October 28, 2011
Did you ever wish you had more freedom to choose what classes you could take in high school? Students in Georgia share your pain and the Board of Education is considering implementing a plan which will allow students to take only the classes which are relevant to their future careers. Students will be required to take general courses before choosing their “career cluster” at the end of their sophomore year but depending on the “career cluster” they choose, some students may be able to get their dream jobs right out of high school!
While I know I would have liked more choices regarding the classes I took in high school, I'm still not sure I'm onboard with this idea. For one thing, not everyone knows what career they want when they're in high school – some students have trouble deciding what they want to do well into their college careers! – even me: When I was in high school, I was convinced I wanted to become a pharmacist before I realized my true calling as a writer.
The fact is that college is expensive and the idea of cutting down on the rising cost of college by taking some of the necessary courses in high school is very enticing indeed. Along those same lines, if this program is implemented and a student decides they don’t really like their course of study, they can switch between clusters until they find one that better suits their goals.
So, will Georgia become the first state to implement a more individualized high school experience? We'll have to wait and see next fall.
Lisa Lowdermilk is a published poet, avid video gamer and artist. Her poems have appeared in Celebrate Young Poets: West (Fall 2006) edition and Widener University's The Blue Route. She enjoys watching thrillers, trying different restaurants and attempting to breakdance. Lisa is now majoring in professional writing at the University of Colorado Denver.
March 8, 2012
Baby, it may still be cold outside but summer is on its way – three glorious months to fill with projects, internships and mildly soul-numbing jobs. Hey, high schoolers, I'm talking to you: Colleges care what you do with that time, even if you'd rather just hang out and play water polo...or whatever kids do these days.
For most high schoolers, there are two kinds of summer experiences: you pay them (hang gliding in Costa Rica, French language lessons in France with French people) or they pay you (yeah, I worked at a bagel shop). They both have their places and their benefits so if you can get to some faraway place and have adventures, go for it; however, most people aren't in that financial bracket in high school. The good news is that a first job can be just as interesting an experience, whether it's at a fast food joint or selling t-shirts at the Jersey Shore. Check out your local museums and colleges to see if they have special internship programs for teens over the summer. The application process may be brutal but a competitive internship program looks great on your resume and the money in your pocket will be worth it. Working with those programs will also give you a chance to meet teens from other high schools or outside your normal social circle; remember, college is all about learning to get along with people totally different than you – now's a good time to start.
But don't forget secret option number three: No one pays you but you get to practice something you think you'd like to study or work in. It's like volunteering (except you go every day instead of when you feel like it) but you should think of it as a job, minus the monetary compensation. The summer before my senior year of high school, I called around and became a journalism intern at a small local paper. I pitched and wrote my own articles and even used the amazingly complex 9-megapixel digital SLR camera (hey, it was 2005). While I wasn't exactly producing Pulitzers, I got great articles for my portfolio and the experience of working as an adult. In this economy, everybody wants free labor and by finding a place to volunteer regularly, you may just find a career. Start your search early, though: These opportunities fill up fast!
Liz Coffin-Karlin grew up in Sarasota, Florida where the sun is always shining and it’s unbearably hot outside. She went to college at Northwestern University and after studying Spanish and history, she decided to study abroad in Buenos Aires. In college, she worked on the student newspaper (The Daily Northwestern), met people from all over the world at the Global Engagement Summit and, by her senior year, earned the title of 120-hour dancer at NU’s annual Dance Marathon. She currently works in Buenos Aires on freedom of speech issues but is thinking about returning to the U.S. for a job in urban education.
July 15, 2008
All entries have been cast, all information verified, and yes, a winner has been chosen. Matt D. of Newport, KY has been randomly selected as latest winner of the Scholarships.com $1,000 Tell A Friend Sweepstakes. By referring his friends to Scholarships.com, Matt was able to secure $1,000 towards a college education.
"Winning the sweepstakes was really exciting! It was the first scholarship I applied for and … I won,” he told us. Once again proving that financial aid is available to those who search, Matt was able to join the growing list of Scholarships.com Success Stories. By giving them free access to our scholarship search, providing them with valuable college-funding resources and personally sponsoring numerous sweepstakes and scholarships, Scholarships.com has assisted myriad students in affording a postsecondary education.
Every three months a new Scholarships.com user is selected as the Scholarships.com Tell A Friend Sweepstakes winner. Applying couldn’t be easier—no essays and no recommendations required. For the chance to win $1,000, just visit our Tell A Friend Sweepstakes page. You can enter the names and email addresses of up to ten friends, and, if they join the site, you will both be eligible to win $1,000. The more friends you refer, the more entries you’ll receive. Submit now for the chance to win!
