Monday, December 14, 2009

STDV 012 Final Assignment

1. As a result of taking this class, what is your visionary career at this time? Write a job description for that career.

2. Describe the career interests, personality, skills and career values that you possess and how each will fit with the career you indicated in quetion 1. (make sure you use the Strong Interest and MBTI test results in your answer.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Final Tip--Appearance of Personal Essay

The first impression that your essay will make on the reader is its appearance. To start, the paper should be white and at least 20 pound weight. It really isn't necessary to use cotton content nor does it need a watermark.

For an optimum visual impact, implement the following:

1. In the upper right corner of the header, type your name and your student ID#. As a precaution to identity theft, do NOT use your social security number.

2. On the center of the page, type Personal Essay.

3. Set your left and right margins at one inch.

4. Use full justification--it looks neat and visually pleasing.

5. Unless directed to double space, I prefer 1.5 spacing.

6. Keep spacing between paragraphs at 1.5, but indent each paragraph.

7. Use a tailored font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Size 12 or 14 font will work.

8. The average essay is two pages long (about 750 words).

9. Stay within the designated word count. It is better to go under than to exceed.

10. Above all else, follow their directions meticulously.

11. No staples.

12. Double check for punctuation and/or grammatical errors.

13. Your essay should look pristine--no corrections, no smudges no folds nor wrinkles.

14. Mail it along with your other documents in a white 9 X 12 envelope.

15. Allow at least three weeks prior to the deadline to submit.

16. Be sure you have put enough postage on the envelope.

17. Believe that you deserve to win. Good luck!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tip Six Personal Statement

Are you satisfied with what you have written? Does the content reflect a true image of who you are? Who or what motivated you to return to college? Any challenges that you have made along the way? What you have learned about yourself? What your career goals are? What your plans are to meet your educational goals? Did you express enthusiasm and motivation? Is your essay interesting? Compelling?

The next step is to check very carefully for grammatical and punctuation errors. Once you are convinced that you have done everything possible to write a winning essay,ask a trusted friend to read it. Take it to the Learning Skills Center and ask someone to critique it.

Now rewrite with all of the corrections. If you are a student at the College of the Desert, please make an appointment with me so that I can give it a final check, Please have it on a flashdrive so that I can make any quick revisions. At that time, I will print out several final copies.

Please allow enough time. I am happy to help you, but realize that my schedule is tight and I want to devote enough time to reading your statement.

Good luck!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tip Five Personal Statement

By now, you should have a dynamite first paragraph which engages the reader. It is now time to work on the rest of your personal statement.

The following are some suggestions to get you on your way:
1. Is there something that you accomplished that may have seemed small at the time,
but has had a big impact on your life?

2. What is there about you that makes you special?

3. Have you overcome some challenge? How did it change you?

4. Have you struggled and succeeded?

5. Have you struggled and failed? How did you respond?

6. Was there an event that opened your eyes?

7. How would your friends describe you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tip Four Personal Statement

Once you have written and rewritten your first paragraph so that it is powerful, start expanding your main focus. This essay is about you and not about anything or anyone who may have influenced you in your chosen career. Naturally, you want to have some background information on why you decided to return to college, but the reader wants to know who you are.

What are your values? What are your interests? How motivated are you? Are you committed to following through on your formal education? Are you enthusiastic? The way you express yourself is very telling.

Let the scholarship committee know how special you are. It is your job to convince them that you are the one who is deserving of their award.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tip Three Personal Statement

Your next step is to work exclusively on your first paragraph. How can you make it interesting enough to HOOK the reader? It is important to engage the reader immediately.

Remember, the judges have many other applications to read and your personal statement is the most important part of your application. You want your essay to be read and in order to do that, you must write a compelling statement.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tip Two for Writing Your Personal Essay

Can't figure out where to start? Try brainstorming. Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and start writing down ideas. Don't judge, don't worry about grammar or punctuation--just try to think about why you are in college and your goals.

