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College FAQ: Answers To Common Questions About College
Clyde Earhardt

* What is the difference between a college and a university?

The term college refers to an educational establishment which grants bachelor degrees in science, liberal arts, both, or in one specific study area. On the other hand, a university encompasses undergraduate studies, graduate and professional schools. A university is composed of different colleges.

* What is the difference between a Major degree and a Minor degree?

A major degree covers academic subjects where your study is chiefly concentrated, while a minor degree is classified as your second choice for scholastic specialization. Most often, the minor requires fewer credit hours than the major field of study.

* What are some ways to prepare for college financially?

Parents often start preparing financially for college when a child is very young, by investing in educational plans or mutual funds and opening a college savings account in a bank. Students can also begin saving money for their college education by having part-time jobs while they are still in high school.

* When is a good time to start applying for financial aid?

Start early. The sooner the better. Once you decide to enroll in college and you think you will need financial aid, then it is best to apply as soon as you qualify with the entrance examination.

After your parents have obtained their financial documents and other pertinent data such as income tax returns, you can file for financial assistance.

* Where can you find information about available scholarships?

There are various ways to search for available scholarship grants. You may want to start asking your local government if they have scholarship aids being offered. You may also want to check other centers for you to obtain the scholarships that you want:

- Guidance counselors

- Church

- Community Foundations

- Other Volunteer Organizations

- Chamber of Commerce


- Scholarship Websites

* How do you apply for local scholarships?

You need to prepare all important documents such as your academic performance report and your parents' financial statements. Before you fill out any form, carefully read the eligibility terms for each scholarship and choose only the ones suited for you.

After you have chosen the appropriate local scholarship for you, then it is time to fill out the forms needed. One important document you need to provide, together with your scholarship forms, is your cover letter citing the need for financial aid.

* Can you be awarded more than one scholarship to the same school?

Yes. Depending on the school rules and regulations, you may be eligible to have more than one scholarship at the same school. Most often, several scholarships are granted if it is under the "school scholarships" category. However if it falls under the "college scholarship" category then you are more likely to obtain one scholarship but can still acquire others outside your college jurisdiction.

* When should I apply to the college of my choice?

You can start applying to colleges as early as your junior year in high school. Make sure, though, that before you fill out any college application forms, your SAT or ACT results are handy.

If you have not started processing college applications during your junior year, you can still do so in your senior year. You need to prepare pertinent documents and fill out applications, together with your cover letter. You may also visit the school's admissions office for further information.

4 Things To Consider When Applying To College

When applying for college, do you only think about what you're going to do when you get there? Or do you think about what the college is going to do for you? Applying for college isn't just about fun and games, it's about picking the right college; the college that will help you succeed. So the next time you sit down to fill out those college applications, keep these four tips in mind:

1. Goals.
How often have you heard friends wish they’d gone to a different college? A college that was more suited to their interests and dreams and not their checkbook? A big mistake is to assume that every college has what you’re looking for. Take the time to research the colleges you’re interested in and rank them by academics: courses, degrees, accreditations, and the ability to transfer and further your education.

2. Interests.
As much you want an education, if it’s not fun and exciting, you’re sure to stop attending classes. So the next thing on your list to rank is interests: what are the teachers like? Do they make class fun and interesting or do they simply read from a list of notes in a monotone voice?

3. Extra-curricular Activities.
Let’s face it, no college would be complete without fraternities, sporting events, clubs, and so forth. But what you need to keep in mind is how these events and clubs will benefit you in the future. Will they look good on your resume? Will they provide additional skills? Or are they simply a fun way to get distracted?

4. Financing.
No matter what your list says, the final ranking truly does come down to finances. If you don’t have the funds to attend college, you’ll need scholarships, grants, and student loans. Make sure your college admissions officer understands how these programs work so that you get the best deal possible.

Financing Your College Education
Susanna Rasmussen

Through all of the ups and downs of applying to college there is one truth you should always remember:

if you want to go to college you will REGARDLESS OF FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCE.

Financing your college education can be the most stressful step in the process, however a little preparation and research make all the difference. The money is out there—you just need to know where to look.