July 16, 2008
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted nearly $900,000 for work on four issues of The Future of Children , a biannually-released journal about effective policies and programs for children. Since its inception in 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has granted nearly $16.5 billion to provide for the health and education of people living in the US and abroad. In addition to sponsoring numerous education-related initiatives, the foundation created one of the biggest, most lucrative scholarship programs in the country, the Gates Millennium Scholars.
Their latest donation will be used by the Brookings Institute and the Princeton Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs—co-publishers of The Future of Children —to conduct research, disseminate information, host conferences and pay for additional efforts related to the four issues. According to a Woodrow Wilson School news release, the proposed journal topics will include Children in Fragile Families, Children and Youth in Immigrant Families, Work and Family Balance and Postsecondary Education.
The Future of Children is aimed at identifying the research and policies that could assist families in raising their income and paying for school. To this end, researches will study the problems affecting individuals between the ages of 16 and 26, as well as those of their children. Their findings will be disseminated at no charge, and, once available, the results will be posted on www.futureofchildren.org. To encourage legislators to concentrate their efforts on bettering the circumstances of America's youth, journal contributors will also host numerous public awareness events.
July 17, 2008
According to West Virginia’s The State Journal, a recent poll indicates that Americans are prioritizing the affordability of a college education over other factors. Though criteria such as scholastic quality, distance and diversity were also critical, the cost of a school topped the list as most important.
With college costs continuing to outpace inflation and graduates finishing school with growing debt, families are beginning to realize that attending schools within their means may be more important than attending ones of greater prestige. A recent report from the National Center for Education Studies (NCES) stated that during the 2005-2006 school year, 46 percent of first-time, full-time students who sought a degree took out student loans, a few graduating more than $100,000 in debt.
The Chronicle of Higher Education Gallop Poll indicated that, though there were conflicting views over whether the government or the public should be responsible for much of the cost, most agreed that colleges should contribute to the solution by spending a larger percentage of their endowment funds.
As the media focuses on problems of national debt, controversy has grown over the use of annually increasing endowment funds acquired through donations to colleges. Though endowment contributors frequently create stipulations about who may or may not receive their scholarship money, the public has pointed to the questionable nature of storing funds and increasing tuition, especially during a time when debt has become a growing problem for students.
July 18, 2008
During a conference held by the Department of Education this week, department commissioners, educators and business leaders alike expressed their disappointment with Education Secretary Margaret Spelling’s inability to improve the current state of postsecondary education. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Commission on the Future of Higher Education created by the secretary herself complained that, after three years of work, students were still unsure about which colleges best fit their needs, and employers were still dissatisfied with graduates’ lack of preparation for the workforce.
Furthermore, while steps to alleviate the burden of school expenses have been taken—most prominent of which was perhaps the increase in Pell Grant caps—the rising costs of a college education have made paying for school a struggle. During the 2005-2006 school year, more than 40 percent of first-time college students were forced to take out student loans. These factors, combined with the declining value of a college degree, have made securing a sufficiently lucrative job difficult for those with debt, especially when searching for positions within the nonprofit sector.
With only six months left in office, the secretary has little time to apply the suggestions of her peers. Complaining that colleges are not doing enough to prepare students for the business world, previous advertising executive Richard Holland stated, “We just talk about this all the time, and we don’t do anything about it.” Added Education Department’s senior adviser Vickie Schray, “There’s still a lot that needs to be done.”
January 24, 2008
Close your eyes and imagine it. You’re sitting in math class, struggling to keep your eyes open, calculating how many minutes are left in the day. Then you do some mental math to figure out what percentage of the day has already passed, the only math you plan to do that day.
That is until you're snapped out of you boredom-induced coma by a teacher who tells you that effort pays off, literally. Well it’s not a dream. Some students have been getting paid for good test scores, and the trend is slowly spreading. In a number of Texas schools, students have been receiving money for good scores on A.P. exams, and students in Baltimore will soon be expecting the same rewards.
Through the Advancement Placement Incentive Program (APIP), students can earn a few hundred dollars for scoring well on A.P. exams, between $100 and $500 for scores above a 3. One student earned $700 for the tests he took during his junior and senior years of high school.
According to a study put together by Cornell University’s C. Kirabo Jackson, 41 schools have taken part in the APIP program so far, and 61 schools plan to adopt it by 2008. The report shows that financial incentives have been an effective tool in getting students to work harder in their A.P. classes. Improvements of about 30% on ACT and SAT scores have also been attributed to APIP.
