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College Admissions: Put Your Best Foot Forward 

Monday, December 24, 2007

You put so much effort into your admissions essay... you've been working hard to maintain a strong GPA... you've spent countless hours participating in extracurricular activities... and you've done tons of research in your college search... so don't hurt your chances of admission by committing one of these easy-to-avoid mistakes.

Use an Appropriate E-mail Address throughout the College Admissions Process

Feel free to use partygurl_45@yahoo.com or sexyman877@hotmail.com with your friends, but it's not a good idea to put this down on your admissions application or to use it when corresponding with college admissions officers. You want to come across as a responsible young adult... and QTGirl90@gmail.com does not send that message to a college. We'd recommend simply signing up for an e-mail address with your first and last name (plus a number or middle initial, if necessary) and using it for college admissions and scholarship-related e-mails. Sure, JohnSmith454@aol.com may not be as fun, but it definitely won't leave the college admissions staff questioning your judgment.

Avoid IM Jargon

While I'm sure that college admissions officers can figure out that "ur" stands for "you are" and that "OMG" means "Oh My God", we'd probably avoid using them in your e-mails to admissions offices. It may take you an extra two seconds to spell out a word, but it's worth taking those two seconds to put together complete sentences.

It's also a good idea to take a second to re-read any e-mail you send to a college before you send it. It will help you catch typos, notice spelling mistakes, or see that you accidentally left out a word. Many e-mail programs have built-in spell-checks. It probably wouldn't hurt to run it on e-mails to college admissions officers.

Set an Appropriate Voicemail Message

If you plan on sharing your cell phone number with colleges (on your admissions application, in e-mails, or in voicemails), make sure that you don't have a 10-second clip from a pop song playing on your voicemail message. A simple "You've reached Sara Martinez. Sorry I missed your call. Please leave me a message" will work much better than a "What up, peeps? Give me the 411."

Consider Making your Facebook / MySpace Profile Private or Keeping it PG-rated

We recognize that most high school students are going to have a Facebook or MySpace profile and that you're probably using it for social reasons... maybe to keep your friends up to date on what's going on with you, to share photos from the party you were at on Friday night, or just to leave your buddy a funny wall post. We also recognize that college admissions officers are not the target audience for your profile.

However, it might be a good idea to set your profile to private and to make sure that your profile picture is rated PG not R. We'd recommend a better-safe-than-sorry approach for your profiles. It may be true that most admissions offices won't look you up on Facebook or MySpace, but you don't want to find out that they do look at your profile the hard way.

You're a Smart Person... Just Use Your Head

In general, we recommend using common sense and good judgment. It would be a shame if a small, avoidable mistake took attention away from four years of hard work and a stellar college admissions application or scholarship application.

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Comments

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Minority Scholarships... Sometimes it pays to be in the minority 

Monday, December 10, 2007

When you are searching for scholarships, it's important to consider all the ways you may be eligible for scholarship money. Are you majoring in accounting? There are scholarships for that. Considering a career in journalism? There are scholarships for that. One area where there are a number of scholarship award opportunities is for minority students. Minority scholarships may target African-American students, Hispanic students, Asian-American students, Native American students, or all of the above.

To help you get started on your scholarship search, we've highlighted a number of scholarship awards aimed at minority students.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Bill Gates gave $1 billion to start this incredible scholarship program. It's open to all minority students and will basically fund college so you can graduate debt-free. This scholarship isn't for all minority students, though... you need to have significant financial need to be eligible and good grades (3.3 GPA or higher).

Don't wait too long to apply. The Gates Millennium Scholarship has a fairly substantial application process, which even requires you to be nominated and to get recommendations.

More info: Gates Millennium Scholarship

Ron Brown Scholarship

The Ron Brown Scholarship seeks to identify African-American high school seniors who will be the leaders of tomorrow and make contributions to society. There are no restrictions on a recipient's major or school choices. This isn't just a scholarship, though... even if $10,000 a year for 4 years is a lot of money. The Ron Brown Scholarship Program makes a big effort to build a network of program alumni that encourages mentorship and collaboration. Again, academic achievement is an important factor in winning this scholarship.

More info: Ron Brown Scholarship

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

If you are Hispanic, you should make sure not to miss the deadline for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. The Fund has worked with a number of companies to create scholarships for Hispanic high school, college, and community college students. What's great is that a number of programs also feed into internship programs... so you not only get scholarship money for college, you can get great work experience as well.

More info: Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Hispanic College Fund Scholarship Program

Another great scholarship program for Hispanic students is the Hispanic College Fund Scholarship Program. They've partnered with top-notch companies including Google, Lockheed Martin, and Hilton to provide these scholarship opportunities and to help Hispanic students gain access to careers in business, finance, engineering and the sciences. In 2006, they gave away $2.4 million to more than 600 students.

More info: Hispanic College Fund Scholarship Program

Accenture Undergraduate Scholarships

Accenture has partnered with the American Indian Graduate Center to fund scholarships for Native American students. These scholarships are awarded to the very brightest American Indian and Alaska Native students who are attaining a professional, teaching, social services, high technology or business degree.

More info: Accenture Undergraduate Scholarships

APIASF Scholarships

For Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) could be a great place to start your scholarship efforts. Founded in 2003, the organization has awarded over $1 million in scholarships to hundreds of college-bound students.

More info: APIASF Scholarships

More Minority Scholarships

These are just a few of the great award opportunities out there for minority students. Try searching for scholarships on College Toolkit to uncover additional award opportunities.

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Comments

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