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The Definitive Guide to Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Intuit has put together a comprehensive guide to Scholarships for you students that have disabilities. College is expensive and when you factor in the additional healthcare costs that students with disabilities have (estimated to average $11,637 per year) any scholarship money they can receive should be very welcome.

What Are Scholarships for People with Disabilities? 

Scholarships for people with disabilities are any kind of scholarship that’s specifically aimed at someone with a type of disability. These can be physical, learning, speech, or any other number of disabilities. Some scholarships are for anyone with a disability, while others are for specific types of disabilities. 

Scholarships are a huge part of making college affordable, especially when it comes to those with disabilities. In fact, the percentage of college students with disabilities has increased from 10% in 2000, to 19% of undergrads and 11% of grad students in 2016. But, who exactly is eligible for these scholarships?

Who’s Eligible for These Scholarships? 

In general, you need to have some kind of disability to be generally eligible for disability scholarships. Beyond this, many scholarships will have very specific disability requirements, as well as a demonstrated need for financial aid. 

For example, the Anders Tjellström Scholarship requires that any applicant have a GPA of 3.0, use Cochlear implants for hearing loss, and be a U.S. or Canadian citizen. 

Because of their often very specific requirements, it can make your search a lot easier if you search specifically for scholarships tailored to your disability. 

21 Scholarships for Those With Disabilities

Scholarships for People with Autism

Dan Archwamety Scholarship

Amount: $500 toward course completion

Eligibility: Applicant must have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, be a resident of Nebraska, and be currently registered or enrolled in a post-secondary school.

Application requirements: Applicants need to fill out the application and provide documented proof of ASD and their enrollment or registration with a post-secondary institution. 

KFM Autism Scholarship

Amount: $500 for education costs

Eligibility: Any upcoming or current college students with autism can apply for the KFM Autism Scholarship. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants need to create a cover letter, supply a resume, get reference letter, and write an essay that aims to inspire those with autism or improve understanding of autism for those outside the community. 

OAR Scholarship for Students with Autism

Amount: $3,000 for education costs

Eligibility: Any person that’s been diagnosed with autism and plans on attending a post-secondary institution in pursuit of a certification or accreditation is eligible to apply as long as they haven’t won this scholarship in the past.

Application requirements: Applicants must fill out an online application, answer three essay questions, and provide basic information about their diagnosis. If an applicant’s speaking or writing abilities are hindered, two letters of recommendation are required. 

Scholarships for People with General Disabilities

Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award

Amount: $1,000 for tuition and related expenses

Eligibility: Anyone with a disability that’s a graduating high school senior or already enrolled in an accredited higher education institution within the U.S. Applicants must also have a GPA of 2.8 at the time of applying.  

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must supply an unofficial copy of their transcript and complete one out of a selection of essays. 

BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 in Canada, $10,000 in the U.S. for school-related expenses

Eligibility: Must be a current undergrad or grad student with a visible or invisible disability and a 40% course load minimum. Applicant must also be pursuing a degree in business, commerce, computer science, engineering, math, physics, statistics or a related discipline.

Application requirements: Applicants must join the Lime Network, submit a current resume and transcripts, provide a letter of recommendation from a professor or advisor, and answer an essay on their career goals and why they should be chosen as the recipient of the scholarship.

INCIGHT Scholarship

Amount: The amount varies and is used toward tuition.

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship, students must have a documented disability, attend a higher education institution during the scholarship period, maintain full-time enrollment throughout the academic year, and be a resident of Oregon, California, or Washington.

Application requirements: Applicants need to submit document proof of their disability as well as proof of residence in Oregon, California, or Washington. If selected, the winner will have to do 30 hours of community service or help work one INCIGHT event. 

Scholarships for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired 

AG Bell College Scholarship for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Amount: Varies, up to $5,000 toward college costs

Eligibility: In order to qualify, applicant must have bilateral hearing loss in the moderate to profound range. Additional specific hearing-related requirements apply. Applicants must also have an unweighted GPA of 3.25 and be pursuing a four-year degree or graduate degree at an accredited college.

Application requirements: Application for this scholarship requires a recent unaided audiogram, transcripts, a completed essay, and three referrals that can speak on your behalf. 

Cochlear Graeme Clark Scholarship

Amount: $2,000 per year for up to four years, applicable toward tuition.

Eligibility: Applicants must be a Baha or Nucleus recipient, a citizen of the U.S. or Canada, a graduating or recently graduated senior, or an undergrad in an accredited university. Applicants must also have a 3.0 or higher GPA when applying. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must send their official transcripts, provide proof of Baha or Nucleus implant, and complete the application form. 

Love-Peel Scholarship Fund for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Amount: Varies depending on individual, but must be used toward school.

Eligibility: Anyone that’s lived in Michigan for at least one year, has any form of hearing loss can apply.

Application requirements: Applicants need to supply a report card or transcript if enrolled in college already, attain two letters of recommendation, list out any community service activities if available, provide proof of hearing loss or deafness, and complete a number of questions on the form. 

Scholarships for People with Learning Disabilities

The Dottie R. Walker LEAD Scholarship

Amount: $1,500 for academic use

Eligibility: Must be a resident of Nevada or Colorado, plan on being enrolled in full-time higher ed the next year, and have a learning disability per the definitions of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). 

Application requirements: Letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, certified high school transcript, and certified proof of severe learning disability (SLD) required.