Who or what inspired you? What do you plan to do when you complete your education? Have you had any hardships and how were they overcome? What did you learn about yourself? What are your passions?

I think you get the picture. You are trying to focus on presenting a picture of yourself that projects who you really are and why you are deserving of the scholarship being offered.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tip One for Writing Your Personal Essay

Follow Directions:
This is so important!! Please read the application directions very carefully. Most organizations will tell you precisely what they are looking for in your personal essay. Some donors with whom I have worked over the years have designated not only the number of words but, the size of the font, spacing, format and, of course, the content.

Stay within the word count. It is better to write less rather than more. The average essay is about 750 words which is about two pages of size 12 font. I prefer using 1.5 spacing rather than 2 spaces. However, if the directions indicate two spaces, follow their directions.

I like to use left and right justification because it makes the page look neat and organized. The visual is your first opportunity to make a good impression. White paper (20 pound weight) is fine to use.

Of course, it goes without saying, grammar and punctuation should be perfect.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The secret to happiness lies in not getting more but in wanting less.

--Ways to Keep Life Simple
Elaine St. James

Friday, October 9, 2009

How is your personal statement coming along?

Hopefully, you have found the direction that you want to pursue in writing your personal statement. You have had a week to brainstorm and should have already started working on the first paragraph.

Remember that the personal statement is the most important document in your application packet. You are trying to convince the judges that you are the best candidate for the scholarship which is being awarded. You MUST stand out.

Show enthusiasm and motivation. How did you overcome a hardship? How did the hardship make you a better person? What have you learned about yourself?

That first paragraph needs to be compelling and capture the reader's attention. You want the judge to be intrested in reading what you have to say. Write from the heart. Paint a picture and be sincere and, more importantly, believe that you are deserving.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting Started on Your Personal Essay

Sit at the computer and start writing down anything that comes to mind. Remember, you need to let the reader know who you are. It is your job to convince him/her that you are the best candidate to receive the scholarship.

They want to know why you are in college and what your educational goals are. With that in mind, you need to project motivation and enthusiasm. Your first paragraph must grab the reader's attention.

But, back to basics. The very first step is brainstorming. What is it about you that is unique? What do you want the judges to know about you? What challenges have you conquered?

Now, get those fingers clicking on the keyboard or your pencil moving on your paper. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation at this stage. Let your thoughts flow even if they seem disconnected. Keep answering the questions of how, what, when, where and why.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Personal Statements

Start writing some thoughts down for your personal statement. Remember that your statement is the most important part of your application.

Just to get you started thinking, answer the questions in the textbook and then decide the direction that you want to go.

We will be doing a great deal of work in class on writng the first paragraph. It needs to be strong. You need to hook the reader in immediately.

Get a head start and read the chapter on personal statements. You might even go into Google and key in SCHOLARSHIP PERSONAL STATEMENTS. You'll find a number of examples and many tips.

M/W Class

Please remember to go to the Career Transfer Center on Monday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recommendation Packets

It is critical to get your request packets out as soon as possible. Be sure to ask the person writing on your behalf to read the directions (Guidelines for Writing Letters of Recommendation) carefully.

Hopefully, you have written the deadline date on the packet so that they know how soon you need the letter. After a week, check back with them to see if they have had a chance to write your letter. This is the hard part--you need to make several gentle reminders.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Office Resources

A great deal of time has been put into updating and organizaing the scholarship binders that I keep in my office. These are for your use and I will be reviewing them with you this Thursday, September 24th, when we meet in the Career/Transfer Center.

Remember to go directly to the Career/Transfer Center for class.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Start Searching Google

You should have already started searching for scholarships on your own. A good place to start exploring is

You can enter anything about yourself--major, GPA, ethnic background, birthplace, whether you are tall or short, color of your eyes, disabilities, male/female or even cancer survivor. You'll be amazed on what comes up and that will, invariably, lead to another site.

