Students Should Take Advantage of All College Has to Offer

Posted by Dolly Duplantier on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 @ 02:59 PM

There are many words I would prefer my children not use (even though they’ve heard a few of them at home!). However, there are three words I hope I never hear them say - "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda!" (Okay, technically those aren’t words, but I’m sure you get my meaning.)

As my children begin their college years, I want them to take advantage of everything this time in their life has to offer. It’s not just about getting your money’s worth – although that’s an important lesson – whether you are paying tuition or your kids are taking out loans. This is the time to take risks. Try new things. Meet new people. Step out of your comfort zone.

There are many things I wish I had done during my college years (and maybe a few I wish I had not done!). I wish I had developed more of a relationship with teachers and sought their advice. I also wish I had taken more advantage of clubs, school organizations, and service work, but I let self-doubt and fear prevent me from taking those risks. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with my life. I had a wonderful college experience. Hindsight is 20/20. Things happen for a reason, but I don’t want my kids to have regrets about not taking chances. Four years (or maybe five or six!) go by very quickly. It’s a great time of life to discover who you are, find friends with different opinions and passions, and transition from child to adult. So, as my second son begins this new phase, I’ve consulted the highest authorities – nostalgic parents, friends, and recent college graduates to offer their words of wisdom. Will he listen? I honestly don’t know. Maybe, though, these pearls of wisdom will remain in the back of his mind when an opportunity presents itself. And, instead of looking the other way because it might require effort and risk, he might just hear that little voice of mine and decide to go for it.

So, here’s a quick list for college students to consider as they get ready for school. If those of us that have graduated could go back, these are the things we would do differently! 

Wish Lists from the "Woulda Coulda Shoulda’s"lsutiger_stadium

1. I wish I had gone to more events...ballgames, rallies, etc.

2. I wish I had served on a student government board.

3. I wish I had spent more time meeting individually with professors to pick their brains. I view it as a missed opportunity.

4. I wish I had done more volunteering.

5. I wish I had joined an Engineering club.

6. Sometimes, I wish I had gone to school out of town.

7. I wish I had taken my undergraduate studies more seriously.

8. I wish I had understood that it wasn't about the points to get a certain grade, but that it should have been about really learning. Graduate school was a rude awakening.

9. I wish I had gone to college with a more open mind and not a specific major.

10. I wish I had switched majors.

11. I wish I had traveled abroad.

12. I wish I had gone to the Bruce Springsteen concert rather than study for an anatomy test. (Okay, I’m not advocating choosing a concert over studying. However, every student needs to take a break once in a while. It’s good to recharge! And, no, this wasn’t me.)

10 Suggestions from current students, teachers and alums:

1. Go to Class!

2. Get out there and enjoy it all. Take it seriously and always do your best.

3. Sign up for a club.

4. Utilize resources available on campus, including services like writing centers and tutoring.10264317_10152504222274744_8343547831175655741_n

5. Volunteer on campus or at local organizations. Take time to help others.

6. Develop a good relationship with your professors. They can be great mentors. Take advantage of their office hours. You want the people who determine your grades to know your name and that you're working hard. They can also clarify course material, provide guidance on papers, and offer tips on how to prepare for tests.

7. Study abroad for a full year. (If a year is too long for you, consider studying abroad for one semester, the summer, or holiday breaks.)

8. Take computer classes even if they are not required for your major.

9. Get to know the history and traditions of your school.

10. Reach out and meet new people.

What are your suggestions and tips for incoming freshmen and current college students? Did we miss anything? Share your words of wisdom here!

 

 Photo credit: Dolly Duplantier & Delta Upsilon, Global Service Initiative Trip 

Topics: back to school, education, volunteering, higher ed, service, graduates, opportunities, college major, higher education, college, involvement, College advice

Going on Tour – The College Visit: 15 Questions to Ask

Posted by Dolly Duplantier on Thu, May 01, 2014 @ 11:47 AM

In part three of our series about college visits, we share questions to ask and tips to make it a memorable day.

 A Mother’s Confession – My husband and I had a far better time on the college tours than my son did. That may have been because with every question I asked, he sank deeper and deeper into his chair! Even though you may be thrilled about the next stage in your child’s life, don’t be surprised if your student isn’t as motivated as you are about these visits.

However, this is the time to ask important questions – for you and for your child.  Whether you’re footing the bill, or your student is taking out loans, it’s a costly venture. Don’t be shy about getting as much information as possible. 

