Roy W. Dean Los Angeles Video Grant

April 25th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

shutterstock_82577167Roy W. Dean Los Angeles Video Grant
Deadline: June 30

Are you a film student who needs funding to create the film of your dreams? If so, you may be interested in the Roy W. Dean Los Angeles video grant. This award is available for individuals around the world wanting to create a short, low budget film and will provide sponsorship for those who qualify. This grant program was started by Carole Dean in honor of her father Roy W. Dean, to help passionate filmmakers achieve their goal. This year alone the Roy W. Dean grant has awarded nearly $60,000 in grants.

Student filmmakers, independent producers or production companies can apply for this sponsorship for new projects, or projects that are currently in progress.

To apply for the Roy W. Dean Los Angeles video grant you will need to submit a grant form application and written proposal that includes the following about your film:

  • Style, format and approach you will be taking
  • Your plan for distribution
  • Your role in creating the film (director, producer, etc.)
  • How your project is unique and will benefit the society
  • Your relationship to the content
  • The names, role and experience of everyone involved in the film

To find out more or to apply for the Roy W. Dean Los Angeles video grant, visit here.

Vintage 8mm film projector photo courtesy of Shutterstock

5 Tips When Writing a Scholarship Essay

April 23rd, 2013 by Bryanna Davis


Read about how to write a scholarship essay in our updated post.

Cranking out a great scholarship essay is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you wind up landing that crucial scholarship to study in the U.S. But writing a scholarship essay is difficult if you don’t know the basics. Here are 5 tips when writing a scholarship essay that will help you along the way:

1. Address the prompt

While some scholarship essay prompts will be very open, others will ask you to write about a pretty specific issue or prompt. Make sure you look closely at exactly what the prompt is asking for and write your essay accordingly! If you’re supposed to describe a time you learned from a mistake, for example, writing a scholarship essay about your life-changing trip to India won’t get you anywhere.

2. Be yourself

Though it is quite possibly the single most cliché bit of advice on writing a great scholarship essay, it is VERY true that you should write honestly rather than trying to say what you think the reader will want to hear. The readers are professionals; they can smell dishonest kowtowing and they respect reading an applicant’s true voice.

3. Tell a unique story

Whatever the prompt is, try writing a scholarship essay that avoids commonality. For example, if the prompt asks you to recount a difficult time in your life, try to avoid common topics like parents’ divorce, deaths of loved ones, and so on. Of course, in keeping with Tip #2 above, if you are very passionate about writing on one of these topics you should listen to your instinct and go for it.

4. Show growth

Especially if you’re asked to discuss a negative experience, you’ll want to put emphasis on how you learned and grew from the issue. This will show maturity, perseverance, and insight.

5. Proofread!

It’s awful to have a great scholarship essay derailed by poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Have friends, teachers, and family members look over your essay exclusively for these specific problems. The more eyes you get on it, the better.

If you enjoyed reading our article on the 5 tips when writing a scholarship essay, then check out our partner’s Scholarship Essay Center.

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Stella Blum Research Grant

April 18th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

shutterstock_97761020Stella Blum Research Grant
Deadline: May 1

The Costume Society of America promotes the research and understanding of dress and appearance around the globe- throughout time. Each year the society hosts the annual Stella Blum research grant to promote and encourage research based around dress by granting one individual financial assistance to be used towards research in this field. Individuals around the world, including international students, who meet the following are able to apply for the Stella Blum research grant:

  1. Are enrolled in a degree program at an accredited institution
  2. Is a good standing member of the Costume Society
  3. Is applying for the grant to perform research projects in the field of North American costume

This award is granted in an amount up to $2,500 and can only be used for project support. Submitted entries will be judged by a panel of five individuals who will evaluate the following five areas:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Attention to costume matters
  • Impact the research will have within the field
  • Awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of the field
  • Ability to carry out the research in a timely manner
  • Faculty advisor recommendations toward the international student

If you are an international student and meet the eligibility requirements for the Stella Blum research grant, you can find more information on the Stella Blum research grant and apply here.

Grant word on paper photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Who Should Review My Scholarship Essay

April 15th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

shutterstock_132446729Your 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

Lindbergh Grant

April 11th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

shutterstock_122669368Lindbergh Grant
Deadline: June 9

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

Taxes for International Students

April 9th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

shutterstock_131714795Tax 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

The Fountainhead Essay Contest

April 4th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

shutterstock_84634351The Fountainhead Essay Contest
Deadline: April 26

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

Portrait of a serious student writing an essay photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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