The class is providing you with the knowledge of how to research and how to keep everything organized so that you won't miss deadlines but, finding scholarships is your responsibility. If you truly are in need of money, you will pursue every resource which is given to you in class. You need to read the book, my website and the blog in order to keep up.

Even though many scholarships will be brought to class, the ultimate responsibility is yours. The scholarships you earn will be proportionate to the amount of time that you devote to research and getting your portfolio put together.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Follow up on requests for letters of recommendation.

Receiving your letters of recommendation in a timely fashion will be one of the greatest challenges for scholarship students. Not only is it important to get those request packets out as quickly as possible but, you must stay on top of it.

Start off by writing down the deadline date and pointing it out to the person who will be writing on your behalf. Check back before a week is over to ask about the progress. Keep checking every few days.

Once you receive your written recommendation, send a thank note or letter to show your appreciation. In addition, include a nice bookmark, a packet of decorated post-its or a chocolate bar. Even a flower that you have picked from your garden shows gratitude.

The next step is to make several color copies and insert them in a sheet protector in your portfolio. Kinko's is open twenty four hours a day and it is located close by. Remember, the visual is very important and you want your application to stand out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

A couple of days ago, you were asked to start making verbal requests for having letters of recommendation written on your behalf. Hopefully, you have identified at least three people who will write a "wonderful" letter for your scholarship portfolio.

Tomorrow in class I will be talking about all of the necessary documents that you should include in your request packet. To give you a bit of a head start, you will need the following:
Formal letter of request, unoffical transcripts (the ones I printed out for you), Personal Data form, Scholarship Resume, large white envelope--there are three in your large portfolio. Please include a copy of the Guidelines for Writing a Letter which you can download from my website,

If you have a completed Personal Statement (Essay), you can include it in your request packet.

Should anyone want a sample of a letter of recommendation, I have a couple of examples.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Economy and Financial Aid

If you haven't already applied for FAFSA, please do so NOW. Apply even if you don't think you qualify.

The following quote is from Newsweek:
"These are tough times for families and tough times for colleges and universities," says Terry Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education (ACE). But, "federal student aid will be readily available, more than has been before."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Letters of Recommendation

Start today making verbal requests for Letters of Recommendation. You want to be sure that you ask a professor, counselor, an employer or anyone who knows you and is willing to write a wonderful letter on your behalf.

Please read the section in the book about letters of recommendation. On next Tuesday we will talk about the request packet and how to proceed with it. You might get a head start and print a half a dozen copies of the Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Recommendation which is on my website

Letters written by family and friends are not acceptable. You will note when reading a scholarship application that they will indicate that the letters should be from professionals on company letterhead. Once you have your letter, make several color copies and immediately write a thank you note or letter.

You should take it a step further and include a nice bookmark, post-its, a flower or even a candy bar to express your graditude for taking the time to write you a letter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Class tomorrow

Some of the emails I submitted today, were returned. The message was that tomorrow will be an independent study day--you may work at home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Schedule Appointments Now.

Please, please do not wait until the last minute to make an appointment to have your portfolio reviewed. If you have everything complete, please come in as soon as possible.

Please remember, that I'm here to help you, BUT my appointment calendar is pretty tight.

Exam Two Tomorrow

Please come prepared for EXAM TWO tomorrow. It will cover guest speakers from the Coast Guard, Riv.CO IDA, Peace Corps, the Cal Grants, and blog posts.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Report Scams

Please send information about any possible scam or suspicious advertisement to with the name of the company in the subject line. You may also fax FINAID at 1-412-422-6189.

My class will meet in the Career/Transfer Center today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Scholarship Search Scams

The Federal Trade Commission's consumer alert on Scholarship Search Scams suggest looking for these six signs:

1. "This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."

2. "You can't get this information anywhere else."

3. "May I have your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship for you>?"

4. "We'll do all the work."

5. "The scholarship will cost some money."

