I paid for my entire education with scholarship money. Because I work with families across the nation about college admissions and financial aid, I’m often asked whether it was my standardized test scores or GPA that led me to win so much money. The answer is neither. In fact, what shocks many people is that the ingredients for scholarship success has little (if anything) to do with what happens in the classroom. Here are a three common myths that often dominate conversations about scholarships: Myth #1: Scholarships are so competitive.
Original article published May 26, 2013 on momentum. It’s been almost a year since I graduated from college. I had an incredible four years at the University of Chicago and learned more than I ever anticipated. Now that it’s in the past, I wonder: What do I wish I knew before entering college that I know now? Here’s the advice I’d have shared with my 18-year-old self: Master the art of asking great questions. Questions are the driving force of learning. The faster you optimize your ability to learn, the faster you’ll get where you want to go.
Learning an additional language is a lot like learning how to paint with colors after a lifetime of using grayscale. I took Spanish and French in high school, and then Russian at university. Each one has helped me re-experience a world that was only ever monolingual. When I was given the opportunity to practice my Spanish skills, I took it. That opportunity was going to Mexico. Although I had just graduated from college and had several years’ worth of studying the language, I still only spoke Spanish like a grade-schooler. Being humbled was the best learning experience of my life. It was as if I was given a second chance to learn how to walk and talk.
This article is part of a counterpoint series between Keith Kaplan of BookRenter.com and Matt Gagnon of the BetterGrads social media team. This is Matt’s response to Keith’s article about the benefits of renting college textbooks. Everyone knows college textbooks are expensive. During my four years in college, I spent hundreds of dollars per quarter. That really adds up with three quarters per year for four whole years. There are a variety of alternatives to buying books from your school’s campus bookstore, and renting books is generally very affordable. But… before you rent all of your textbooks, here are some things to consider:
This article is part of a counterpoint series between Keith Kaplan of BookRenter.com and Matt Gagnon of the BetterGrads social media team. Check back for Matt’s response to Keith’s support for renting college textbooks! When it comes time to buy textbooks for your class, we all know it can empty your wallet. Every year when I start classes it always seems like I’m throwing a few hundred dollars in one click of a button. I’ve always thought: Why buy a textbook for $200+ when you’re probably going to return it at the end of the semester for less than half the price? Most times, bookstores and online stores won’t buy back a book because it’s an outdated edition. How do we stop this phenomenon? Well, you may have heard of textbook rentals. Within the past few years, textbook rentals have sky rocketed. Instead of buying your textbooks, you rent and [...]
A few weeks ago, Annemarie wrote about some tips for visiting colleges during the summer. After you’ve decided where you go to school, figuring out how to get there and get around becomes much more of an issue. Transportation is an inevitable cost in college – whether it’s the cost of getting to and from college every semester, or the cost of getting to and from classes, it can all add up pretty quickly. There are smarter ways to travel that will put a lighter load on your bank account, as well as the environment! Planning is the name of the game – getting your trips on the calendar now will put you in a better position to reduce your transportation costs. University academic calendars are key! (They’re usually accessible through a link on the school’s homepage). A travel budget will include expected costs of flights, gas and other transportation, like subways [...]
You’ve probably heard rumors about the school I attended. The school named the “Top Party School” in the U.S. by Playboy in 2002 and remains in the top 10. The school that had a sex scandal involving the student body vice president. The school that’s easy driving distance to both Las Vegas and Rocky Point, Mexico. Arizona State University. I wasn’t a partier in high school, yet I ended up at an infamous party school. Before starting, I got a lot of “Hey, isn’t that a huge party school?” from friends and family. After classes began, it didn’t change much. My answer then (and still is): “Any college can be a party school. You make it what it is.” Sure, at ASU you could find a frat party pretty much any night of the week. The bar scene on Mill Avenue and further north in Old Town Scottsdale is a [...]
When I decided to first go abroad, I was 17 years old and entering my freshman year of college. I walked right over to the student activities fair on the quad at Syracuse University and picked up two study abroad pamphlets from the table: Florence and London. The idea of leaving the U.S. for the first time and traveling the land across the pond was so exciting and imminent on that first day of classes. Fast forward to junior year, and I never made it to that study abroad experience. I stayed on campus to become a resident advisor, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although the idea to travel never left my mind as friends went off to have their adventures. Like many college graduates, I left campus and moved on and into New York City for my first job working at a talent [...]
The anticipation of college brings all sorts of questions. How do I pay for it? What are the dorms like? How hard do you have to study? What major should I pick? What was (is) your biggest questions about college? We want to hear about the one thing that kept you up at night before heading to college and how you found (or didn’t find) the answer. We’ll publish your stories for this special series throughout the summer, so start writing now! To submit an article, fill out the BetterGrads submission form, or start the editorial process by sending an e-mail to: Lisa.Rau@BetterGrads.org. If you’re interested in contributing to the blog on a regular basis, please indicate that in your message. Check out our submission guidelines here. Wanna contribute, but not for the blog? Facebook: Answer quick questions on our Facebook page, and see what other people are saying. High schoolers, college students [...]
Scholarships are about as numerous as students themselves, and that’s why we’ve been curating a series of personal stories about the scholarship experience: searching, applying, deciding and of course… winning. What we learned is that oftentimes, scholarship recipients didn’t think they’d win — for a number of reasons! Financially, extra-curricular-wise or simply because they felt they were too average. And many of them were happy to have been wrong. As one writer put it: My parents believed in me, but with all the other people applying, I did not think that I was going to win any. Here are some highlights from the BetterGrads “College 101 Blog” Scholarship Stories special series: Study Abroad Awards Be persistent in seeking out the right resources, explore how you can enhance your learning internationally, and start turning your dreams into reality. I promise: you will be glad you did. Sam Lim Fulbright Scholar Berlin, Germany A [...]