Joseph James Morelli Scholarship Fund

Amount: $500-2,500 for tuition, tutors, and research

Eligibility: Open to high school and college students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and/or dyscalculia. Applicant must be interested in STEM degree. 

Application requirements: Certified proof of above learning disability or disabilities required. 

Anne Ford Scholarship

Amount: $10,000 spread out over four years, must be used on tuition

Eligibility: Applicant must have a learning disability or ADHD, be a graduating high school senior attending college in the fall, have a 3.0 GPA or higher, and exhibit financial need. Ideally an applicant is interested in making life better for those with a learning disability or ADHD after they graduate. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants need to fill out an application, have three letters of recommendation, and supply documentation of their disability.

Pine Cone Foundation Scholarship

Amount: Up to $5,550 over three years for community college expenses.

Eligibility: Applicants for this scholarship need to have a Specific Learning Disability, be a graduating senior, plan on attending a community college in California, have a GPA of at least 2.5, and be a citizen of California. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must provide their transcript, signed reference letter, documentation on their Specific Learning Disability, photo, and completed application. 

Scholarships for People with Mobility and Physical Disabilities

ABC Law Centers Cerebral Palsy Scholarship

Amount: $1,000 for tuition or general expenses

Eligibility: Applicants must be seeking or currently enrolled at a higher learning institution, have cerebral palsy, be a legal citizen of the U.S., and have a 3.0 GPA. 

Application requirements: All applicants must provide their transcripts, complete an essay, and describe what they plan on doing with the funds.

CHASA Scholarship

Amount: The amount varies but must be used on tuition

Eligibility: All applicants must have hemiplegia or hemiparesis prior to age 18, from any cause, including a stroke. Applicants must also currently be enrolled in an undergraduate program or post-secondary school, be under the age of 25, and be enrolled during the fall semester of their application.

Application requirements: Applicants must complete an essay, have their physician send verification of their disability, and fill out a complete application. 

The Claude S. Weiler Scholarship for Amputee College Students 

Amount: The amount varies but it used for tuition costs. 

Eligibility: Applicants must have a major amputation, meaning any loss of limb starting at or above the wrist or ankle. Applicants must also be attending a college or enrolled to attend, and in good standing.

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must provide a transcript, school or student ID number, and answer an essay about how their status as an amputee has impacted their life. 

Karman Healthcare Scholarship

Amount: $500 for tuition

Eligibility: Any currently enrolled students that are 16 or older and have a mobility disability, do well in school, and advocate for disability awareness in America are eligible. 

Application requirements: Applicants must fill out an application and write an essay on how a single moment in their life influenced their development. Applicants also need to supply proof of disability, transcript or proof of GPA, and a photo to be used it they’re chosen as the winner.

Scholarships for People with Speech and Language Disorders

Bennett A. Brown Scholarship

Amount: Amount varies and is used toward tuition

Eligibility: All applicants need to have documented proof of any disability that inhibits their ability to read, write, or speak, and must be entering as a freshman or currently enrolled at Georgia State University.

Application requirements: In order to apply, applicants must be registered with the Margaret A. Staton Office of Disability Services at Georgia State University, supply documented proof of their disability, and demonstrate financial need. 

Scholarships for People with Visual Impairment

National Federation of the Blind Scholarship

Amount: $3,000-12,000 for tuition

Eligibility: Citizens in the U.S., District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that are blind in both eyes and plan on pursuing a full-time degree at a U.S. institution can apply. Winners must also attend the National Federation of the Blind convention and any scheduled events. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants simply need to prove they’re blind in both eyes and send in an application via email or post. 

American Foundation for the Blind Scholarships

Amount: $1,000-3,500

Eligibility: The American Foundation for the Blind offers a number of scholarships with varying requirements. For all of them, applicants must be legally blind or visually impaired to some degree and fit one of the course-related requirements of their multiple scholarships. 

Application requirements: Application requires an official transcript, two letters of recommendation, and proof of legal blindness. Additional requirements for application may be present depending on the scholarship offered by AFB. 

TSP Scholars Program

Amount: Varies, up to $5,000 toward college costs

Eligibility: Applicants must be legally blind and a citizen of New Zealand or the United States. Applicants must also be a senior in high school or graduate, who plans on attending or is currently attending an accredited university. 

Application requirements: The scholarship is relatively new and the application process may change in the coming year. To apply, go to their website when the application process reopens and complete it per the instructions. 

Intuit’s Guide includes additional information on:

  • Additional sources of Financial Aid for people with Disabilities
  • Tips for Applying for Disability Scholarships and Aid
  • Additional Resources with links

Check out their guide using this link: https://turbo.intuit.com/blog/relationships/scholarships-for-students-with-disabilities-3580/

Free Career Test Available for your Students

Career Enjoyment has created a free career test that your students might find of interest. A student can complete a quick online questionnaire and they will be matched to the best fit from more than 1000 well paying careers.

It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. The results will be based on matching the users answers to match them to a specific career based on their individual personality.

Examples of questions that are asked:

Construct a piece of furniture – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

Lay down a tiled bathroom floor – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

Play any type of musical instrument – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

Be a manager at a retail establishment – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

One of the keys to having a successful life is for students to do something that they enjoy. This quiz can help point them in the right direction. It may even point them in the right direction as to what major to pursue in college. It’s free so have your students that are interested check it out using this link: https://www.careerenjoyment.com/career-test-free-aptitude-test-and-quiz

The quiz was authored by Matt Donatelle who is a certified career coach that has helped people around the world pick the specific career of their dreams.

