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College Admissions Interviews: Questions You Might be Asked

Nov 30, 2011 10:42:00 AM

While not all colleges (or even colleges in Rhode Island) require a college admissions interview as part of their admission criteria, some colleges allow you to volunteer for an admissions interview with an alumni, student or other college representative. The college interview is a great way for you to show your personality to the college, and your excitement about the school. If you will be having a college admissions interview during your college visit or some other time, be prepared with answers to these questions:

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Topics: College Planning

Scholarships: How to Find Free Cash to Pay for College

Nov 21, 2011 4:11:00 PM

Many students think that the only way you can get  scholarships for school is by getting good grades or doing well in athletics. However, this is not always the case. Some organizations offer free money for other students, especially those who have a financial need, to go to college and get a good education after high school.

Matching Grants

Some states offer scholarships that give matching funds to low-income families to use toward college. These matching funds provide students with twice as much money as they would otherwise be able to bring to the table for going to school. This allows you to go to a better school than you could otherwise afford, giving you a better chance at making a better life for yourself. Search for these grants online to see if you can qualify.

Employers

Employers are another good source for students in search of scholarships. Some employers, especially larger ones, offer scholarship opportunities for employees and their dependents who want to go to college. Inquire with your employer to find out if they have any programs for which you can apply to obtain free money to go to a better college. Different employers attach different requirements to their programs to determine who qualifies.

WebsitesRIScholarships.org: Start your free search

Some websites, such as RIScholarships.com for Rhode Island students, can help you look for scholarships that best match your situation. These searchable websites ask questions about your grades, extra-curricular activities, financial situation and other pertinent information, including school choices. They then match you up with programs for which you may meet the requirements for free money. It is still up to you to complete the application process to find out if you qualify. Some of these websites can also send you an alert if a new opportunity arises for which you may qualify.

Colleges

Check with the colleges which you hope to attend. Some colleges offer scholarships to students who want to come to the school. Some of these programs are for those who have good grades or participate in sports during high school, but others are meant to help low to middle-income students afford to attend the school. If the college you hope to attend offers this type of program, apply to it as early as you can because there are likely plenty of other students who are after the same money you are.

Other Qualifications

Seeking scholarships from organizations that specialize in specific qualifications can be useful if you fall into one of their qualifying categories. For instance, if you are a member of a minority group, certain opportunities are available to you. Other common qualifiers include being in the military or a parent in the military, women, international students and physical disabilities. In addition, if you are going into certain fields, such as nursing or teaching, you may qualify for those programs.

Finding the right scholarship that fits your needs can take time. Start looking for scholarships early and check back often. These programs often have strict deadlines so it is important to check websites and other resources at least once a month to ensure that you don't miss any deadlines for a scholarship for which you may qualify. Even if you don't fit the criteria for an academic or athletic scholarship, you can still find free money for your schooling.
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Topics: Scholarships for High School Students

SAT Crunch: Free tools that can help you maximize your score

Nov 17, 2011 3:50:00 PM

As you go through your high school years, it is important to look toward your plans for after high school. If you intend to go to college, you need to make sure you take the classes you will need to get into the college of your choice. You must also prepare for the SAT test so you know what to expect and increase your chances of doing well on the test. Doing well on the SAT can make the difference in getting into the school of your choice.

While some organizations offer college testing preparation classes that help you prepare for the SAT, not everyone can afford to pay for the service. However, proper preparation is still important for everyone. Even if you can't afford to pay for any of the classes, you can still use free resources available on the Internet or at your local library to help you prepare instead. These resources can work just as well as the classes that require a fee as long as you work hard.

Some of the free online tools (just Google "free SAT prep tools" for a host of sites to visit; if you live in RI, we recommend WaytoGoRI) and library books which you can use to help prepare for the SAT tests work as guides that walk you through the contents of the test and how it is administered. When you go into the test knowing what to expect, you will feel more comfortable. When you are comfortable in your surroundings, you are more likely to focus on the material and do better on the tests. The better you do on the tests, the better your chances of getting into the college of your choice after high school or getting merit based scholarships.

Taking a practice test or two can also help familiarize yourself with the test and help you do better. The questions found on the practice tests are not the exact same questions you will find on the actual test, but they can help you prepare for the SAT. The questions will be similar to the ones you will find on the actual test in format, but the questions and answers will be different. Taking more than one practice test provides you with the chance to become more familiar with the format of each section, thus increasing your comfort level.

Tip guides can also be a useful tool as you prepare for the SAT. None of the resources will give you the answers for the test, but they can help you understand how the test works. Reading through the tip guides will lead you through your preparations for test day, what you need to bring, what you should know and other useful information about the test. If you typically panic when it comes to testing time, you can even find tip sheets that help you learn to deal with test-taking anxiety so you can do the best you are capable of doing.

If you are struggling in specific areas covered on the tests, you can utilize different online tools, such as games and study guides. These tools help you prepare for the SAT and the various subjects covered within the test. Choose tools in the areas in which you often struggle so you can improve your chances of doing well in all of the areas of the test. While colleges will look at your individual scores from the test, having a strong overall score will help ensure that you can get into the college you want to go to.

While it may seem like a lot of work just to prepare for the SAT, the SAT is important to your future. Without it, you may not get into the school of your choice.
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Topics: SAT & ACT

Narrowing your College List: Tips & Strategies

Nov 14, 2011 9:00:00 AM

Choosing the right colleges to apply to can be a multi-year, multi-step decision involving parents, friends, counselors and more. And, it's often a process that starts with a large number of universities on a your college list that gets narrowed down over time. But how, exactly, should you as a prospective student go about narrowing your extensive list of schools? What criteria should you use to make sure you end up in the best college for you the first time?

Following these tips and strategies will help you focus your college list to include just those schools you're serious about attending and bring your list of schools to apply to down to a reasonable number. 

1. Get organized
Start your college search by making two lists. The first list is schools you would consider attending or want to learn more about. The second list is of characteristics you are looking for in a school. This list should include academic programs, location, size, cost, activities and organization, and housing and dining options.

2. Let your fingers do the walking
Now that you have your two lists, give your computer a work out and start with a thorough look at each institution's website. A campus website vs. a campus visit is more targeted and can be done relatively quickly.

Using your checklist of school criteria, spend about 10 minutes on each school's site and see how many of your items you can check off for each school. Start your exploration by first looking at the academic programs the school offers. If you don't see your desired major on the list of programs offered, the school is not a good fit and you should cross it off your list and move on to the next school on your college list.

3. Make a connection
If universities have a Facebook page, a Twitter account or YouTube channel, think about subscribing to the news feeds so you can get a sense of how the school operates on a daily basis and how they reach out to students and the community. Connecting to schools on your college list through social media doesn't obligate you to attend, but it can give you some insight into campus life, academics and school events.

You may also want to provide an email address to a school's admissions office, too. A school you cross off your list early could surprise you with key information via email you may not have seen on your first look at the website.

4. Strike a balance
After your initial research, look back at the schools still on your prospective college list. Do you have a good balance of reach schools, possible schools and likely schools? If you narrowed your list to just reach schools, you may want to either reconsider some of your decisions or research some more schools. Your final list should include at least one school you know you can get in to and afford, a few schools you have a high likelihood of getting into, and one or two schools that would be a reach for you. 

The process of identifying the most important criteria in a school, researching and connecting to schools should narrow your list enough to start making campus visits and serious inquiries to admissions offices. The college selection process can overwhelm you but with a few simple strategies, you can make sure your selection process runs smoothly.
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Topics: College Planning