6. "You've been selectd by a 'national foundation' to receive a scholarship; (for just a small
handling fee we can send you a check)" or "You're the finalist in a scholarship contest, (the
handling fee will be...)" and you never entered that scholarship.

Please be super careful.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Powerful Process of Gratitude

The following is by Dr. Joe Vitale. It is taken from The Secret.

"What can you do right now to begin to turn your life around? The very first thing is to start making a list of things to be grateful for. This shifts your energy and starts to shift your thinking. Whereas before this exercise you might be focusing on what you don't have, your complaints, and your problems, you go in a different direction when you do this exercise. You start to be grateful for all the things that you feel good about."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Class Meets in Career/Transfer Center Today

Class will be in the Career/Transfer today. I may be called away to a special meeting. If I am not there, please do research on the scholarship binders that are in my office.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Sallie Mae Web Site

A new Sallie Mae website, available to all parents and students--not just Sallie Mae customers--concerned about learning more about resources available to pay for tuition. Information about free resources, such as grants and scholarships, is available to help families minimize out-of-pocket expenditures and to find the right options to help ensure students stay in school. The site also includes information about payment plans available at colleges and universities to help families avoid the need for loans by making interest-free tuition payments in monthly installments. In addition, visitors can find details about various federal student loan options, including federal parent loans, that are available regardless of income, assets or collateral. Visitors to the site will be able to submit their questions to Sallie Mae for research and response.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Special Pathways Scholarship for Transfer

If you are planning on transferring this coming fall, there is a special scholarship through the Pathways to Success. This award is for two years @ $5,000 and ten students will be selected. The primary criteria will be low income so even if you have a 2.0 GPA, you should apply.

If you have any questions, please contact either Khanh Hoang, the Transfer Coordinator, or me.

I will be scheduling a workshop to give you tips on completing the application.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

COD Scholarship

The COD Scholarship is online. Go to Click students, financial aid and then COD Scholarship on the lower left side of the page.

If you have applied before, some of your information was saved. I would recommend that you attend the workshop on March 17th in the Career/Transfer Center from 1:00 to 2:00. Please sign up with Margo at (760) 862-1351. If you are in my class, I will give the same workshop on Tuesday.

Please give a lot of thought to your essay. Create it in a word document and then copy and paste into the application. Last year, students who were not in either of the scholarship classes didn't fare too well on the essay. The first paragraph needs to "hook" the reader. It is a very important part of your application.

Last year about 500 students applied and this year there will undoubtedly be more students so the competition will be stiffer. If you want to be a winner, please take the application process seriously.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Worthy Messages

These were written by Andy Rooney:

I've learned that being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

Who should use FAFSA4caster?

FAFSA4caster is for anyone who is not ready to file an official FAFSA, which the student must complete and submit to receive federal student aid. A student does not have to be a high school senior to use FAFSA4caster; in fact, we recommend the tool for juniors, and even as early as middle school.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

School Aid

Most postsecondary schools offer aid from their institutional funds. Most require that the student submit an application in addition to FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) to be considered for institutional aid. The best source of information on aid available at a school is the school's financial aid office.

When deciding on a college, it might be a good idea to check on the type of aid being offered to incoming students. This might help in the decision making process. It might also make a college with high tuition more accessible.

Monday, March 9, 2009

National and Community Service

Americorps, a program of national and community service, provides funding for education in exchange for service. Participants can earn up to two education awards of up to $4,725 each. Individuals can use the funds either to pay current and future education expenses or repay federal student loans. Participants must be at least 17 and be U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful peremanent residents. For more information, students may call 1-800-942-2677, visit, or e-mail

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Scholarships

Both the Desert Outreach Foundation and the ABWA scholarship applications are available. I'll have them in class today.

If you volunteered to help at the Career & Job Fair, it is tomorrow. I will be there at seven for the set up.

I've learned . . . That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

That when you're in love, it shows.

That just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.

--Andy Rooney

Monday, March 2, 2009

Today is the deadline!!

