Scholarships Provide a Needed Financial Break to Students

Would You Turn Away Free Money?

With college expenses rising, and many family budgets shrinking, pursuing scholarships can give a needed financial break to applicants and parents alike. Claudia Buck recently published this informative piece in The Olympian detailing one student’s scholarship search. Connor Quinn, a high school senior, ended up applying for over 80 scholarships, winning 22 awards totaling $22,700.

With the average tuition to private universities nearing $40,000 per year and financial aid budgets decreasing, scholarship money is becoming more of a necessity, and students are often unaware of how prevalent it can be. Buck writes that, according to estimates, there are over 1 million scholarships offering over $3 billion in free money.

While it takes some extra preparation, national college financial aid expert Mark Kantowitz explains that it doesn’t have to be overwhelming: “It isn't as much work as it seems. The first few will take maybe one hour per scholarship, but after you do your first half-dozen, you can adapt one essay to the next one. So instead of taking one hour to write an essay, you're taking 20 minutes.”

While it did take an extra effort, Quinn walked away with some non-material benefits as well, becoming more confident and grateful through the process. Quinn stated, “When I first started, I was really shy and stumbled during interviews…and it made me appreciate work and the value of a dollar.”

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Start Working on Your College Essays this Summer

Alan Gelb is an author and educational consultant specializing on the college essay process.  He has written “Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Step” and “The Complete Student: Achieving Success in College and Beyond”

Alan Gelb offers some practical advice for juniors in this posting on the New York Times Choice blog. While juniors should be thinking about their college lists and beefing up their resumes with some non-academic, real-world experience this summer, they should also be taking advantage of some of their downtime to turn their attention to their college essays.

Gelb writes, “These less hurried months before the onslaught of a highly pressured fall offer the chance for students to think, reflect and connect with a writing topic that can then be developed into 500 words of polished prose.” We wholeheartedly agree, and his practical tips will definitely help your mind to slow down and get your creative juices flowing as you begin to discover and explore your essay topic.

Waiting on a Wait list Can be a Challenge

Has being waitlisted left you even more confused?

After all the waiting you have done, the last thing you want now is to be put on a wait list! But what happens if you are one of the 10% of applicants who find themselves fated to wait a bit longer? This article by Zach Miners offers some helpful tips for seeing the bright side of a possibly taxing situation.

The first step is to decide whether or not you would actually attend the college if you were accepted. If it is definitely your first choice, here are a few steps you can take to increase your chances:

  • Let the college know that you would like to remain on the wait list.
  • If you have new information to share about your accomplishments, write a compelling letter letting the college know.
  • Definitely let the college know that you would attend if you were accepted, but don’t become a squeaky wheel or worse yet, try to bribe officials!
  • Make plans to enroll at another college so that you are sure to have a spot somewhere in the case that you don’t get off the wait list.
  • If you haven’t interviewed yet, call the college to try to set one up. Personal contact along with genuinely expressed enthusiasm for a school can help tip the balance.
  • Don’t take it personally if you don’t get in. Only about 30% of students get off of wait lists, and in some cases, even fewer spots are available.

While it may be challenging to sit tight for another few weeks or months, use the time to do more research on the schools that you have been admitted to. Every school has its advantages and disadvantages, so try to focus on the positives. And if you do find that the school you attend is not a good fit, you can always apply for a transfer after a year, but chances are, you’ll end up loving it!

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One Dad’s Journey through the College Application Process

This student does not use College Essay Organizer.

Articles about the college application process inevitably elicit a visceral reaction from anyone who has high school aged children. As this NY Times article describes, Crazy U, written by Andrew Ferguson, is a recent dad’s journey navigating the convoluted path from high school student to college attendee.

Ferguson covers every aspect of the adventure, not the least of which is the college essay process which he calls “a relatively new idea, and very baby boomerish.” He asks, “Who are they to force a catharsis on 17-year-olds?” His insightful probing cuts to the central issues in writing essays, which many consider the piece that distinguishes an applicant from his or her peers. What exactly do colleges want? Is the more personal essay always the better one? And what about more modest teens unwilling to express their darkest secrets? Ferguson writes, “Once the larger culture considered reticence a virtue. Now it’s a cause for suspicion or evidence of derangement.”

At College Essay Organizer, we know how important and stress-inducing the essay portion of applications can be. It’s what we know best, and we provide members with examples of successful essays on dozens of topics and themes, essays that gained entry into the nation's top colleges and universities. We also run free webinars from the spring through the fall covering various issues related to the college essay process, and hold an open Q&A for attendees to get their individual questions answered. So worry not, we’ve got you covered.

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IECA Highlights CEO in Its Current Newsletter

College Essay Organizer ("CEO") is excited to be highlighted in this Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA) newsletter. More than 150 IECA members have signed on with CEO in our first season, and we look forward to more members taking advantage of CEO’s valuable tool that instantly streamlines the college essay process.

The IECA has been a leading force in promoting innovative tools that improve the efficiency of consulting practices. Thanks to the feedback of our independent consultant members, CEO will be incorporating the following new features this season:

  • Student accounts will increase from 15 to 20 college selections.
  • The Essay RoadMap will be even easier to interpret, with an alternate viewing format and the ability to hide essay questions not relevant to an applicant.
  • Independent consultants will have the ability to upload essay drafts and share notes with their clients within the CEO platform; no need to email back and forth anymore.
  • Marketing potential will be optimized: you can co-brand your CEO accounts with your company logo
  • IECA members can become guest bloggers, promoting their services on CEO’s heavily trafficked site and sharing important tips and stories about their experiences working with students’ essays.
  • IECA will orchestrate FREE instructional webinars for introductory and training purposes for IECA members and their clients.
  • CEO will have a separate area that allows visitors to our site to connect with IECA members in their area.
  • Exclusive IECA discounts will be shared directly by IECA headquarters in the coming weeks.

To join IECA and learn about their great services, click here.