Your scholarship admission essay is a very important part of nabbing that all-important application that gives you entrance into your dream school – while high test scores and extracurricular excellence get you partly there, it’s a great essay that makes you really stand out from a pool of similar applicants. One key step in delivering a great essay is to get someone (preferably a few people, actually) to review your essay. But who should review my scholarship essay? Who will have a valuable outside perspective?
First off, go against your first instinct and don’t have your parents review your essay. The problem is that many parents are so encouraging of their children that they’ll actually be unhelpful when it comes to giving you real, constructive advice rather than just telling you everything looks great! If you still want your folks to look it over, tell them to go through your scholarship essay for specific, objective mistakes like spelling and grammar errors rather than broader considerations like structure and theme.
Who should review my scholarship essay, then? An honest friend who knows you well and isn’t afraid to give you constructive criticism is a good choice to review your essay. One of the best types of advice you can get from a close friend is how much your own voice comes through in your essay – and your friend should be able to tell you if you’re expressing yourself or if you just come across as dull and ordinary.
Another great person to have check out your scholarship essay is a teacher. Teachers are knowledgeable and have no reluctance about giving feedback since that’s an integral part of their job anyway! In addition to the obvious choice of an English teacher, try to find a teacher who will be close to the target audience of your actual essay to review your essay. If you’re applying for a scholarship to an engineering major, for example, try getting one of your math teachers to check it out.
Your scholarship essay is very important, so make sure you take all the necessary steps and get your essay reviewed!
*Photo of student writing an essay courtesy of Shutterstock
In 1977 the Lindbergh Foundation was established to further the vision that Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh had in regards to finding a balance between advancing technology and our natural environment. Each year the Lindbergh Foundation awards the Lindbergh grant to ten individuals who have made a significant effort to help with fulfilling this vision of balance.
This grant can be used to help fund research expenses associated with furthering technology while keeping a balance within nature. Individuals from around the world are eligible to be entered into the running for this grant, there is not a restriction based upon institution of study or research.
Individuals must be nominated for the Lindbergh grant, submissions are then reviewed by an award committee who will pass along the eligible candidates to the Foundation board for the final selection. Nominees who are passed along but do not receive the award are eligible to receive the grant in future years without having to be re-nominated.
The following must be submitted in English to nominate a qualifying individual:
- A nomination form
- An executive summary of the nominee’s accomplishments
- A letter of support from another individual to support the nomination
You can find more information on how to nominate a qualifying individual for the Lindbergh grant here.
*Ecology illustration lamp bulb photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Tax time in the United States is here, with the IRS’s filing deadline of April 15th quickly approaching. Taxes are confusing for anyone, but taxes for international students can add another layer of difficulty given the varying classifications that international students can fall under.
The first thing for international students to determine at tax time is whether they are filing as residents or non-residents. Taxes for international students will mostly fall under nonresident filing status, but to make sure what category you fall under you should go to the Substantial Presence Test on the IRS website. Note that residency status is different from your immigration status, and depends on a number of factors revolving around the dates, length, and nature of your stay in the U.S.
If you find that you need to file as a resident, you can proceed to complete your taxes as any U.S. resident would. Remember that this includes your total worldwide income, not just money earned in the U.S.
But as most taxes for international students are filed as nonresident status, you’ll likely find yourself moving on to the next step: determining whether you’ve had a U.S. source of income. What exactly counts as a U.S. source of income is also outlined in detail on the IRS website.
All nonresidents must file Form 8843. Those without a U.S. source of income get to stop there; nonresidents with a U.S. source of income must also fill out a 1040 NR or 1040 NR-EZ. To fill out either of these latter forms you will need either a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not have one, you can apply for an ITIN at the time of your filing.
Tax time is a notoriously stressful period for anyone in the United States, and international students certainly aren’t spared. Get started navigating the process as soon as you can so you have time to sort out any snags, and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or school advisors for help! Check out our partner, International Student’s Tax Return Help, for more information.