Today is the deadline for applying for the Cal Grant. Please submit your 2009/2010 FAFSA which is the vehicle for the Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, Student Loans and the Cal Grant.

If you haven't applied for the 2009/2009 FAFSA, you can still do so. this may be source of unexpected money.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Understanding Cal Grant A, B, & C

Cal Grants
To qualify for Cal Grants, a student must be a California resident, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, obtain a social security number and be attending (or plan to attend) an eligible institution in California.

A student may receive only one Cal Grant, either Cal Grant A, B or C. The three grants are targeted to assist three distinct groups of applicants and are mutually exclusive. In short, Cal Grant A provides tuition assistance for a student attending a four-year institution, Cal Grant B is subsistence assistance for entering community college students and Cal Grant C is awarded to community college students majoring in vocational programs.

The enrollment status of the student i.e. full time, three-quarter time or half-time will proportionately affect the amount of money received by eligible students.

REMEMBER!! Be sure to submit your FAFSA application in order to meet the MARCH 2nd deadline for the Cal Grant. FAFSA is the vehicle for the Pell Grant, Cal Grant, FSEOG, Work Study and Student Loans.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

1st of the 2nd Ten Commandments

" Thou shall not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities. You can't saw sawdust. A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work. People get so busy worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, they forget about today. And today is what you have to work with."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Class

The Scholarship Class will meet today in the Career/Tranfer Center.

What is a Cal Grant?

A Cal Grant is money for college you don't have to pay back. To qulaify, you must meet the eligibility and financial requirements as well as any minimum GPA requirements. Cal Grants can be used at any University of California, California State University or Community College, as well as qualifying independent and career/vocational colleges or technical schools located in California.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cal Grant Deadline

March 2nd is a week away. Have you submitted your 2009--2010 FAFSA application?

Cal Grants are a free way to get money to help you pay for college! As a college student, you have the opportunity to benefit if you meet the qualifications. Make completing the applic ation a priority.

Friday, February 20, 2009

FAFSA 2008/2009

If you didn't apply for FAFSA for the 2008/09 year, it is not too late. Do it. It may mean money in your pocket.

Remember, March 2nd is the deadline for the CAL Grant and that FAFSA is the vehicle for applying. Now is the time to submit your FAFSA application for the 2009/2010. If you have not filed your 2008 tax returns, you can estimate. By the end of January, all employers should have mailed out the W-2 forms.

FAFSA is very important in helping you stay in college. FILE even if you don't think you qualify.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Letters of Recommendation and Perserverance

If you don't have your three letters of recommendation, you need to start sending gentle reminders. Counselors and professors are very busy--a call or an email might do the trick.

"Life isn't just about winning. Much of life is about losing. It's something we all do, over and over again. That's where the virtue of perserverance comes in. We fail and we fail and we fail until, finally, we succeed. There are always going to be discouraging times when we want to walk away from a task. But perseverance is that voice inside your head that says, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Listening to that voice is an important part of growing up.
The Book of Virtues edited by William J. Bennett

As you apply for scholarships, you'll find that it may take a while to be awarded a grant or scholarship. Just keep perfecting your personal statement and updating your letters of recommendation. Once you receive that first scholarship, you will open the door for more.

Believe that you are deserving, but make your application packet really shine. You want to stand out--keep striving.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Organization & Your Scholarship Portfolio

"You know it's time to get rid of clutter if you just purchased your third book on how to get organized and you can't find it."
--Elaine St. James

How is your portfolio coming along? Remember it is ONLY for scholarship information and NOT for materials from other classes. If you keep it up as you go along, you won't have a frantic rush at the end of the semester.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spending Money

""You know it's time to simplify your life when you're spending more money each month than you make."
--Elaine St. James

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Your Scholarship Portfolio

Think of your scholarship portfolio like a garden. The more care you put into it, the more prepared you will be to submit winning applications. At first it takes a bit of effort to write your personal statement, gather your documents, request letters of recommendation and research for scholarships. But, it will pay off later. Once you have your portfolio organized, applying will be easier.