Building Student Confidence through AI Writing Software

Counselors like you have busy and important jobs. In a given day there are always too many things to do, not enough time to do them, and a deeply important mission to help your students. Counselors prepare students to enter the world and to meet a variety of important milestones, from standardized tests to college applications. Too often, the realities of a busy schedule means that you are forced to cut short the crucial help you can provide.

This is a common challenge that educators face: how do you get everything done without sacrificing the attention your students need? This can be a difficult conversation because educators know an impossible dilemma: you want more than anything to help, but the reality of the job means you can’t realistically give that help to everyone.


Turning to Technology
To say that Artificial Intelligence (AI) may offer an answer might sound like we’re getting ahead of ourselves. When it comes to a unique relationship with each student, how can technology make a difference? It’s a fair question to ask and fortunately there’s an answer.

AI can help students with the important writing tasks that they are required to complete during high school. Those high stakes tests and college applications require students to write essays. Many students don’t feel confident as writers, so they want help. Unfortunately writing is a task that requires significant time for both the student to do and you, the counselor, to review.

Part of understanding how AI can support counselors, teachers and students comes with defining what AI can and cannot do. With respect to the latter, it’s crucial to state up front that AI is not a replacement for the educator. Technology can’t do everything a person can do. With this statement in place, a conversation about what AI can do becomes much more productive. AI does tasks that take up valuable human time. For example, common word processing tools have built-in AI functions that identify and fix spelling and grammar mistakes.


AI Writing Software

On a basic level, we know this practice produces cleaner writing, but what if AI could measure higher order concepts like essay argumentation, clarity, use of evidence, organization and more? Would you be surprised if we told you it can? When students use a dedicated AI writing software , they get fast feedback with real-time insights into what is written well, what needs minor work, and what needs major revisions.

Rather than focusing on the structure and multiple revisions, you are able to focus more time on the things that only you, a human, can do – like provide guidance on students ideas beyond the assignment. AI becomes a partner in this approach. Students get the best of what technology offers while counselors and teachers get to focus on the parts of your job that make the most difference.

Think of AI writing software as an assistant that takes away the part of your job that you just don’t like. I always think of my dishwasher when I go through this thought exercise. I hate washing dishes, so after dinner what do I do? I put those dishes in the dishwasher. The job gets done and I get more time to do what I want – like binge on Game of Thrones .


Solving Past AI Limitations
If this all sounds too good to be true, you might be aware that various companies have tried to apply AI to writing assessment over the last decade. The machine learning approaches that these technologies have been based on have lead to similar limitations across the board: Prohibitive writing prompt setup processes, mysterious and questionable grading patterns, and feedback that is too vague to be useful. In order to overcome these ubiquitous limitations, Ecree had to invent a new type of AI technology outside the umbrella of machine learning. The results are encouraging.
● Students work independently and can set up their own questions in about 10 seconds
● Students receive detailed feedback, updated every 5-10 seconds
● 92% of students say Ecree provides teacher-quality feedback
● 95% of students across academic levels improve their scores (9 points on average)


Unlimited Writing Help
For writing, AI fast feedback gives students as much early support on their work as they want, on their schedule, from any location, and any device. The tech is finally pushing that rock over the hill of previous limitations to where students can improve their writing independently. If students can build confidence and critical skills instantly with fast feedback, educators get to read better papers, engaging the content rather than the structure.

We’ve already seen firsthand tens of thousands of students using AI to strengthen skills, improve test scores, get into college, and become more confident writers. You can see it too – create a trial account at Ecree.com , upload a student paper, and see what happens.

Dr. Jamey Heit is a lifelong learner and lover of technology. He believes technology plays an essential role in solving big problems and insists that it is part of a broader solution, rather than a quick fix to a temporary challenge.

He holds a Ph.D. in Literature, Theology and the Arts from Glasgow University and has taught in a variety of Higher Education disciplines. By credit hours, Dr. Heit has over 25 years experience and has graded more than 30,000 papers (yes, he counted!).

During his time in the classroom, Dr. Heit saw limits in his ability to help students consistently improve their writing. So, in 2014 he left academia and founded Ecree, a technology company that specializes in a proprietary, interactive writing tool for students and teachers.

Dr. Heit is on a mission to nurture a generation of better writers and thinkers with widespread access to easy and adaptive writing software. With the Ecree technology, he’s found a way to provide consistent, timely, and quality feedback to students to ensure they develop lifelong skills for success.

The College Admissions Industry Podcast – Tests and the Rest

We recently came across a great podcast hosted by Mike Bergin and Amy Seeley. Twice a week on Tuesday and Friday they discuss the latest issues in testing, admissions, learning, and education with leading experts.