In the Beginning

College tours usually begin with a general presentation in a classroom or lecture hallUniversity of Tampa on campus. If your child is not one to appreciate your eager quest for knowledge, tell him or her to sit in the back and pretend they don’t know you. Many of your basic questions will probably be addressed in this presentation. However, I always had to raise my hand. I just couldn’t help myself. Whether it was about campus security, alcohol awareness, support for out-of-state students, or just some question that my son thought was totally lame, I needed answers to calm my parental anxiety. I think it was part of the process of letting go. I never let his embarrassment bother me. I embraced it.

After the general presentation, you will be assigned to a tour guide – usually a college student.
Depending on how groups are arranged, you could ask for a student with interests similar to those of your child. That way, you can ask specific questions as you walk through campus. The tour will usually hit the highlights of the university – a few specific buildings where classes are held, the university center, the library, the quad or field where students hang out between classes, the bookstore, maybe the recreational center, and finally at least one dorm or dining hall.

You won’t see everything the school has to offer on your tour. However, use this opportunity to ask to see things “not” on the tour. For example, if your child is a swimmer, ask to see the pool, or meet with a coach. If your future college student excels in a particular subject, ask if there’s a chance you can meet with teachers or sit in on a class.

My son was interested in playing club water polo at LSU. He contacted the club's president via e-mail. While we weren’t able to meet with him that day, we were able to visit where they practiced and played - venues not on the scheduled tour.

“The better my visit was, the more I wanted to go there,” said Jane Berry, a sophomore at Brandeis University. “Whether it was the information session, or the person who gave the tour, I think it drastically impacted what I eventually ended up deciding.”

Christine Scalise, a Chicago mother of three teenage boys, agrees. She found her tour of the University of Tampa welcoming and very informative. “Going on tour and seeing the school helped make the decision.”

Reading Assignments

As you walk through campus, take note of the many school publications, flyers, etc. This is great material to review when you are waiting to meet with counselors, financial aid, or while you’re taking a coffee break. It’s also great information to look through when you return home.

“We took all relevant brochures and we picked up campus newspapers,” said Terri Stuckey, a mother of two college students and a high school junior.  “You can learn a lot from the campus publications. They provide insight into what the kids are talking about or what the campus is like. Even the ads can give you a snapshot of what life is like at school.”

Charles Basden, Jr., coordinator, special projects, for George Washington University, a member of the NobleHour Network, also suggests looking at local publications near the school, as well as relevant academic publications to gauge how the school's reputation is relative to the greater population in the city.

Take A Good Look

Encourage your son or daughter to actually look at the university students. Do they seem happy and engaged? Are they polite and informative? Give your kids time to speak with students on their own. Interaction with them can provide a wealth of information. 

Katie McKnight brought her daughter, Ellie, and two of her friends to visit William & Mary.college tours Once the girls finished their interviews and had lunch, she told them it was time for them to explore - without her! 

Dr. McKnight is a college professor of secondary education/literacy for National Louis University in Chicago. "I think it's important for students to explore a campus on their own without parents hovering over them at all times. They need to talk to other students, listen to the campus, and observe. My daughter, not me, needs to decide if a particular college is the right fit."

Mom Tips

Whether your future college student is excited or not, embrace the day. Yes, it’s about them, but it’s about you too. You’ve put in a long 16-18 years raising this wonderful teenager. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy this occasion.

No matter what your teenager says or does, just smile at them with that, “I love you and am so proud of you look.” They can’t compete with that. But, remember, even though it’s exciting, it’s still stressful for them. 

Next, wear comfortable shoes, and bring the following:

1. Sweater or sweatshirt

2. Small backpack or bag

3. Bottle of water

4. Pen and small notebook

5. Camera

6. Umbrella

7. Sunscreen

You could be on your feet for an hour or two depending on the size of the campus. Some larger universities may have shuttles, but you will still need to walk between certain areas. Remember, especially for southern schools – it may be warm and sunny outside, but airconditioning inside can feel like a walk-in cooler. You can freeze just waiting for the presentation to begin. A bottle of water comes in handy when you can’t leave the group to get something to drink.

Stash some sunscreen, a hat and even an umbrella in the car. The bookstore usually sells inexpensive rain ponchos if you get caught in a sudden storm. Be prepared for any weather. You spent a lot of money getting there and the tour goes on no matter what.  Don’t forget that this is really a wonderful milestone in your child’s life and yours. Take some pictures!