* Tax, budget and calculator photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Students around the world who are in 11th and 12th grade are able to enter The Fountainhead essay contest for the chance to win $10,000. To enter, students can choose one of three pre-determined topics based upon the novel The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and write an essay between 800 and 1,600 words. There is not an application for this contest, however, along with an essay, individuals must submit a contact sheet with the following information by April 26th:
- Name and address of applicant
- Email address
- Name and address of school
- Topic selected
- Current grade level
This contest is sponosored by the Ayn Rand Institute, and the following prizes will be awarded based upon the evaluation of the pre-determined judges:
- First prize: $10,000
- Second prize (5): $2,000
- Third prize (10): $1,000
- Finalists (45): $100
- Semifinalists (175): $50
Students who would like more information on how to enter The Fountainhead essay contest can visit here.
Portrait of a serious student writing an essay photo courtesy of Shutterstock
/>Students going to college in the United States may be partly paying their way student loans, using them for everything from tuition and room and board to books and supplies. But the exact time for student loan disbursement, as important as it is, can be hard to pin down. So when are student loans disbursed?
Generally speaking, student loan disbursement is split between a school’s two semesters (or four quarters, three trimesters, etc.). This means that your $2,000 yearly loan won’t give you that full amount right away in the fall; you’ll get $1,000 for fall semester and $1,000 for spring semester. This splitting of the disbursement by semester is usually not a problem since tuition and fees are charged by semester as well – meaning you won’t be left with a huge bill to cover in the fall and only half of your yearly loan amount to help cover it.
When are student loans disbursed within each semester, though? The answer to that question is a little less definite because student loan disbursement ultimately depends on each school’s financial aid office and its specific policies. The loans usually show up in a student’s account sometime between the start of classes and the tuition payment due date. Before the funds actually show up, they will often be listed as “pending” so you can get a clear picture of what your financial situation will look like once the loan comes through.
There are some reasons that your student loan disbursement may be delayed, however. A delayed disbursement may be due to a failure to meet minimum enrollment or GPA standards, an unpaid fee from a previous semester which must first be settled, or various other factors. If you think your disbursement should have come through already, contact your financial aid office to see if there are any other snags like these you need to address.
So when are student loans disbursed? It’s not an exact science, but they come through in halves toward the beginning of each semester. If you’re waiting on student loans for immediate needs like housing or food, get in touch with your school to find out exactly when you’ll be getting them.
The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF) hosts an annual scholarship competition that awards over 200 scholarships to students interested in pursuing the graphics communication industry. To be eligible for a Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation award students must meet the following:
- Be pursuing a career in graphic communications, printing technology, printing management or publishing
- Be a high school senior or graduate
- Be enrolled in a two or four year accredited graphic or printing program
- Be a full-time student
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
Students who are eligible for this award must also meet certain requirements based upon spreading PGSF awareness through Facebook.
Applicants need to complete the scholarship application and submit the requested documentation by April 1 to be eligible for this award. The average award amount is $2000 per student; however, this amount can be awarded in an amount as great as $5000. These awards are renewable for up to four years as long as the awardee continues to meet the eligibility requirements.
Find out more on the requirements and how to apply for the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation Award here.
Coming to college in the United States involves a lot of expenses, and you may find yourself turning to a private loan to help you meet the financial burden. While loans can be great, it is important to understand the full financial burden of repaying them. One of the most important factors in picking a loan to help you finance your college education in the United States is understanding interest rates on student loans.
Interest is a fee that a bank requires you pay on top of the base loan amount so it can make money from the loan. Interest rates on student loans are given as yearly percentages. For example, a $1,000 loan with an interest rate of 7.5% APR (annual percentage rate) will mean a total repayment of $1,075 after one year of interest.
Stretch this out across years – even decades – of repayment, and clearly interest rates on student loans can have a huge impact on how much you pay in total. So how can you make sure you lower your interest rates on student loans?