There have been 38 episodes so far (as of today’s date) and here is a list and direct links to each episode:

EPISODES

38. HOW TEST PREP TUTORING SHOULD WORK with Evan Wessler of Method Test Prep
37. BRINGING GRIT TO TESTING AND ADMISSIONS with researcher and author Laila Y. Sanguras, Ph.D
36. WHAT MOTIVATES STUDENTS AND HOW TO ENGAGE THEM with test prep professional Pranoy Mohapatra
35. ATTENDING A JESUIT UNIVERSITY with Xavier University Regional Recruitment Director Trace Althoff
34. HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO STUDY EFFECTIVELY with academic life coach Gretchen Wegner
33. PSAT AND THE NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP PROCESS with test prep professional and author Brian Stewart
32. MAKING THE MOST OF COLLEGE VISITS with independent educational consultant Jodi Rosenshein Atkin
31. WHAT COLLEGE BOARD AND ACT ARE DOING RIGHT with Ben Sexton, founder of Sexton Test Prep
30. ATTENDING A LARGE PUBLIC UNIVERSITY with OSU Admissions Counselor Keith Lofton
29. HOW PARENTS CAN BEST SUPPORT STUDENTS IN TEST PREP with Alexis Avila, founder and CEO of Prepped and Polished
28. THE REALITY OF GRADE INFLATION with Brian Eufinger, president of Edison Prep
27. COMMON MYTHS ABOUT THE SAT AND ACT with Daniel Ascher, President of A+ Test Prep and Tutoring
26. ALL ABOUT THE ROTC SCHOLARSHIP with consultant and author Lieutenant Colonel Robert O. Kirkland
25. WHEN GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS STRUGGLE with Shane Bybee, founder of Bybee College Prep
24. CHOOSING HIGH SCHOOL MATH COURSES STRATEGICALLY with author and educator Richard Corn
23. ATTENDING COLLEGE IN A BIG CITY with NYU Director of Admissions Billy Sichel
22. WHAT IS ACT SCIENCE ALL ABOUT? with author and test prep guru Michael Cerro
21. IMPLICATIONS OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL CONTEXT DASHBOARD with Travis Minor of Open Door Education
20. THERAPEUTIC SCHOOLS AND TEENS IN CRISIS with the CEO of Score At The Top Learning Centers, Jason Robinovitz
19. COLLEGE PRICE TRANSPARENCY with Dr. Mark Salisbury, co-founder of TuitionFit
18. USING MINDFULNESS FOR TEST AND SCHOOL SUCCESS with educator and author Logan Thompson
17. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SAT AND ACT GRAMMAR with author Erica L. Meltzer
16. HOW THE SAT IS ACTUALLY SCORED with Aaron Golumbfskie of Prep Matters
15. FINISHING A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE ON TIME with educational consultant Edie Steele
14. MATHEMATICAL MATURITY & TEST SUCCESS with author and test prep professional Dr. Steve Warner
13. THE RAMPANT COST OF COLLEGE with Paul Celuch, president and founder of College Assistance Plus
12. HOW SCHOOL AND PRIVATE COLLEGE COUNSELORS CAN WORK TOGETHER with counselor Cathy Charles Szendrey
11. TEEN ANXIETY AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS with psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Villani
10. DECIDING BETWEEN THE SAT AND ACT with Heather Krey, director of Test Prep for Success
9. COLLEGE ADVISING FOR UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS with Dr. Chris Tudico, school counselor at Saint Martin de Porres
8. BRINGING CRITICAL BALANCE TO HIGH SCHOOLERS’ LIVES with Eric Domroes, school counselor at Pittsford Mendon HS
7STATE OF THE TEST PREP INDUSTRY IN 2019 with Kevin Organisciak, founder of The Association for Test Prep, Admissions, and Private Tutoring (TPAPT)
6HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF ONLINE TEST PREP with Tom Ehlers, founder and president of Method Test Prep
5NEED BLIND AND NEED AWARE ADMISSIONS with educational consultant Jona Jacobson
4THE ROLE OF LIBRARIES IN TESTING AND ADMISSIONS with Deena Viviani, Young Adult Librarian at Brighton Memorial Library
3ACT SCORE REVIEW AND VALIDATION with Desiree Rodriguez-Gould, college counselor at St. Edward HS
2. PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF TESTING + Amy Seeley’s origin story
1. SAT & ACT TESTING TIMELINES + Mike Bergin’s origin story

Tests and the Rest is perfect for school counselors, educators, test prep professionals, college consultants, and just about anyone engaged in the college admissions process. You can subscribe to this podcast using this link: https://gettestbright.com/tests-and-the-rest/ or stream it via your favorite podcast app, including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Overcast. At around 25 minutes per episode, you can enjoy Tests and the Rest just about any time.

THE HOSTS

Mike Bergin is the president of Chariot Learning and founder of TestBright. Amy Seeley is the president of Seeley Test Pros. Between them, expect over 50 years of industry insight, expertise, insider news, and maybe a bit of sarcasm.

The Time I Screwed Up as a College Essay Coach

I have been working with students on college essays for decades. But I wasn’t as good at it in the beginning as I am now. As the writer-in-residence for my friends, family members and neighbors, my dining room became a coffee shop office for anyone applying to college who needed help with an application essay.

I was flattered. It felt good to be asked to help them with their college essays.

I knew how to tell a story; I knew how to write one. But I had no experience working with students applying to college, and I had never set foot inside an admissions office. (Not yet).

I was a writer and journalist, and I felt up for the challenge. I made brisket for my young friends. They loved me; I loved being loved. Even better, it made me feel good to see how happy they were, and how satisfied their parents were with the results.

I wasted a lot of time because I had no process; I was winging it. And these kids were at my house all the time. Rather than teach them how to write meaningful essays in their own words and their own voices, I helped too much, made myself too available, and worse than anything, I over-edited. At first, I didn’t even know how much I had needlessly marked up their essays.