“It was good to have that one-on-one time,” said Scalise. “We could really discuss the pros and cons of going away. It helps the kids know what to do and it’s very comforting to the parents as well."

Relax. It’s Just A Few Questions!

The one thing I learned about my son is that he doesn’t like to ask questions. And, he doesn’t like his mother to do it either. If your child is embarrassed by your thoughtful and intelligent questions, seize the opportunity to tell them what they often tell you – “Relax!”  Assure them that no one at orientation will say – “Oh, you’re that boy with the mom who asked all the silly questions on the tour!”

So here’s a sampling of the questions that made my son cringe and move to the back row. 

1. How hard is it to get the classes you want? For example, if you need to take specific classes to graduate – are they only offered in the spring? If this is the case, and you can’t get in to the class, it may take you longer to graduate.

2. How big are the classes? Ask different students how many kids are in their largesst class and how many are in their smallest class.

3. What percentages of courses do professors teach versus teaching assistants? It’s normal for some classes or labs to be taught by TA’s, but when you’re shelling out all that tuition money or your child is taking on huge loans, you don’t want all of their classes taught by TA’s.

4. What is the student to professor ratio?

5. Ask about the student population – percentage of males vs. females, locals vs. out-of-state, diversity, etc.

6. What sort of transportation do they offer if your student does not have a car?

7. How many years of on-campus housing are guaranteed? Is it required?

8. When are scholarship deadlines?

9. What is the acceptance rate?

10. What are the school’s campus safety initiatives? What measures do they take regarding safety, weather emergencies, etc.?

11. Do they have an alert system? Many schools now have text alert systems. 

12. Ask about the facilities. What types of services do they offer – health center, recreation center, counseling, etc.?

13. Do they require alcohol/drug awareness seminars?

14. Do they offer career services?

15. What will be the return on investment by going to your school?

My last tip – when the tour is over, have your teenager remove her headphones and do your best to engage her in a conversation about what she liked and didn't like.

McKnight's daughter surprised her. Despite their visits to Dartmouth, Emory, and William & Mary, Ellie decided to attend Brandeis University, a school they did not visit until she was admitted and had already accepted the offer. McKnight asked Ellie if she was sure she wanted to accept before visiting the campus. "Yes," said Ellie. "I've been researching, visiting, and learning about colleges for the last year. I know what I want and even though I haven't visited Brandeis, it has what I want."

McKnight doesn't think her daughter would've been so resolute in committing to a college she had not visited if she hadn't already been on a tour. "College is about furthering one's individual identity and I think the visit is one of those first opportunities to to do so."

Please share your college tour experiences with us. What are your most important questions? 

Photo credits: Christine Scalise and Katie McKnight

Check out Part 1 and 2 of our series -

Spring Break is a Good Time to Start College Visits

Scheduling College Tours? Begin With Basic Questions. 

 

 

 

 

Topics: spring break, education, higher ed, high school, parents, graduates, college admissions, college applications, higher education, college, college tours, college visits, career, alternative spring breaks

Scheduling College Tours? Begin with Basic Questions.

Posted by Dolly Duplantier on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 @ 02:21 PM

In part two of our series on college visits, we discuss how to decide which schools to visit and when to schedule tours.

It’s time to face facts. You can’t put it off any longer. The little boy who held your hand whilescheduling college tours
walking into kindergarten and the sweet little girl who used to wear pigtails are in the final stages of determining where to go to college. Yes, college.

You’re ready now. You can do this. It’s time to start the college tours. While it might be easy for you as a parent to just handle it and schedule a few visits, it’s important your student is involved in the process. Before you begin booking flights or packing up the car, have your student do a little legwork.

Parameters

Have a discussion with your child. Talk about parameters. Do they want to go to a school in a big city or something more suburban or rural? Does the size of the campus matter? Consider categories – SEC versus Big Ten, small private school versus big state school, religious versus secular. Does your daughter want to go out of state? Talk about regions of the country. Does your son want to be on the west coast or the east coast, south or north? Does your student have a specific major in mind? Do they want to play sports or have a particular talent – theater, dance, music?

If you’re lucky, you might get something more than, “I don’t know.” My friend’s daughter has grown up in a very urban environment. She’s decided she wants to experience a more rural campus. We live in the Midwest. My son’s one major requirement is to be someplace warm! Keep asking questions to narrow down the list.