Scholarships are a great place to begin. The term “scholarship” does not only apply to aid granted to talented athletes at division I schools (though if you are a varsity athlete this could be an option and your coach is a great resource). In fact, there are innumerable scholarships and scholarship sources out there and you can start looking at any time.

Here are some suggestions for places to start in your quest of financing your college education;

First, look in your community. What activities are you involved in? Do you volunteer with children at a non-profit organization? Are you active within your religious community? Are you an aspiring writer/doctor/researcher? People and organizations are constantly setting up scholarships for future students based on any number of criteria. Ask around your community and look on-line.

Also, your high school offers scholarships for achievement in the arts, sports, or academics or perhaps to a student of a specific ethnic background or some combination of these. Go to your school’s college office and ask for a list of scholarships offered by your school and the surrounding community.

Remember that the Internet is a great resource. You can never apply for too many scholarships because you have NOTHING to lose (only money to gain!) and remember that this is money that you will not have to pay back.

The next crucial step towards financing your education is to fill out your free application for federal student aid or FAFSA form. You will need to do this the winter before you plan to attend, so the colleges can assess your need and put together a financial aid package for you. It is recommended that you fill out the FAFSA online.

Make sure to be organized. For example, have your parents there with you because the form will require information regarding their income and taxes paid in the previous year. Also be ready to answer questions about your own earnings.

When your package arrives you will see that it is compiled of two main sections: Grants and loans. Federal grants will be given only to the students with the greatest financial need and does not have to be paid back. There are also loans in your FAFSA, which is money they will put up front for your education, but that you will have to pay back later with varying interest rates. There are options outside of your FAFSA depending on your specific circumstance and the school you plan to attend, (for example private loans) which should be researched by you, your school and your family. Though interest rates sound intimidating, remember that you are attending college to better your future and with that comes a higher income bracket. Remember to be realistic when negotiating a payment plan.

There can be many obstacles when facing your future education—but remember that financing your college education should never be an insurmountable one. Accept the challenge with an open, organized mind and you will find a way to comfortably finance for your future.

College Admission
Rakeish Bedesi

The college application is the primary resource for admissions departments to determine a student’s worthiness for acceptance. This application is the only opportunity students have in presenting themselves in the best light possible, in hopes of gaining admission. Many will say that completing the application is a test in-of-it itself. We agree. This simple test determines how detail oriented students are and how well they follow instructions. In any give year, colleges receive thousands of applications for admission from prospective students, all competing for the same seat.

In order to help students submit an error free university application, we’ve asked admissions officers across the country what common mistakes do students consistently make on applications. Check out the major blunders:

1. Students do not read the directions carefully to make sure they understand what items are needed in order to complete their application. Recommendation: Before beginning the application read through it for understanding.

2. Students write the wrong social security number or use different numbers on different pieces of information. Recommendation: Carefully copy your social security number from your card.

3. Students use the wrong college address labels.

4. Students applying for regular decision but checked early action.

5. Students use the online application but fail to request information from their high school counselor.

6. Students have questionable remarks and photos of themselves on social network sites, like MySpace, FaceBook and others (a recent problem).

7. In the college essay students exceed the number of words required. Recommendation: If you need to write a 500 words essay it must be 500, not 500+. Colleges test your ability to communicate your thoughts with clarity and concision. They want to see that your writing flows and is methodical.

8. Students miss the application deadline. Recommendation: After choosing which institutions you would like to apply to, write down the application deadline dates on a calendar or in a personal planner. Cross off the names of the colleges as you submit your application.

9. Students take ACT or SAT in the spring of their senior year. Recommendation: Tests should be taken in your junior year or fall semester of your senior year to ensure that test scores will be released on time to apply for the September semester. Also, when you take the SAT or ACT early, you can retake the test if the scores are unsatisfactory.

10. Students send in application but do not send high school transcripts. Recommendation: Make a check list of documents that will accompany your application.

11. Students copy or buy essays from the internet. Recommendation: Do not plagiarize essays. Write your own essay. If you are copying essays from the internet then most likely another student will do the same. Getting caught is risky and not worth it.

