.
2. Amp up your involvement in the school
Once your child has moved past grade school, parents often see this as a time to become less involved. However, this is the time your student needs your encouragement and guidance. He will be making decisions about course selection, struggling with academics, and searching for electives and extracurricular activities that will require your input. Ask the counselor to evaluate your student’s school test scores and identify any areas of weakness that might require extra tutoring. Be involved and be vocal when necessary.
3. Be prepared for course selection
The courses your student takes in middle school will prepare him for high school. Make sure he takes math and science courses that prepare him for advanced courses in high school. In addition, he should take English every year, as many history classes as possible, any computer courses that are offered, and foreign language electives. If your student is interested in music, sports, or art, middle school is the time to explore those interests. In order to take the advanced course in high school that colleges require, he should prepare for those in middle school.
4. Create a plan to pay for college
Don’t wait until the college offers of admission arrive to think about how you’re going to pay for it. Do your homework and start aggressively saving if possible. There are also other ways to fund college like scholarships, taking AP classes, dual credit classes at a community college, and taking summer courses for college credit. Begin researching all these options and take advantage of all of them; but in order to do it, your student must be prepared.
5. Encourage reading
Reading is the best preparation for standardized testing and high school reading assignments. Reading also improves vocabulary and writing skills. You can make this a family goal by reading the same book and having a discussion or adding vocabulary words to the family dinner discussion.
6. Make a study plan
You student will need good time management and study skills to succeed in high school and college. Middle school is the perfect environment to focus on good study habits. Set up a study space, agree on a study schedule, and provide the necessary study materials before school begins. Discuss how important it is to get help if needed and encourage him to let you know if he’s struggling so you can help him get tutoring if needed.
7. Explore extracurriculars
Middle school is the perfect time to start exploring extracurriculars. Once your student finds one that interests him, he can carry it on into high school. Colleges look for consistency in this area and if the student finds his interest in middle school, he can begin his high school years focused and committed to that one activity.
8. Plan some nearby college visits
It’s never too early to visit colleges. Schedule some nearby college visits. It can be a family affair; even a mini-vacation. Early college visits will help your student get accustomed to the college environment and a feel for what college life is like.
9. Look at high school programs
Investigate the programs at the high school or schools your student might attend. Do they offer AP classes, honors classes, or college prep courses? Are there opportunities for creative options like art and music? Does the school have a strong college network of counselors and advisors? These questions can guide you as you prepare for the next step—high school.
10. Start the organization process
Create a filing system for all future college-related information. There will be scholarship applications, college information, school calendars, and more. Set up a landing zone and a filing cabinet to keep all these documents organized.
It’s time to begin your homework to make college affordable for your student and your family. Apart from the obvious of financial planning, you should research all the nuances of college admissions—standardized testing, financial aid, college visits, college searches, academics and extracurriculars. It takes time to research and consider all your options. The days of waiting until senior year of high school are over.
Entering a new school is hard enough, but add on the difficulties that come with being a teenage girl and starting high school begins to feel truly daunting. While family, friends, and school counselors can offer much needed support, there are also some great online tools that can help young girls cope with the transition from middle school to high school. Here are two websites that every girl can rely on during her pivotal teen years:
Although there is no perfect guidebook for dealing with the complexities and challenges of being a teenager, the online publication Rookie Mag offers a tremendous amount of useful and fun information for girls. Rookie’s numerous post topics cover everything from combating insecurity, to dealing with friendship drama, to music recommendations, to DIY craft guides. The site’s eclectic writing and editorial team features females of varying ages and backgrounds, which helps make it an incredibly inclusive and comprehensive magazine. All teen girls can benefit from the candor and positive advice found on Rookie Mag.
PBS Digital Studios
While magazines like Rookie can help girls cope with the social and emotional problems they may face during high school, other online resources can help foster their intellect. One such tool is PBS Digital Studios, an educational program consisting of several different video blogs. For teens having a hard time relating to certain teachers or staying focused in class, the hosts of PBS digital shorts make learning entertaining with their funny and informative videos that cover various topics like nature, history, and pop culture. It is an especially wonderful resource for girls interested in subjects stereotypically considered more popular with boys, like science or video games. PBS Digital Studios is a virtual place where teenage girls can access news and facts that may not reach them in their actual classrooms. The series encourages all viewers to geek out and get nerdy about learning, regardless of their gender or age.
While some adults may lament on how today’s youth spend too much time online, the Internet does give teens access to some wonderfully engaging and intellectually stimulating resources. For teenage girls, certain websites and blogs can offer inviting and safe spaces for them to explore topics that either feel closed off to them or uncomfortable to talk about in real life. Virtual tools like Rookie Mag and PBS Digital Studios can help female students avoid feeling overwhelmed or isolated from the social, emotional, and intellectual demands of high school.
