Posts Tagged ‘college application’
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.
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.
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?
For some students, filling out college applications, balancing work and studies and successfully completing their degrees can be a substantial accomplishment. However, depending on a student's major, the search for work in their field can be even more challenging. To help current students make connections, some former alumni of Reed College have pledged to assist them by offering advice and networking opportunities, reports Inside Higher Ed.
The Reed Alumni Switchboard was created by former Reed students to help their younger counterparts find jobs in competitive industries such as television. As part of the initiative, every time a Reed student reaches out for help, alumni donate $40 to the school. Although this may not seem like much, it could make a difference in the long run.
Sonya Masinovsky, a psychology graduate, went on to found a nonprofit organization after she left Reed, in addition to working on the hit TV show Lost. She said that connections like the ones forged through the Switchboard could be invaluable to recent graduates.
"The possession of an alumni referral is a big one," Masinovsky told the news source. "If a Reedie comes to me looking for an internship, I’m going to want to hire them. We have a common background and work ethic."
Networking can be a vital part of the academic experience for today's students, no matter what school they attend. According to the Burlington Free Press, many students filling out college applications are placing more emphasis on the value of forging professional relationships with alumni. David Bradbury, president of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, told the newspaper that alumni are more than just former students – they are often employers and social connections who can provide individuals with access to internships, career advice and referrals to other professionals.
Liberal arts colleges are excellent places for students to take advantage of alumni networking opportunities. In a recent article for The Huffington Post, Christopher Nelson, president of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, wrote that the smaller class sizes and close-knit communities often observed at liberal arts schools were an ideal way for students to form bonds with alumni, something that could be tremendously beneficial in a competitive job market.
If you're considering filling out a college application for a liberal arts school, ask your college admissions adviser about alumni networking programs offered by your prospective schools. These groups might just help you make valuable connections with future colleagues, employers and mentors.
Many young people who fill out college applications also want to change the world for the better. To recognize the ways that schools around the country are making a difference in their communities, the Department of Education has presented five schools with a Presidential Award for their efforts.
The Presidential Award of the 2012 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is the highest honor a college can be given for community outreach efforts. The recipients of this year's awards were Carson-Newman College, Miami University, North Carolina State University, Seattle University and the University of Pennsylvania. The schools were chosen for the efforts of their students and faculty in helping communities in need, such as following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"We applaud the honor roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom," Robert Velasco, acting chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), said in a statement. "Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities."
When you're doing a college search, talk to your admissions adviser about volunteer opportunities on campus. Many schools are actively involved in improving the lives of people in their communities.
Although it's not the only thing you should think about during a college search, the graduation rates of your prospective schools do matter. To provide students with more information on the completion rates of schools across the country, The Chronicle of Higher Education recently launched a new website.
The Chronicle compiled data from students beginning their studies in 2004. Information on how many students graduated on time is available for more than 3,800 public universities, community colleges, and private and for-profit schools. Colleges with notable graduation rates, such as Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, are profiled, as are schools with lower completion rates.
Many states are taking improvement of college graduation rates seriously. According to KENS 5 News, some experts say that how selective colleges are can make graduation data appear skewed.
"If we stick to graduation rates, public universities are always going to look less successful than private and elite institutions, because the surest way to assure high graduation rates is to increase selectivity," Diana Natalicio, president of the University of Texas-El Paso, told the news source.
If you're filling out college applications, make sure to consider all aspects of a prospective school, not just the graduation rate. Although it's certainly important, there are other factors you should think about, including tuition fees and financial aid opportunities.
According to two studies by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University cited by The Washington Post, many students could achieve the same academic results at community colleges by skipping prerequisite remedial classes.
These courses at community colleges cause some students to become bored and frustrated, which experts say can lead to individuals dropping out. The news source reports that three in five students attending community colleges are required to take some remedial classes, and that 75 percent of these individuals never graduate.
"We hear a lot about the high rates of failure in college-level classes at community colleges," Judith Scott-Clayton, author of one of the studies, said in a statement. "Those are very visible. What’s harder to see are the students who could have done well at college level but never got the chance because of these placement tests."
Community colleges can be great places to learn new practical skills and explore different majors. If you're thinking of filling out a college application for a two-year school, don't forget to think about how remedial classes could affect how long it will take you to graduate.
The process of applying for financial aid can be confusing. With so many deadlines and forms to submit, students filling out college applications can often get overwhelmed. However, applying for student loans, grants and scholarships is one of the most important parts of the entire college application process. Here are five things to think about when you're considering applying for financial aid.
• Figure out exactly how much your degree will cost: Don't leave anything to chance when it comes to financing your education. Before you submit any college application or financial aid paperwork, you should know exactly how much you'll need to pay to earn your degree. Tuition isn't the only expense you should take into account – don't forget to factor in other things like course materials and room and board if you're planning to live on campus. Know exactly what you're getting into before you start.
• Know your definitions: One of the most confusing things about financial aid paperwork is knowing what the specific terms mean. You'll probably encounter phrases such as the "cost of attending" (CoA), which is the full estimated cost of one year of school. The "family contribution" (FC) is how much your family will be expected to contribute toward the cost of your education, based on data provided in the FAFSA. "Need" is the difference between the CoA and the FC.
• Not all financial aid forms are created equal: Although they may look similar, financial aid forms can be very different. For example, the FAFSA may ask for some information that a university's own application form might not. Financial aid paperwork can also vary from one state to another, and this can be especially confusing if you're filling out college applications for several schools in different parts of the country.
• Deadlines are very important: If there's one form you don't want to submit late, it's your financial aid paperwork. Sending in an application after a deadline can affect how much money you'll receive, and some agencies won't disperse any money if they don't receive your application on time. Get the forms filled out as soon as possible.
• Everyone should apply: Even if your family is paying for most, or all, of your education, you may not be aware of merit-based financial aid packages such as scholarships unless you submit an application. If you don't need student loans, you don't have to accept them – but you might miss out on a scholarship if you don't apply.
Increasing numbers of students are looking at community colleges as a way to earn a degree, explore new majors and learn new skills. Is a two-year school right for you?
According to an article in the Huffington Post, a lot of high school seniors choose to enroll in community colleges to help bridge the gap between high school and college without having to move far away or risk enrolling in a degree program they may not be interested in.
"I didn’t feel prepared to take college full-on right out of high school, so community college was a great way to ease into the experience," Kelsey Walid, a junior at The College of William and Mary who transferred from Tidewater Community College, told the news source. "It helped save a lot of money and was a great way to get all of my general education requirements out of the way."
According to The Boston Herald, Vice President Joe Biden said community colleges are vital to the American economy, and praised partnerships between two-year schools and manufacturers across the country that are creating jobs.
If you're thinking about filling out a college application for a community college, ask the admissions officers about the job prospects of your major before committing to any decisions.
Academic leaders at the California State University (CSU) System have agreed to introduce a range of digital textbooks at a discounted rate through a partnership with Cengage Learning.
More than 5,000 of the most popular titles will be available as part of the digital textbook rental program. Officials hope the plan will make course materials more accessible and less expensive for students. As well as being more convenient, individuals renting textbooks through the initiative could save as much as 60 percent of the price of the print publication.
"This program will ease the financial burden on students by providing access to quality online materials that are priced significantly lower than traditional textbooks," Gerry Hanley, senior director of CSU Academic Technology Services, said in a statement.
Reuters reports that according to a Kelton Research study, more than 70 percent of college students want textbooks to be made available through web-based learning platforms, and 62 percent said they would study more often if they had access to digital versions of their texts.
What do you think of digital textbooks? If a school used more technology, would you be more likely to fill out a college application for that institution?
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