12. The student’s parent fills out the application. Recommendation: You are the one seeking admission into college, not your parents. Therefore, you should be the one to complete the application.

13. Activity list is full of ambiguous acronyms. Recommendation: Do not use acronyms. Spell out each word. Just because you know what the acronyms mean, does not mean others will.

14. Students expect long list of activities to overshadow actual academic work. Recommendation: Instead of joining an array of clubs, extensively participate in one or two activities. Admissions officers are not looking to see how many activities you sign up for as much as your role in each extracurricular.

15. Students provide incorrect email addresses / telephone numbers.

16. Students forget to sign and date the back page of the application or have their parents sign it.

17. Students misspell their intended major: psychology and business are the most misspelled.

18. Students are careless in filling out the application and make typos, grammatical errors or have sloppy handwriting. Recommendation: Illegibility/poor penmanship can create problems, especially handwritten essays. Do not handwrite essays unless the application specifically requests you to. Otherwise, type them on a computer and attach the printed page to your application. If your handwriting is poor, consider applying online.

19. Applications folded 10 times to fit in a small envelope look bad. Soda/coffee stains, and dirty or sticky pages, torn/ripped edges all can affect your eligibility. Recommendation: Mail your application package in a legal size envelope. Also to be careful, DO NOT eat while completing your university application.

20. Students use pencil when filling out an application. Recommendation: Use a blue or black ink pen.

21. Some applications ask for County and/or Country. Recommendation: Read carefully! Do not mix these up.

22. Many students who have jobs do not mention them on applications. Recommendation: Often, these jobs impact the time students have available for activities. Include this information to paint a full picture of your out-of-school activities.

23. Students send the wrong essay. Sometimes students mix up college essays and send an essay intended for one university to another college.

24. Students do not address the essay question / topic. Recommendation: If you are not sure, ask your counselor for clarification.

25. For online applications, students slip the mouse and click on the wrong item in a drop down box. (It is amazing how many students say they're from
Afghanistan -- which is usually listed right after United States on drop-downs for countries)

26. Students substitute thesaurus words for more colloquial phrases. Recommendation: Bright teens do not and should not write like their parents. Applications that stand out do not have the above problems. They "tell" rather than "show."

27. Students list "Hanging out with friends" or "talking on the phone" as an extra curricular activity. Recommendation: For those who do this, hanging with friends and talking on the phone are not note-worthy activities. Ask your counselor if you are not sure what to include.

28. Students blame a teacher in their personal statement for bad grades. Recommendation: Colleges care more about what you did about the bad grade than why you received it in the first place. Did you ask for extra help? Repeat the course? Get a tutor?

29. Students turn in essays with numerous misspellings and grammatical errors. Recommendation: Proofread and ask your counselor or teacher to read it over. Remember that sometimes computers do not pick up errors that are spelled correctly.

30. Students do not inform their high school counselor that they are applying to colleges x, y, and z. Students fail to mention the necessity of submitting required forms by the certain deadlines. Recommendation: Tell your counselor which colleges you are applying to for admission.

31. Students do not send SAT or ACTs, OR assume later test scores will automatically be sent to same institutions as indicated in earlier tests. Recommendation: Each time taking the SAT or ACT, request the scores be sent to your institution of choice.

32. Information on student transcripts is not updated or incorrect. Recommendation: Check your name spelling, home address, phone numbers AND course names, grades, and credits received.

33. Many colleges that use the Common Application also have supplements. Students forget to complete the supplement.

34. Students write generic essays. Recommendation: Relate your essay to yourself. Write details that are unique to you and that only you could have written.

35. Students list e-mail address that are in bad taste or vulgar. Recommendation: Be aware of the impression your e-mail address makes. Create a "professional" e-mail address for college and job applications. Offensive e-mail addresses make a bad impression.

36. Students do not ask a teacher or advisor to review their application before submission. Recommendation: After completing your application, ask your parent or your high school counselor to proofread it for you. Always have a fresh eye look at your application. Doing so will help eliminate the above mistakes.


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