Javaher Nooryani is a writer based in Denver, CO. She has a BA in American Literature & Culture from UCLA and a Masters in English & American Literature from NYU. As a former tutor, Javaher is passionate about higher education and is glad to share her knowledge on CollegeFocus, a website that helps students deal with the challenges of college.
Communication is an important part of a person’s daily life. While there are many ways people communicate with each other, verbal communication is the most prevalent means of conveying needs and wants. For people with communicative disorders such as speech problems and hearing loss, giving and receiving basic information can be a challenge. These individuals need the assistance of trained professionals to provide them with tools and resources to help them navigate their daily lives as easily as possible.
A career in the communicative field can be incredibly rewarding. If you’re considering this career path, here are a few examples of jobs you can apply a communicative disorders degree towards.
A speech therapist, also called a speech-language pathologist, diagnoses, treats, and works toward preventing communicative disorders. These disorders may or may not be related to the following factors:
- Cognitive communication
As a speech-language pathologist (SLP), you may work with individuals who cannot produce sounds or do not produce sounds in a clear manner. Examples of voice disorders include stuttering, inappropriate pitch, and rhythm difficulties.
Many different organizations hire speech therapists such as schools, private businesses, and therapeutic groups. Whether you work for an organization directly or have a private practice, this particular area of the communicative disorders field has plenty of opportunity for career growth. Keep in mind that a master’s degree is almost always a requirement for most positions in this field.
A career working with deaf or hard-of-hearing students is rewarding on many levels. Did you know that according to the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), 1 in 5 Americans have some hearing loss in one ear? Also, 3 out of every 1,000 children born in the United States are born hard of hearing or deaf.
Do these statistics shock you? Do they make you wonder what it is like for people who, on a daily basis, struggle to communicate with their peers and family members? If so, you may want to consider a career in deaf education. Here are just a few of the many jobs that are directly related to individuals experiencing hearing loss:
- Sign language interpreter
- Social worker
- Child care worker
- Employment counseling
As you can see, the types of jobs that appeal to people interested in deaf education are varied. Some jobs provide direct service to individuals with hearing loss while other jobs may focus on educating hearing people about the struggles that their non-hearing counterparts face. These particular jobs focus on finding solutions to make it easier for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals to function in a hearing world.
The audiology professional is continuously growing and has many career opportunities. One of the reasons for the increased need for professionals in this industry is the growing geriatric population. Baby boomers are entering the later stages of their lives and with this comes hearing loss that can make communication difficult.
Audiologists strive to improve the quality of life for their patients and take on many different roles. Some audiologists provide rehabilitation services while others monitor and prevent hearing loss. Places that hire audiologists include the following:
- Private, medical practices
- Public health services
- Long-term care facilities
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Public and private schools (educational audiology)
- Health insurance providers
- Research facilities
- And more!
For a successful and lucrative career in the audiology field, you’ll need to complete as many as 8 years of schooling. The field is slowly transitioning into a doctoring-level profession, which includes an additional year of internship study.
To learn more about the opportunities in the communicative field, work closely with your counselor to find an educational path that will help you fulfill your career goals.
Heather Jensen is an Audiologist and Clinical Assistant Professor for Utah state University. She received her Doctorate of Audiology from Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2004. She has been an adviser for the student academy of audiology organization at USU for 11 years. Before coming to USU, she owned her own private practice, but decided she wanted to give back to the field of audiology by teaching students. When she’s not working she spends time with her four children, she also enjoys doing hearing related humanitarian missions.
When you were young, school didn’t seem like somewhere a person would choose to work. For the few who defy their younger selves by venturing back into the halls of learning in adulthood to help educate a new generation, a deeply rewarding and well-regarded career awaits. Here’s a few things that make an educational company great to work for.
1. A culture of positivity and purpose
School are now, more than they’ve ever been, a place of purpose and positivity. This is reinforced through every layer of the establishment, from faculty to the student body. Great educational institutions will place a huge premium on both the distribution of knowledge and generation of a positive atmosphere for all on campus. Places like these make every part of the school a much more pleasant place to work.
2. Growth opportunities abound
Many companies have a big focus on growth opportunities for long-term employees but that doesn’t always mean sticking to a traditional career path. Depending on the way the school apportions their budgets and manages their facilities, you may find that while your position does not change much over time, evolving technology, training and equipment may allow you to be much more effective at your job.