To a certain extent, interest rates on student loans are fixed. Student loan interest rates are based off parameters set by reputable American and international banks and generally vary between about 2% and 9% APR.
But your student loan interest rates will also change based on the creditworthiness of your US cosigner. A cosigner is a financially responsible person who, by cosigning a loan, agrees to cover any costs that the original borrower can’t. Find a cosigner with a solid credit history (as an international student, you’ll need a cosigner in the US anyway) and banks will be more likely to give you a favorable interest rate on the loan.
Another way to lower the overall impact of interest costs is to repay your loan more quickly – thereby accruing less total interest. This can mean anything from paying a little more than the monthly minimum when you have the spare cash to choosing an official repayment plan that features earlier or more substantial regular payments.
Understanding interest rates on student loans is very important part of your college financing, so make sure to look into your best options before you decide on a loan!
The time has come to enter the fifth round of the University Language Services scholarship. This means you have the chance to win $500 for a great photo. If you are a college student who is studying abroad currently, has in the past or will be in the near future- you can submit a photo that shares what made you decide to study abroad. It can be anything that expresses this- food, architecture, a landmark, etc.
Your submitted photo for the university language services scholarship will need to be accompanied with a 200 word or less description of why the subject in your photo helped you decide to study abroad. Entries need to be submitted by April 3. Once submitted, the top eight submissions will be posted for site visitors to vote on. The three photos with the top votes will continue to the finalist round where a panel of judges will determine the grand prize winner of $500.
If you would like to submit your photo, you can find out more on the university language services scholarship here.
Tourist in Paris photo courtesy of Shutterstock
A report recently released by NACE, the National Association of College Employers, has detailed the ten highest paying majors in the United States. The study measures these majors with top pay by looking at the average starting salary for a newly hired employee. Here’s the full list:
- Computer Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Computer Science
- Aerospace/Aeronautics/Aeronautical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electric/Electronics and Communications Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Construction Science/Management
- Information Sciences Systems
Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of these ten highest paying majors come out of the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There are a few major reasons for this.
First off, STEM fields are many of the vital forces that drive our world today – the influx of computer and web technology in day-to-day life, for example, makes jobs in the above categories of Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Information Sciences Systems significantly more important than they were even a few short years ago.
Another main reason that most of these majors with top pay come from the STEM fields is that relatively few students choose to pursue these majors over the more popular ones in liberal arts, making the actual STEM-field graduates very hot commodities for employers desperate to hire workers with the appropriate expertise.
Does this mean that you should go into one of these fields just because it’s one of the ten highest paying majors in the United States once you snag that first job? Certainly not. But some planning ahead and honest soul-searching in your pre-college and early college years can help you consider what you’d really like to do and see if any of the above majors is in fact something that inspires you.
Also keep in mind that it’s never too late to shift gears into one of these ten highest paying majors if you decide that it is indeed the right thing for you. Even if you’re already finished with your undergraduate education, there are various ways such as grad school and community college that you can use to get you started on a major career change.
If one of the above majors sounds like a good choice for you, make the commitment, study hard, and be ready to land a great job once you join the workforce!
Troy University offers international students with exceptionally high academic achievement the chance to receive one of two elite awards. Four first year undergraduate students from around the world are granted one of these awards each semester. Additionally, these awards are able to be renewed each year that the student continues to attend Troy University and maintain their award eligibility. Awardees must have the intent to obtain at least a four year degree from Troy University.
Elite Awards Available:
The Millennium Scholar Award- this award requires that students have an ACT score of 31 or SAT score of 1380 along with a high school GPA of 3.7 (on a 4.0 scale). It will fully cover tuition, room and board for the first year.
The Chancellor Award- this award will grant the awardee full tuition and requires that the student have an ACT score of 27 or SAT score of 1220 along with a high school GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale).
If you are an international student who plans on attending Troy University as a freshman undergraduate student, you can find more information on both of these elite awards here.
Red apple with A plus photo courtesy of Shuttestock