Have your child review college guidebooks and online sources like Fiske, Princeton ReviewBarron’s, or U.S. News and World Report.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your child’s high school counselor before you visit schools. This person should know something about your student and could offer suggestions about which schools to consider. The counselor may also personally know college admission representatives or put you in touch with recent high school alums at different universities.

“The College Board has a Campus Visit Guide that can assist families in starting the process ofcollege applications determining schools to visit," said Deborah Kammerer, associate director recruitment & yield, 
UC San Diego Office of Admissions & Relations with Schools, a member of the NobleHour Network. "It includes information on things to consider before you visit, ways to learn about schools online, a checklist for campus visits, and testimonials from students on how campus visits assisted in their college selection process.” 

Another resource that may appeal to your savvy social media student is to have them check out the Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or other forms of social media used by the universities that interest them.

As your child begins his research, encourage him or her to highlight 10-20 schools. Some kids may choose more, others far less. It’s just to get them thinking about where they want to go and to take ownership of their future. Once they have their picks, ask them why the schools are on the list. Be prepared for some lame answers, but keep digging. Maybe it’s the location. Maybe it’s the courses they offer. Maybe it’s because the football team won the national championship. Or, possibly, it’s because it’s the furthest school from you and all these questions!

“We told our kids to look through the lists and pick 20 schools that interest them,” said Terri Stuckey, a mother of two college students and a junior in high school. “Then, we went over the list and asked them why they found those schools interesting. I was into it more than my kids. The parents have to get it started though.”

“I was against visiting any schools until I had narrowed down my college options to two,” said Ellie McKnight, a senior in high school in Chicago. “My mom insisted we go on a college tour last spring break. Although I think most stuff about the school you can learn online, the visit on campus allowed the great opportunity to talk to faculty.”

McKnight said visiting the schools solidified her interest in William & Mary in Virginia, and Dartmouth in New Hampshire. It also sparked an interest in Emory University in Georgia.

Stay In Contact

If your child is like mine and doesn’t often check his e-mail, have him use your address or a new account to sign up for ACT, SAT and college information. Once my son completed the personal information sections for ACT and SAT, we started getting e-mails from universities all over the place. Some sites will also ask for a parent e-mail address, so you can keep on top of the information as well. It can be overwhelming. Stuckey said she created a college folder and moved e-mails into it every day and then reviewed them weekly. “I deleted some and responded to some, mostly asking for more information. I did the same with the paper mail too.”

Logistics

Stuckey said once they narrowed it down, she then looked at universities located inEmory cities allowing flexible travel arrangements. They looked at cities with major airports, non-stop flights, or areas where they could visit more than one college in one trip. Also, if they had to fly, they committed to visiting at least two schools to make the trip more cost-effective.

“We tried to travel when the kids were off school and took advantage of times when other high school students were in school.” Being from New Orleans, Stuckey used the Mardi Gras break to visit schools. 

Jane Berry, a sophomore at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, said her mom made a planner for their visits together. “She mapped out our road trip with cool places to stay and facts about the school. This made a huge difference for me and made me really consider some Midwest schools.”

While it may be convenient to schedule tours during holiday and summer breaks, it doesn’t always give you a true picture of the campus. “It is also nice to visit the college or university during the academic year, when school is in session, to get a true sense of the campus atmosphere,” said Kammerer.

Stuckey agrees. “The best time to do a tour is when school is in session. Summer is okay if classes are in session or if there’s a new student orientation going on.”

Another option to maximize time and minimize out-of-town expense is to wait for acceptance letters to help determine which schools to visit. “We visited schools that we didn’t get a chance to see initially and also did some second visits to help make decisions,” said Stuckey.

“UC San Diego hosts a day just for admitted students and their families called Triton Day,Triton Day said Kammerer. “It’s a great opportunity for admitted students to explore the campus and the variety of opportunities available.”

Scheduling

“Planning a visit may vary from institution to institution, but many universities including UC San Diego offer an online registration site that allows visitors to schedule their campus tour,” said Kammerer.

Stuckey said almost all schools have a “Plan Your Visit” section on their websites with information about flights, travel agencies, car rentals, and lodging. Always ask if they offer discounts for college visits.

Many schools have open house events with tours, presentations, etc. You can check each school’s website in their admission section for dates and information about attending those events or to schedule individual tours. Tours are offered throughout the week and sometimes on Saturdays. Depending on the university, you may be able to sit in on a class, visit professors, meet coaches or visit with students.