Sound familiar? As a high school counselor, you might not get a chance to see a student essay till the end of the process. Or students might come to you to talk about their ideas, and then you won’t hear from them again until they think they are done. And they are not…

Sometimes the essays sound like those 5-paragraph essays composed in English class. Other times, they read like clichés (winning the competition, working as a camp counselor, going on a mission trip).

You might not be sure what to do or what to suggest. You become frantic, anxiously wanting to help. So, you might start marking up their essays with that red pen.

It’s not your fault, but that red pen won’t help the students, either.

In my former life as a journalist, and basically someone who liked helping out my friends and neighbors, my voice became way too prevalent in student essays. I was a writer without a teaching process. I knew what a good story sounded like. I had a knack for getting a story out of anyone. But I did not know how to help a student write a story.

When I read a final essay and heard my words in it, I knew I had overstepped: I stopped.

I evaluated what I was doing. I called Susan Knoppow; we had already done many writing projects together. I asked Susan if she could develop a curriculum for college essay coaching.

Susan said yes. She taught me how to teach and review without overstepping my role. That was more than 10 years ago. And that’s how Wow began.

I do things completely differently today. My students get the same me, just better qualified, hands-off and a lot more efficient. That’s because our Wow Method works, and I am living proof of that!

Want to learn more? Join Our Free Monthly Pro Chats

Every month, we host a free professional chat (it’s a short, 30-minute webinar!) for counselors and other professionals. She talks about timely matters and answers pressing questions.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry. Just sign up, and we’ll send you a recording.

Next up:

  • November 13: What can I expect from my students? Balancing willingness and ability


Register here.

About the Author

Kim Lifton, a 2018 Top Voice in Education, LinkedIn, is President of Wow Writing Workshop. We are a team of professional writers and teachers who understand the writing process inside and out. The Wow Method has been used by students to write application essays and resumes; by professionals to develop college essay boot camps and improve their essay coaching practices; and by English teachers to improve student writing skills.

To D or not to D: Obstacles and opportunities with digitized scholarships

Many of us still view scholarships as government help, or an odd altruistic act of a celebrity or gigantic corporation.


However, with the development of digital technologies and availability of scholarships from around the world, the scholarship landscape seems to be shifting. Plenty of small- and medium-sized businesses are announcing their own scholarships nowadays, which sometimes even turn into internships and employment. Sweet, right?


So, what are the most common obstacles we encountered, and some of the benefits that accompany these scholarships?


Digitized world, analog problems


Even though they are digital, these scholarships still require same administration.


Documents can be uploaded electronically and/or via app, but students still need to fill out an application and possibly write an essay. Whether it’s technical knowledge on how to fill out an application or write a good essay, or students’ motivation in question, these challenges need to be addressed by counselors.


Lurkers in the digital world


Digitized scholarships present an additional threat: that of scammers and data abuse, both of which are serious issues. Not all scholarship providers are legit, unfortunately.


The solution to these cyber-lurkers?


Find a reliable platform that screens all the scholarship providers and presents only the verified ones.


The upside of the digital world

Old administrative and motivational issues of scholarships, accompanied by new cyber pitfalls, might make you re-consider using digital platforms at all, but there are significant benefits to be gained.


The danger of scammers and data abuse is erased by choosing a serious platform (at ScholarshipOwl, for example, we check and verify every scholarship before we present it to our members).


That still leaves administration and essay writing, and this is where digital possibilities really become interesting.


Availability = time well-used


The biggest issue with scholarships today is, of course, finding the appropriate ones and recommending them to students with high chances of winning. Even then, odds are that the competition will be quite stiff.


Students invest themselves during this process and become de-motivated when they don’t get that scholarship. Is it any wonder their drive and interest are plummeting?


The common answer to this conundrum is to opt for loans – they are highly available, and provide financial means necessary for furthering education. We all know how that usually works out.


Digital platforms bring innumerable scholarships to the palm of your hand (literally). The algorithm of ScholarshipOwl platform, for example, matches students with scholarships tailored for them. This also means higher probability of them actually winning.


But the biggest benefit for counselors is the time that becomes available. With digital support, time spent on browsing heaps of scholarships and finding verified, relevant ones is cut down to minutes.


This is where real potential is for better time management – since the technical drudgery is eliminated, you free up time for the administrative side of scholarships, and helping with essays to get your students those stellar scholarships.


Are digital scholarship platforms worth it?

As with any well-balanced essay, the answer is: it depends.


On the one hand, an unstructured, unprofessional digital platform might leave you and your students with more problems than the traditional route.


On the other, a well-thought-out platform with loads of experience frees up lots of time and streamlines the application process, while connecting your students to scholarships they have high chances of winning.


The best would be to try it out – check out ScholarshipOwl’s website, or any other verified scholarship platform, and see firsthand how you and your students can benefit.

This blog was written by Scholarship Owl. They offer some other great free resources that might be of interest:

Free comprehensive guide on college scholarships
Documents you need for scholarship application
10 common mistakes with scholarship applications
Common mistakes when applying for college scholarships
Writing a cover letter
Writing a scholarship personal statement

Have any of your students considered taking a Gap Year?

If not, maybe they should. Mint.com has published a blog “The Ultimate Guide to Taking Your Dream Gap Year” that might be of interest to some of your students that are considering this option.

