Helpful Resources and Ideas for Students

Best Scholarship Options for Students

The price of post secondary education can be steep, yet as an investment in yourself and your future it becomes a necessary expense. Numerous full or partial scholarship options are available to students in the United States. The best scholarship options for students are those that cater to their individuality, background and unique strengths and interests. When you research your scholarship options, the best strategy is to cast your net very wide.

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Once you have submitted applications to the standard avenues of funding such as the schools that you are applying to attend and Federal Student Aid, seek further potential funding opportunities from all areas of your life. Full or partial scholarships exist in any number of outside agencies, including your employer or your parents’ employers or unions, professional organizations, special interest groups, ethnic organizations, language organizations, private foundations, clubs, personal affiliations such as churches and state resident scholarships to name just a few.

Before you begin to research your best scholarship options, take the time to list all of the potential funding avenues you might be eligible to approach. List all of your current and former affiliations, including your church, youth groups, high school clubs or interests. For example, if you are a member of Junior Achievement, you may be eligible for the Joe Francomano Scholarship. This annual $5,000 award is offered by Junior Achievement in memory of a former president, Joseph Francomano. The Joe Francomano Scholarship can be renewed each year for a maximum of four years, and you can use it at any university with proper accreditation.

Any four-year college degree is eligible, provided that your studies end with a Bachelor’s degree. Also consider any clubs or affiliations that your parents might belong to as a source of potential scholarships, such as the Lions Club or the Masons. The Masons of California for example operate an annual scholarship program through the California Masonic Foundation. These awards last for four years and range from $6000 to $40,000 per student.

One of the best scholarship options for low income students is the Federal Pell Grant. This scholarship is geared toward students whose total family income does not exceed $50,000, although most Pell grant money is allotted to students whose total family income rests below $20,000. The maximum amount awarded each year is $5,550. It is important to apply for a Pell grant through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as once you are deemed eligible for a Pell Grant, most other federal grant programs become available to you.

If you have been active in sports during high school, consider athletic scholarships from outside agencies such as Athletes USA in addition to sports scholarships from your intended university. The NCAA offers the most advertised scholarships, thus competition for these awards remains fierce. However smaller athletic organizations such as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the National Junior College Athletic Association also offer full and partial scholarships to student athletes and since these funding bodies are not as well known, competition tends to be much less intense.

Many states offer scholarships in the form of tuition assistance for full time students, and several states also offer aid to students who have been accepted into graduate studies in other states. For example, Columbia University offers the George W. Ellis Fellowship, a scholarship available to graduate students who were originally residents of Vermont, as well as those who have graduated from an accredited college or university located in Vermont.

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If you are in your second year of college and need funding to complete your studies, you may be eligible for a SMART grant, providing you are studying the physical sciences, computer science, life sciences, math, engineering or computer technology in college and are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. SMART stands for National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent. Eligible students need to have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and they can receive up to $4,000 through the SMART program for each of the third and fourth years remaining in their field of undergraduate study.

Another scholarship option available for students exists through the ThanksUSA program, a charitable organization that provides need-based college scholarships for the dependent children and spouses of United States military personnel. If one or both of your parents are current military personnel, or have served a minimum of 180 days since 9/11, you may be eligible for a $3000 scholarship.

When researching your best scholarship options for college, think big. Open your mind to the myriad possibilities and permutations that exist. Above all, remember that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Education always pays full dividends, so invest in your education and you will reap the benefits for years to come.

Best Software Solutions, Which Help With Your Classes

When you are a student it is normal to feel overwhelmed at times by the sheer volume of work you have to do, especially when you are going to school full time. For those students who work part time as well as attend classes, the pressure can seem intense. Many different types of software and applications exist to help students navigate their way through their numerous responsibilities. The best software solutions help you get organized, get all of your work done on time, and make sure that you get the best marks possible.

Many software companies offer significant discounts to students, so it is best to purchase as much software as you can while in school to take advantage of the low prices. Many applications are also of course available for free download on the Internet.
One of the most important tools that a student needs is an organizer. iProcrastinate is a useful application designed to help students, entrepreneurs, self-employed artists and businessmen who require help keeping track of vital projects, key deadline and class assignments. iProcrastinate uses the newest Mac OS X technologies and the program is largely free of bugs. iProcrastinate is also a very quick application that can help you keep track of all the requirements from all of your classes in one place.

Probably the second most important piece of software that every student needs is a dependable alarm. Awaken is an alarm clock, egg timer, and sleep timer that students can use to make sure they get up on time, as well as to time their assignments and in some cases time their naps. Awaken contains multiple interfaces, including the clock view which displays the current date, the current time and provides a countdown to the next alarm.

Awaken can be switch to a full screen mode also which allows you to see the time at a distance. Awaken can be programmed so that you can wake up to your own play list or other sounds that you program. Awaken also has a sorting and labeling function that supports multiple alarms, a snooze alarm that you can customize, and the very handy ability to launch multiple applications when the alarm goes off. Awaken also allows students to program their own snooze control and program one-time alarms, weekly alarms, and alarms that go off on a certain date.