3. The opportunity to work with people you respect and admire
As an educator, being surrounded by like-minded people who hold a similar set of values to your own is one of the best parts of working at an educational institution. It allows you to network, hear different opinions and explore new areas of thought and study. You’re able to learn from people whose work you respect and literally train with the best. Institutions such as Evocca College place a large emphasis on providing a high degree of training and support for their educators – you can find out more information here.
4. You face new academic challenges daily
Problem solvers make great teachers and educators. Becoming an educator is an excellent career for those who like to be challenged by their profession. Figuring things out, cracking codes, making important breakthroughs – it’s something we as a species thrive on and nowhere is this itch better scratched than when working in the educational sector.
5. You get to make a difference
One of the very best parts of the job is knowing that you’ve helped shape a new generation of people, hopefully for the better. You’ve provided them with all the tools they need to not only survive in a hostile world but to make it better. You’ve managed to truly touch or even change lives with the knowledge you had to give and that is the kind of reward that’s not easy to come by in any other profession.
A great company is somewhere that allows you to do amazing things and enjoy yourself alongside like-minded people who desire the same things. That’s what you get when you go to work for an educational company, and it’s why they’re pretty great to work for.
As our students get ready for college, what types of insurance do they need? In addition to health insurance, which is mandatory, consider these options:
Whether your student lives on or off campus, it’s wise to protect him against theft, and this type of insurance costs relatively little, often under $200 for a year’s coverage. If your student lives in a campus residence hall, your homeowners or renters insurance policy may extend to cover his belongings. Most policies limit a student’s coverage to 10% of the parent’s coverage. In other words, if your homeowners policy has a personal property limit of $300,000, your student’s belongings are covered up to $30,000, after the deductible. Consider talking with an insurance representative to better understand the coverage available specific to your student’s living situation.
Most colleges require that students carry health insurance, and college students are subject to the “individual coverage mandate” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What are your options for making sure your student continues to be well covered for preventive care, major illnesses, and in case of emergencies?
Your current health insurance
The ACA allows your student to stay on your healthcare plan until the age of 26 even if she has a pre-existing condition. This may be the best option for your student’s health insurance needs. It can save time and money during the college years and also during those first few post-college years as she is getting situated financially.
Be aware that different states have different laws regarding coverage requirements. If your student attends school in another state, before being allowed to waive the student health insurance plan offered by the college, you may need to provide proof that your insurance will cover your out-of-area student at an acceptable level. Start this process early in the summer so that the paperwork is ready in time for fall registration.
I saw an article come across my Twitter and Facebook feeds last week that stopped me in my tracks: Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out. The subheading: Recent studies suggests that kids with overinvolved parents and rigidly structured childhoods suffer psychological blowback in college. As you can imagine, I had to read more. Why was this happening? What does the data show? How can parents prevent these negative outcomes?
Why is this happening?
We live in a very different world. Our concerns for safety cause us to give in to overprotection, even when it’s not necessary. The competition for college admission has become more than a rite of passage; it’s become a race to see whose child gets into what college and who has bragging rights. We have the best of intentions–wanting the best for our children; but those intentions have snowballed into overparenting our teenagers and harming them emotionally.
In 2013, Charlie Gofen, the retired chairman of the board at the Latin School of Chicago, a private school serving about 1,100 students, emailed the statistics off to a colleague at another school and asked, “Do you think parents at your school would rather their kid be depressed at Yale or happy at University of Arizona?” The colleague quickly replied, “My guess is 75 percent of the parents would rather see their kids depressed at Yale. They figure that the kid can straighten the emotional stuff out in his/her 20’s, but no one can go back and get the Yale undergrad degree.”
Can this be true? Are parents willing to risk their child’s emotional health for a college degree?
In my years as dean, I heard plenty of stories from college students who believed they had to study science (or medicine, or engineering), just as they’d had to play piano, and do community service for Africa, and, and, and. I talked with kids completely uninterested in the items on their own résumés. Some shrugged off any right to be bothered by their own lack of interest in what they were working on, saying, “My parents know what’s best for me.”
What does the data show?
In 2010 a psychology professor of Keene State College in New Hampshire surveyed 300 college freshmen nationwide. In 2011 the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga surveyed 300 students. In addition, there was in 2013, a survey of college counseling center directors and a survey by The American College Health Association. In 2014, the University of Colorado conducted their own survey.
The data confirms that overparenting our teenagers has taken its toll on their mental health and ability to function as independent adults. When parents do everything for their children, it’s a shock when they enter the real world of college and have to fend for themselves and walk their own path.
How can parents prevent these negative outcomes?