Why Students Should Consider Taking a Gap Year

Attending college can feel like a lot of pressure, especially if you aren’t positive what career path you want to take in life. Taking a gap year can help provide you some clarity on what your passions are, and help make you a well-rounded individual. It’s a big choice to make, but these benefits of taking a gap year may help you make your decision. 

Independence

For many young adults, college can feel like their first real moment of independence. But with class schedules, homework, studying, and authority figures like teachers and parents still having a say in at least some part of your life, how independent are you really? By taking a gap year, you have the opportunity to set out truly on your own for the first time.

Time to Reflect 

Our lives tend to be fast-paced, and time passes in the blink of an eye. It can be hard to find moments to take a step back and think about the big picture. By taking a gap year, you allow yourself time to figure out what you truly want for yourself out of life, and come up with a plan to achieve those goals. 

Learn a New Language and Culture

If you choose to take your gap year in a foreign country, it is a great opportunity to practice a new language. Understanding the language will help you become more socially integrated into your new community, which in turn will help you understand the culture. According to the Gap Year Association, 94% of people said they spent their time abroad learning how to communicate with people from different backgrounds. The ability to acknowledge and respect other cultures will allow you to be more open-minded throughout your life, including in the workplace where you may encounter various beliefs and values. 

Improve Career Opportunities 

Some people may view taking a year off of work or school as a setback, but in reality it can offer a lot of new opportunities for you. People who travel abroad and take a gap year have better people skills, strong problem-solving abilities, and possess a better sense of self. These characteristics are highly attractive to employers — but be ready to address these soft skills in your cover letter or a job interview. 

How to Save for a Gap Year

One factor that deters many from taking a gap year is the concern of how you can afford to take a year off to travel. Before you jet off on your new adventure, use these tips to help you save up the funds you’ll need to support yourself throughout the gap year. 

Set a Goal

Think about everything you want to accomplish during your gap year and put a monetary estimate on it. Consider things like transportation costs, housing, and various living expenses that you’ll have to afford throughout your 12 months. There are simple ways you can save money, like cutting back on your subscriptions, or you can make a plan to put a certain amount aside every paycheck that you’ll use for your gap year. 

Do Your Research  

While traveling abroad can offer you a lot of spontaneous experiences, planning your gap year should not. Before heading off on your adventure, research things like the cost of living and transportation. Countries in Southeast Asia are more affordable for someone traveling on a budget versus European countries. You’ll also want to understand the exchange rate in the countries you’ll be visiting to make sure you’re making the most of your dollar. 

Make Sacrifices 

While it’s not something that most 20-somethings want to do, in order to save money you may have to make some sacrifices. Social expenses like bar tabs, movie tickets, and eating out at restaurants can add up quickly and take away from your gap year budget. Cut back on these activities will be beneficial for your wallet and your health! 

Work As Much As Possible 

The purpose of a gap year is to take a break from our regular day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, but you will have to work hard beforehand. If your job allows, take on extra hours or shifts to earn more money. You may also want to consider a part-time job or side hustle to help you save additional funds.

Plan and Book Ahead

Once you’ve started saving additional money for your gap year, consider spending some of that extra cash on accommodations or travel. Booking these things at the last minute can end up costing you more, which may prevent you from doing everything you wanted during your gap year. Use platforms like Google Flights or Kayak to set up price tracking so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible deal. 

Money-Saving Tips During Your Gap Year

You’ve saved the money, made the plans, and on your way to somewhere new to begin your gap year. But once you arrive, it may be tempting to splurge and blow your budget. These tips will help you stick to your budgeting plan and ensure you come home with money to spare. 

Don’t Exchange Money at the Airport

While it’s super convenient to exchange money at the airport, it also comes with a high commission fee. If you know what regions you plan to visit, exchange cash at your bank before leaving for your trip. You can also wait until you get to the main part of the city you’re visiting to exchange, where you’ll likely find better rates. 

Carry a Prepaid Card 

If you choose to go to your bank and exchange money before leaving, also consider picking up a preloaded currency card as well. This card will help you avoid ATM and overdraft fees, keep a better handle on your spending, and even lock in the exchange rate. If possible, wait until the rate is favorable to load your card — a prepaid currency card will protect you from any rate fluctuations. 

Use a Budgeting App 

Your gap year is all about gaining experiences and creating memories, and sometimes those come at a price. From dinners with new friends, to drinks at a piazza, and excursions through exotic locations, you might see your money disappear more quickly than you anticipated. Using a budgeting app like Mint can help you see exactly what you’re spending your money on and help you make adjustments.

Applying for College After a Gap Year 

At some point, your adventure abroad and gap year has to come to an end. While you may not want to immediately get back into the swing of things, it’s important you take steps to prepare yourself for applying to college upon your return. 

Deferring Your Acceptance 

If you’ve applied to college, received your acceptance letter, and suddenly feel a bit hesitant about to head off to school in the fall, that’s okay. Universities and colleges are more commonly recognizing gap years as a way for students to grow and experience the world. Check with your college’s deferral policy, outline your gap year plans, and share with the admissions board for approval of your request to defer. 

Records and Transcripts

If you choose to take a gap year between high school and college, it is recommended that you discuss with your guidance or college counselor first. While many high schools will have your transcripts and records on file for a few years after graduation, it is important to confirm with your counselor that they will keep these for you. 