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OmniGraffle is a software that helps students create diagrams, graphic designs, process charts, fast page layouts, website wireframe and other graphic documents. Omnigraffle keeps graphic lines connected to objects even when they are displaced within the document, and includes robust styling tools. Omnigraffle can import and export Microsoft Visio files and organizes diagrams effortlessly. just one click. Omnigraffle is a quick application that adds impressive design qualities to your assignments and gives them a professional, creative look.

HandBrake is a popular open source program intended to transfer MPEG video – m including DVD video files – into MPEG-4 video files. Handbrake allows DVDs and other media files to be converted into formats that can be read by and viewed on mobile devices as well as most media players such as RealPlayer and Quick Time. The HandBrake program operates on multiple platforms including Linux, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.

Schoolhouse is another management application similar to iProcrastinate which helps students organize their academic responsibilities. Schoolhouse helps you manage assignments, exams, tests, grades, schedules and athletics, and includes automatic grade calculation and file attachments that simplify tasks. Schoolhouse syncs up with MobileMe also.

iStumbler is a wireless discovery tool that locates AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices and Bonjour services to power your Mac. This software is handy for students who have some time on their hands and want to find a connection in an unfamiliar location to check email or download assignments.

Curio is known as a digital notebook which is used for mind mapping, unstructured information assemblage, brainstorming, and creative investigation. Curio allows students to easily write notes, organize tasks, assemble photo collages, paint and draw with brushes & pens. For design students, programmers and artists Curio is a great addition to your software collection. Curio maintains a beautifully designed intuitive digital environment which allows students to create lists, mind maps, tables, and index cards in a free form, innovative manner.

Quicksilver is a free software created by Blacktree Software and used on the Mac OS X. Quicksilver allows its users to navigate the keyboard rapidly in order to complete multiple tasks at the same time, such as opening files, launching applications, moving and editing files, transferring files, and transmitting e-mail.

How to Organize Your Studying, While Having a Job

For those students who do not have enough extra income to cover expenses while in full time classes, it may be necessary to work while attending school. Though not an ideal situation, it is possible to organize your studying around your job so that both duties can be performed efficiently and so that your grades do not suffer as a result of fatigue or insufficient study time.

The first step when organizing your studying is to choose a job that is not too physically or mentally demanding. Ideally your job should be part time. Good suggestions include working in a bar or restaurant two nights a week, working in a call center on the weekends, child care, dog walking, or retail. These types of jobs typically do not entail a great deal of manual labor, and also do not require a lot of brain power. The type of job you choose needs to be minimally taxing, so that you can conserve all of your energy for your school work.

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The second step in organizing your studying while having a job is to map out your semester before you commit to any shifts at work. It is imperative that you know exactly when all of your big papers and exams are due, so that you do not run into conflicts between work and study time. That way you can organize your work schedule around important due dates and block off time to study for crucial exams and write papers that are worth large portions of your final mark.

The third step in organizing your studying while having a job is use the breaks you have at work to full advantage. If you have two fifteen minute breaks and one hour for lunch, that’s an hour and a half per shift that you can devote to studying. The best way to use breaks effectively is to leave your place of work and go to a quiet place alone to study. Avoid hanging around and talking to your fellow employees during your break – this time is better spent on school work and making sure that you get the best possible grade.

The fourth step in planning your study time around your job is to use the technology you have access to during work hours effectively. If you have scheduled breaks then the best thing to do is bring your lap top with you, find a WiFi connection and work through your break. If you don’t have scheduled breaks, use your mobile devices during your down time. Most jobs have lulls in activity, so download readings or assignments on your mobile device at home and then work on them during the down time of your shift.

The fifth step to apply when organizing your studying around a job is have a clear plan for what you want to get accomplished on the days when you don’t have to work. At the beginning of each week, list all outstanding assignments or upcoming tests due that week. Plan to have as much done on these assignments as possible on the days you are not at work, so that your school days get utilized to full advantage. For example, if you have a test on Friday and you have to work on Wednesday and Thursday, use Monday and Tuesday to finish as much of the in depth studying as you can, and use Wednesday and Thursday as days to review.

Finally, organize your study time by arriving an hour early for your shift and take that time to study. This will give you uninterrupted time to work on your class work, finish an assignment or review essay questions before you begin work. It will also place you in the proper mindset toward school, and make sure that you put your school work ahead of your job.

There are also a few tricks you can employ to make full use of your time when working. If you experience a lull during retail or restaurant work for example, have a list of test questions on hand and run the answers while waiting for the next customer to arrive. Also, enlist a friend to help you study remotely, either on the phone or on chat, during slow times at work. Prepare for this by sending your friend a list of test questions in advance.

Many people graduate with high marks despite having to work through the acquisition of a degree. The secret is to put school work first and utilize every opportunity to study. Other things to plan for are adequate rest, proper nutrition and choice of work. Look for a job that carries with it little or no stress – conserve your mental energy for school.

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