I found this poem by Edgar Guest that gets to the point that I am making.

"Efforts bring roses, laziness nothing."
The man who wants a garden fair,
Or small or very big,
With flowers growing here and there,
Must bend his back and dig.
The things are mighty few on earth
That wishes can attain,
Whate'er we want of any worth
We've got to work to gain.
It matters not what goal you seek
Its secret here reposes:
You've got to dig, from week to week
To get results or Roses.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Personal Statements--Project the Real You

On occasion, students, in an attempt to appear scholarly, have used vocabulary that comes off as phony. Many times the words used weren't even appropriate to the content of the personal statement. This error is easily spotted and does not lend credibility to your paper.

Although it is important to start to build up your vocabulary, you must understand the meaning and be comfortable using "important" words. I can't stress enough the importance of projecting the real you. Be sincere--speak from the heart with honesty.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Choose to be Happy

"If there is something in your life you're not happy about, change it."

--Elaine St. James

Monday, February 9, 2009

Keep Life Simple

"You know it's time to simplify your life when you can't make it to the end of the month without a credit card."

--Elaine St. James

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Attendance & Being on Time

The first step toward being a successful student is to go to class. Of course, being on time is part of the package. It is important for you not to miss anything that is being presented, but there is also the consideration of your classmates and the professor.

Walking into a classroom late is a great distraction. You are cheating yourself of important instructions, but it shows total disregard for others. Of course, unavoidable "stuff" happens occasionally--that's life.

When being late becomes a habit, you lose credibility and in many classrooms it will affect your grade. Don't lose your integrity as a student. Do the right thing no matter what.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to his committment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor."
Vince Lombardi, Football Coach

The same is true when completing your scholarship application. Think "excellence" on everything you write. Perfect your spelling and grammar. The first contact the reader will have with you is the appearance of your application packet. Follow directions to a tee. Believe that you are a winner.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Character and Your Personal Statement

Prior to writing your personal statement, give some consideration to the values that make up a desirable character. Give some thought to the meaning of integrity, honesty, sincerity, ethics, values, and morals. Are you projecting these qualities in the way you live your life? Are you projecting a positive image when you write about yourself?

Periodically, I ask a class of young students for the definition of integrity. The response is usually a sea of blank faces. The education of character is no longer taught in our schools and it is sad that so few of our leaders possess the strong character traits that we want them to have.

The only way that we can change that is to strive hard to develop strong character traits within ourselves. Become strong role models for your children and future generations. As you prepare to write your scholarship essays (also, college entrance statements), start writing a paragraph or two on your interpretation of these values. What do these mean to you? How can you develop these traits?

You might try adding a couple of authors to your reading list. Dr. William Bennett has a number of books on character and honor. Perhaps, one of the most popular is Book of Virtues.

Another author that I love is Dr. Will Keim. He and a partner have started a character institute. The first book of his that I bought and actually used as a textbook one semester was The Education of Character.

There are thousands of scholarships out there waiting for your applications. Make your personal statement shine. Show the scholarhip review committees that you are the one who deserves the award. They are looking for future leaders. Project your committment to education--write to win.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Impressions

Whether you like it or not, people do judge you by the way you look. The same is true for the scholarship application that you submit. It is really important that it looks as though you have put a great deal of thought and preparation into completing it.

As I mentioned yesterday, it is critical to follow directions. Have everything in order and follow the checklist if it is included in the directions. You want your documents to look neat, organized and easy to read. White space makes your papers look clean and visually pleasing.

You want to make your application stand out. The first contact that the scholarship donor has with you is your application, personal statement and letters of recommendation. You want to project professionalism--you want credibility.