Standardized Test Scores

Your test scores will still be valid after you return from your gap year, if you take either the ACT or SAT before you leave. These scores are valid for five years, and you can request score reports through the tests respective websites. If you’re unhappy with your scores, you can always retake the tests — just be sure to continue studying throughout your gap year to ensure you’re prepared.  

Accounting for Your Gap Year

Approximately 40,000 Americans take a gap year between high school and college, so most admissions counselors are familiar with what they entail. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to provide an account for your year. Whether you choose to write your personal essay about your experience, or submit it as additional information with your application, be ready to clearly explain why you chose to take a year off and what you gained from the experience. 

Additional Resources

If you’re thinking about taking a gap year, there are a lot of factors to consider. It’ll take thoughtful planning, saving and budgeting to ensure you make the most of your time, but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. By taking a gap year before college, you can grow yourself into a more well-rounded individual and set yourself up for a successful college experience and full life.

Mint.com has some other great blogs for students. Check them out at: https://blog.mint.com/

Scholarship Opportunity for your Students

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 59% of students graduate college within 6 years. Scholarships can help your students cover some of the costs of attending College.

Course Hero is offering (3) three scholarships. Two (2) monthly scholarships are for $5,000 and their erit based opportunity is for $10,000. Details are below:

_______________________________________________________ 

MERIT BASED SCHOLARSHIP  

Scholarship Amount: Up to $10,000 
Application Deadline: October 31, 2019
Frequency: One recipient every six months 

Eligibility: 
– Must have a 3.0 GPA or higher 
– Must attend a university or plan to attend a university (a four-year or a two year college) 
– Must be a US Citizen 
– Must be at least 16 years old 
– Must submit an essay (500 words or less) 

Link to apply: www.coursehero.com/scholarships/  

ONGOING COURSE HERO SCHOLARSHIP  

Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,000 
Application Deadline: Continuous – new scholarships are added twice a month 
Frequency: Two recipients every month 

Eligibility: 
– Must attend a university or plan to attend a university (a four-year or a two year college) 
– Must be a US Citizen 
– Must be at least 16 years old 

Link to apply: www.coursehero.com/scholarships/ 

6 Reasons Your Students Should Take a Dual Enrollment Course and 3 Reasons They Should Think Twice

What is dual enrollment?

A dual enrollment course is a single course that provides a student with both high school and college credit. It can be taught at the student’s high school, at a community college, at a four-year college or online. The instructor will either be a professor at the college or a teacher at the student’s high school who has been approved by the college to teach the course.

What are some of the benefits of dual enrollment courses?

  • Students who earn college credit during high school may be able to transfer those credits to the college they ultimately choose to attend. If the course satisfies a general education requirement, the student will have more time in their college schedule to explore other interesting classes, study abroad or internships. If the transferred credits satisfy a prerequisite, the student will likely be placed directly into a higher level course. Students who take several dual enrollment courses during high school may earn enough credits to graduate early or complete a double major in four years.
  • Dual enrollment courses are a cost-effective way to earn college credit. Dual enrollment courses are generally much less expensive per credit than equivalent courses taken while enrolled in college. In some situations, dual enrollment courses are subsidized or can even be free.
  • Taking a dual enrollment course can help you get into college. Academic rigor is one of the most important factors in getting accepted to college and admissions counselors are impressed by students who challenge themselves academically in high school. Since dual enrollment courses are college level courses, a student who normally takes regular high school classes (not honors or AP) can use dual enrollment courses to show a willingness to take on an academic challenge and demonstrate an ability for success at the college level.
  • Dual enrollment courses give high school students the opportunity to practice being college students. They will enter college with a better understanding of a professor’s expectations and the amount of reading and writing required for an introductory level course.
  • If the course is offered at a local college, high school students will benefit from spending time on a college campus. This experience will likely ease the transition to college. Students will have the opportunity to interact with professors and teaching or graduate assistants. They will learn to navigate a campus and use a college library. High school students will also benefit from meeting and observing college students who may become friends, sources of information on college life and serve as role models.
  • Spending time on a college campus can assist students with the college search process. They will learn details about college life that will help them decide what kind of college would be a good fit for them. They will know what it feels like to attend a college of a certain size or in a certain location so their criteria for selecting a college will be more fully developed when they begin their college search. When they are later touring colleges, students will ask better questions and will have a context in which to place the answers they receive.

What are some drawbacks of dual enrollment courses?

  • Dual enrollment courses are not generally considered to be as rigorous as Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Academic rigor is important in the college admissions process. Admissions counselors will study a student’s transcript and compare the courses the student chose to the courses offered at his/her high school. Selective colleges are looking for students who take the most rigorous courses available. If a student is planning to attend a selective college, AP courses will be more impressive to college admissions counselors than non-AP dual enrollment courses.
  • The college a student ultimately chooses to attend may not accept the transfer of credits earned in dual enrollment courses. More selective colleges may limit the number of dual enrollment transfer credits they accept or may deny them entirely.
  • Some high schools do not weight dual enrollment courses in the same way that they weight honors and AP classes when calculating a student’s grade point average (GPA). Therefore, students who typically take honors and AP classes could find that even an A in a dual enrollment course brings down their GPA. For this reason, students should discuss their specific circumstances with their high school counselor before enrolling in a dual enrollment course.

Dual enrollment courses are unique educational opportunities that can offer significant advantages for the right student. When deciding whether to take a dual enrollment course, students should think about their college goals, compare the courses available to them at their high school and discuss their options with their school counselor.