Take a step back and let your student figure out things for themselves. Let them problem solve, self-advocate, and make their own decisions before leaving for college. Give them space to grow and expect them to be accountable for their actions–don’t bail them out of consequences.
Madeline Leving, psychologist and author of The Price of Privilege wraps it all up nicely:
When children aren’t given the space to struggle through things on their own, they don’t learn to problem solve very well. They don’t learn to be confident in their own abilities, and it can affect their self-esteem. The other problem with never having to struggle is that you never experience failure and can develop an overwhelming fear of failure and of disappointing others. Both the low self-confidence and the fear of failure can lead to depression or anxiety.
Your student’s junior year will begin in the fall. It’s time for you and your teen to sit down and evaluate goals to make sure you are on-track for the college application process. As you go back through all the grades, papers, awards and accomplishments you will be able to see your teen’s progress and that progress will encourage them to keep focused and keep their eye on the prize: graduation and college acceptance.
1. The Junior Year GPA
If your teen has been working hard, their GPA should show it. College admissions counselors will be looking hard at their GPA from their junior year. It’s an important year to show them that the grades are at the least consistent, and at the best rising from the previous year. Falling grades are an indicator of lack of focus and could hurt them down the road when their application is reviewed. This is a good time to schedule a meeting with your high school guidance counselor and discuss your teen’s progress, and verify that their courses are on-track for graduation and for the colleges under consideration.
2. Take the PSAT
This is the all-important PSAT year. Even if your teen took it last year as practice (and hopefully they did) they need to register again, because this is when it counts. This is the year that their scores will qualify them for the National Merit Scholarship program and scholarships. Follow the calendar deadlines and register EARLY. If they took the test last year review the answers that they missed and make sure they know why they missed it and take some time to study the correct answers.
3. Take SAT and ACT practice tests
Register for the SAT or ACT and spend this year doing some practice tests online and studying vocabulary. Cramming rarely helps, but studying over a period of time and preparation will help them approach the test with confidence and the knowledge they need to test well.
4. Preparing for the Essay
Research some college applications and look at the essay topics. Encourage your teen to start thinking about the essay and drafting some preliminary essays. The college essay can often push the admissions officer over the acceptance edge if it’s done well and is unique. Look through the past essays they have written in high school and see if any could be adapted for the college essay. The worst thing your teen can do is submit a misspelled, grammatically incorrect essay as part of their college application. Early preparation will assure time for proofing and re-writes.
5. Time for some college fairs and college visits
Junior year is a perfect time to begin attending those college fairs and visiting college campuses. Many schools allow for excused college visit days. Check with your high school registrar for specifics, because you might have to complete forms to get the absences excused. Collect business cards and contact information and keep track of them using a database program. These contacts will help later if you have a question regarding a specific school or need a personal contact during the admissions process.
6. Intensify the Scholarship Search
Junior year is the time to “hunker down” and get serious about those scholarship applications. As you get closer to senior year, you’ll find that many are age and grade specific. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll have a concise catalog of those scholarships ready for your application. If not, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time to do some research and jump on the scholarship bandwagon. Remember that every scholarship you receive, no matter how small, is FREE money that you don’t have to pay back. Don’t forget to investigate private scholarships and school-specific scholarships to assure you apply by the specific deadlines.
7. Preparing for the FAFSA
The junior calendar year will be the year that the FAFSA will utilize your income tax records to determine your family’s Expected Family Contribution. If there is anything your tax advisor or accountant has told you to do regarding the way colleges view your financial status, this is the year to follow those recommendations. If you own a business, you will want to make sure all your records are in order if any of the colleges require completion of the CSS Profile.
8. Review your high school progress
Look at the past two years to see if there are any gaps in your teen’s resume. Have your teen answer these questions:
- Do you need to do some volunteer work?
- Are you involved in some type of leadership capacity in at least one activity?
- Do your courses and grades show their college level success?
- Have you established a relationship with a member of the faculty and with your high school guidance counselor?
- Are your extracurricular activities “all over the place” or are they focused?
It’s not too late to remedy any of these situations. Your teen still has time during their junior year to get involved, volunteer, get to know their teachers/counselor, and exhibit leadership.
9. Begin refining the college list
It’s time to get serious about the college list. This list will dictate your college visits during junior year and be the guidebook for all your research and financial questions. Do the research, gather all the data, and narrow the list down as your student approaches the end of their junior year.
10. Don’t overparent
If you feel yourself pushing or nagging, take a step back. Don’t fall into the “competition” trap that will begin when school starts. Parents will begin to brag and you might find yourself falling into that admissions game. Don’t do it. Your student needs to find the place that’s right for him, not the place that gives you the greatest bragging rights. Help him find that college and support his decision.