You want to stand out. You want to have a competitive edge. You want to demonstrate that you are a good investment. You want to have your application read. The first impression may make a big difference in the selction process.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Following Directions

An important component of completing a scholarship application is following directions. Be sure to have a highlighter and/or colored pens when you are reading the eligibility requirements and directions. Highlight the deadline, contact information, and specific instructions. Many applications have a checklist and I suggest that you place the documents in the order listed. You want to make it easy for the application reader to review your documents.

If you don't meet the requirements, you might want to pass the application on to a friend, but I had a male student who applied for a scholarship for women only who won it. It was unusual, but in that case no one else applied. In general, you do need to qualify.

Speaking of following directions, please read your class syllabus and assignment sheet frequently. I'm happy to answer questions, but you will save both of us time if you get in the habit of reading directions. I'm just as guilty as everyone else about following my own advice. It takes practice, but you will benefit in the end.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Scholarship Class

The classroom has been changed to LA 12. See you there at 3:50.

Please have your portfolios with you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Writing Your Personal Statement

Your personal statement is just that. It is personal. It is not about someone who inspired you-- although you might want to mention who or what influenced you to go into your major/career. It is important to let the scholarship donors know who you are. It is the most critical part of your scholarship application.

I know that it is difficult to open up and really talk about yourself, but you need to show who you are. An organization who is giving money wants to be sure that they are making a good investment. You need to convince them that you are the one who deserves the scholarship.

Try not to write what you think they want to hear, but rather speak from your heart. Be sincere and be yourself. Talk about feelings. Share how you have overcome a challenge. Everyone has faced "bumps" along the way. You don't want to write a "pity me" statement, but show committment to your goals in spite of the sorrows you have experienced.

Remember that the first paragraph needs to be powerful. You want to "hook" the reader and pique their interest enough to finish reading the statement. You can write a good essay, but it cannot be done last minute. It is important to start now and expect to rewrite it many times.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Buying Textbooks

There are several good sources for buying textbooks online, but my favorite, because it is user friendly, is . Not only is it a great source for inexpensive books, but a good place to look for scholarships.

You should be able to save $60 to $70 a semester. Remember that books cost about the same as the class--they average from $75 to $150 a book. Science and math books are usually pretty pricey. In graduate school some of my books were about $200 each.

Every class requires a book and, in some cases, extra supplies and materials. That is part of getting an education. So, when you make a commitment to go to college, know that you need the necessary resources to buy your books.

Go to class prepared. Have your book on the first day of class. Be ready to take notes and complete your assignments on day one. Without a textbook you will be starting off on the "wrong foot". Do everything in your power to be a successful student. It is your responsibility to buy your books and supplies.

If you buy your books online, it takes a week to ten days to receive them and you do need to pay for shipping. Get the ISBN number of the book--it is located on the lower right corner on the back book cover. Be sure that you are buying the student copy and not the teacher's edition.

While you are waiting for your book to arrive, go to the college library. They have a copy of every book that is being used in the classes. You cannot check it out, but you can use it for a couple of hours. Once you are finished with the book, sell it back on school soup.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

For My Class

Remember that one of your first assignments was to email me to both of my email accounts. and . The purpose was to have your correct contact email in both my home and college computers.

The deadline is tonight at midnight. Please start off on the right foot. You don't want to get behind. The secret to this class, as well as all of your other classes, is to go to class on time and keep up with assignments.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Spring Semester is a New Beginning

California Community Colleges will be back in session tomorrow and classes start in three weeks.

As many times as I have returned to the college after the Xmas break, the start of a new semester always excites me. Although it will be an adjustment to return to getting up at 5:00 AM after the luxury of sleeping until 7:00 AM, I'm raring to go.

There are new projects to tackle and new ideas for running the Career Center. Of course, my scholarship class is always a source of pleasure. How can I make it better? Who can I invite to better motivate my students? Are there any new scholarships? How can I stay in contact with my previous students and continue to help them?

If you are a former student, please keep up your scholarship search and contact me if I can help you. To my new class, a warm welcome. I look forward to meeting you on January 27, 2009.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Essentials to Happiness

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."

__Jose Addison