According to The Baltimore Sun, some Baltimore schools will soon take a similar approach to raising test scores. The Baltimore program will concentrate on improving graduate exams rather than A.P. tests, but the idea is the same; if you do well, you can earn money, up to $110. Like the APIP, the program will focus on assisting and rewarding students who attend low-income, inner-city schools.
Despite positive results and hopes for continued improvements, both programs have been criticized for their approach. Many feel that bribing students into doing well will take away from the purpose of learning and only teach them to expect payoffs for future efforts. More than the Texas program, the Baltimore version has also been criticized for using public funding to pay students. Unlike the Baltimore version, Texas will mostly use money collected from private donations.
February 15, 2008
Beginning in 2012, high school seniors attending schools in Allegany County, Maryland will have new graduation requirements--financial literacy classes. According to the Associated Press, these half-credit courses will teach students about maximizing earning potential, making the best of finances and maintaining good credit scores.
With college rates rising at rates that exceed inflation, students across the country are facing financial difficulties. The crises in mortgage and student loan industries have government officials scrambling to guard students against debt that could haunt them for years.
About two-thirds of undergraduate students borrow money for college and graduate with an average debt of $19,000. Student loans frequently outweigh a graduate’s earning potential, and many find themselves struggling just to make ends meet. What initially seems like a worthwhile investment frequently becomes an overwhelming burden for a growing number of students.
To avoid debt, students should educate themselves about their financial aid options. High school students can take advantage of the free college scholarship and grant information available to them at Scholarships.com. When conducting a college search, students should also keep in mind their current financial standing. If they cannot realistically afford their school of choice, runners-up should be considered.
Like students of Allegany County, those attending other high schools may be able to avoid student loans by completing a free college scholarship search. Regardless of GPA, athletic achievement or community involvement, students can find awards they may be eligible to receive.
February 26, 2008
After being sued by College Board, the makers of the SAT, Karen Dillard’s College Prep LP, a student test-prep company, announced its intent to file a countersuit. Last week, College Board filed charges against the Texas-based company accusing it of illegally obtaining, circulating and selling their PSAT and SAT materials.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the company was said to have acquired the unreleased PSAT tests from a high school principal whose brother worked for Karen Dillard, the owner of the test-prep company After conducting a four-month investigation, College Board decided to take the case to court. In addition to filing charges, College Board threatened to cancel the scores of students who had access to official test material prior to the SAT test day.
Soon after the College Board lawsuit was filed, Karen Dillard, the owner of the test-prep company, filed a suit of her own. She claimed that College Board had unlawfully obtained private information from a previous, disgruntled employee and that such information could not be legally used against her. She also complained that College Board was trying to drive her company out of business.
In past years, College Board had sold previously used SAT exam material to private companies, and Ms. Dillard stated that she had paid for such material. College Board eventually stopped this practice and began to offer tutoring services. According to Ms. Dillard, the lawsuit was an attempt by the company to monopolize the tutoring market and to eliminate small companies such as her own.
Though Ms. Dillard did not deny having acquired some test material without College Board’s authorization, she maintained that the information was obtained after tests had been taken.
March 4, 2008
In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, students across the nation celebrated the eleventh annual Read Across America day on March 3rd. Though most festivities were aimed at the elementary and middle school crowd, plenty of high school students joined in to encourage the young and old to read on a regular basis.
Their support was both appreciated and needed. In 2005, a report published by the National Education Association (NEA) revealed that reading frequency dropped significantly for people of all ages. Those who struggled the most, individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, experienced a reading drop of 28 percent. To stop this trend from continuing, students are being taught that reading can be fun--really.
A list compiled by the NEA offers a few interesting examples of things students and educators have tried in an effort to encourage reading. They include:
o High school cheerleaders and athletes from Hamler, Ohio who challenged students to become active readers by leading them in reading spirit cheers.
o A Dr. Seuss Party thrown by the Central Lafourche High School Performing Arts Club. The event included a Dr. Seuss show, an appearance by the cat and a cake.
o The school-wide Braxton County High reading celebration in which all students, faculty and staff had to drop everything to read during first period.
o A Washington County event in which all elementary, middle and high school students read every day for a week. In addition to a skit performed by students from a high school drama class, prizes were awarded to the 100th person who entered the library.
o The foreign language event in which students from Edmond Santa Fe High School translated and read “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” in three different languages—English, Spanish and Latin.
But the award for the most interesting (and least appetizing) example goes to the Washington Elementary district which served its students a breakfast of—yuck—green eggs and ham.
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