Michelle McAnaney is the founder of The College Spy, a full service independent educational consulting firm that assists students and families across the US and internationally with the college selection and application process. Prior to founding The College Spy, Michelle was a guidance counselor and educator for more than 15 years, including serving as the Director of Guidance at two high schools, an adjunct college professor and a GED tutor. Michelle holds a master’s degree in school counseling and a bachelor’s degree in human development. She recently completed UC Irvine’s certificate program in educational consulting and is a MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Certified Practitioner and a NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner. Michelle visits over 40 colleges each year so that she has first-hand knowledge of the colleges and universities her clients will be considering. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Fall for Ed Tech with Five Free Tech Tools to Foster Engagement

If the weather is cooling, the leaves are changing colors, and you are wondering, “Where has the time gone and why am I starting another year staying late at work?” you might be a teacher!

Many educators view the start of the new school year as the ideal time to set professional and personal goals. They reflect on challenges from the previous year and insights from colleagues about how to connect students to content. They consider their work-life balance and strive for ways to work smarter, not harder.

What were your goals for the new school year? Less time on paperwork and grading? Collect data and assess student growth more efficiently? Stretch your budget with free resources? It’s not too late to make those dreams a reality! There are several free educational technology tools that can help every educator to achieve their goals! Many have paid add-on features, but the free version is sufficient to explore and meet your goals.

Access free, engaging lessons for every content area and grade level.

Nearpod is a presentation platform, a student engagement tool, a way to collect data organically, a resource for lessons, and so much more! The best way to learn about Nearpod is to sign up for a free account. On your homepage, select “Explore Lessons” from the drop-down menu on the right side of the screen. From there you can search for lessons in your content area. To get started, search “Teaching Tolerance” for examples of free lessons for all grade levels that are ideal for social studies/history teachers, literacy teachers, school counselors and others. Another great resource is “Common Sense Media” for digital citizenship lessons for all grade levels. You can also simply type in the content area you teach and scroll through lessons.

Assess learning and engage students in short, video-based reflections.

Flipgrid is increasingly popular with educators because the video discussion platform gives each child a voice. It allows every student to participate and share insights and feedback. Rather than relying upon standard hand-written exit cards (which limits communication to one-directional feedback: from the student to teacher), Flipgrid allows students to share responses in short videos. This is especially helpful to foster continued student engagement and provides a platform for students who struggle with writing to express themselves. Educators use Flipgrid for icebreakers, reflections on lessons, feedback, conversation, and so much more! Responding in a 90-second video clip to a reflection question means students are focused on content and learning and it helps students to make meaningful connections to the material and to each other!

Schedule meetings with ease.

Meeting coordination is a time-consuming task for educators. Often just planning a parent meeting with a group of educators with different prep periods can take more time than the actual meeting! The process often results in a series of frustratingly long chains of emails from colleagues sharing who is available and not available and reasons why. How can one cut through the clutter and schedule meetings easily? Simple! Check out Doodle! Select a series of dates/times and share out the link. As people respond, it’s easy to see when most people are available to schedule a meeting. One of the great things about Doodle is the ease of use. Respondents do not need to sign up for an account to respond. Doodle isn’t limited to meetings; you can use it to vote on the location for the next staff happy hour, book club selection, and more!

Organize your schedule and collaborate with colleagues.

Are you a perpetual “to-do” list maker? Are you a fan of post-it notes for reminders? If so, check out Google Keep! It’s essentially shareable notes with links and pics in your pocket. You can categorize to-dos by shopping lists, household chores, work tasks and more. Share notes with family or colleagues to make checking off items a collaborative process. For example, a shared shopping list means anyone in your household can add to it and any family member who hits the local market can review the list and cross off purchased items. Many students use Google Keep to keep track of homework and other tasks. The reminder feature is helpful to schedule reminders at the start of each class period to nudge forgetful students to write down assignments. Many students share the note with parents who can easily see what the homework is and when their child crosses off each completed assignment at home. No need to ask, “Did you do your homework?” A parent can simply check Google Keep and see their child’s progress.

Educators share Google Keep notes for shared projects. Planning a big event at school like a club project, talent show, graduation, or career fair? No need for check-ins on progress when it’s easy to check the to-do list!

Automatically grade assessments and easily collect data.

Use Google Forms to collect data, grade quizzes, and more! Educators love using EZ Analyze and other similar add-ons to automatically grade quizzes and track time on tasks. There are lots of add-ons that allow users to automatically email respondents, students, families, etc… The investment in automation can feel daunting at first, but it saves a considerable amount of time in the end.

Let this school year be the year you take control of your schedule by using educational technology tools that allow you to engage more, be more efficient, and provide you with a platform to take back control of your time. The job of educators can be all-consuming. We invest our hearts and souls into what we do. Being more mindful about our tasks can free up time to be more proactive and even take less work home. Implementing educational technology to streamline tasks is a form of self-care that will yield benefits for your students and for you.

Angela Cleveland, M.S.Ed., M.Ed., MA has 15 years of experience as a school counselor, is a Google Certified Educator, and she is the 2017 NJ School Counselor of the Year. Angela is the Webmaster for the New Jersey School Counselor Association (NJSCA) and has presented internationally about technology integration. Angela co-authored the book 50+ Tech Tools for School Counselors: How to Be More Engaging, Efficient, and Effective from Corwin Press.

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