“At Emory, my tour allowed me to get in contact with the dean of admissions, which definitely impacted how I viewed the school,” said McKnight.

“The availability of group and individual tours and spending the night on a campus will vary across universities,” said Kammerer. “In terms of travel and accommodations, it is best to plan ahead. Many institutions host links to area visitor offices and hotel sites on their tour page.”

“Most times when a student is closer to making up their mind about attending a particular school, it is recommended that the student revisit if possible and perhaps stay overnight to get a more robust experience,” said Charles Basden, Jr., coordinator, special projects, for George Washington University, a member of the NobleHour Network.

Basden also suggests inquiring about potential special situation funds universities may have to help assist families with their effort to visit campus.

Stuckey advises staying as close to campus as possible. It’s a great way to learn more about the community. When I visited LSU with my son, we stayed at the Cook Hotel right on campus. We could walk through the university grounds, meet and speak with students along the way and we were able to get a feel for campus life.

Also, when making travel arrangements, consider arriving on campus early or staying a few hours after the tour. There’s nothing worse than missing a casual opportunity to visit with students, professors, financial aid representatives, or admission counselors because you have to rush off to catch a flight. Remember, if it’s a group tour, there will be other parents who want to meet with university staff also. Be prepared to wait.

Have a cup of coffee at the local café or the bookstore. Grab lunch in the dining hall or dinner at a favorite university hangout. Walk around campus on your own. It’s a great opportunity to speak with students and ask them questions about school. “Kids get a strong feeling about the campus and the people they meet on campus,” said Stuckey.

Next time - Part III - Going on Tour and questions, lots of questions!

Part I - Spring Break is a Good Time to Start College Visits

Photo credits: Dolly Duplantier, Terri Stuckey, and UC San Diego Publications/Erik Jepsen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: education, higher ed, high school, community, parents, graduates, opportunities, college admissions, college applications, college major, higher education, college, college tours, college visits, virtual tours

How Volunteering and Service Can Help with College Admissions

Posted by Dolly Duplantier on Wed, Nov 06, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

By NobleHour Special Contributor, Dolly Duplantier

Look at any college admissions application and once you get past the demographics, the next top sections comprise grades, standardized test scores and activities.

High school volunteersWhile extracurricular activities and leadership skills have always been a part of the admissions process, universities are now looking more closely at an applicant’s community engagement and student volunteering record. However, before your high schooler starts racking up miscellaneous hours for some magical number, keep in mind that today’s college admissions counselors aren’t just looking for quantitative data. They want to know why your student is doing service work.

“We are seeing more and more high schools and middle schools require service hours,” said Vincent Ilustre, founding executive director of Tulane University's Center for Public Service (CPS). “We’re looking beyond that, for stellar community service activities.”

Ilustre said they make a distinction between filling a high school quota of 100-200 hours and long term sustained involvement. “We are looking for more depth in how they frame their activities. What is the rhyme and reason? Why did the student take on a particular project? We look into what they do, but it’s not the only thing that dictates if they get in.”

Tulane is nationally known for its own service curriculum. “We are a leader in terms of how we look at public service and what our students do here,” said Faye Tydlaska, the school’s director of undergraduate admissions. “We award approximately 20 Community Service Scholarships each year, and those students go on to be Fellows in our Center for Public Service once they are at Tulane.”

Tulane created CPS in response to the numerous community projects going on after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. University officials understood first hand that public service rooted in an academic context would contribute to the development of student civic engagement. Tulane has won numerous awards for their efforts to serve the New Orleans community.

“Most higher educational institutions now have offices similar to Tulane’s Center for Public Service,” said Ilustre.

According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities personal and social responsibility are core elements of a 21st century education. A recent survey of its nearly 1,300 members revealed that many institutions are placing more emphasis on civic education.

Tydlaska agrees that more and more of Tulane’s peers are focusing on public service. For student volunteering to have a true impact, Tulane looks for deep, ongoing community engagement. Students concentrating on one or two projects for a couple of years will get noticed as opposed to those just completing tasks for service hour requirements.

“We make a distinction between requirements for school and something above and beyond,” she said. “We look at their level of involvement in their projects. For example, are they organizing a can drive or just collecting cans?”

“Most students going to elite universities are coming from high schools that require service,” said Ilustre. “So you have to be able to synthesize why.”

Ilustre would like to see high schools encourage their students to be  about their projects. It’s not just about reporting hours anymore. Students who stand out are able to talk more about what they are learning. They can reflect on their activities, discuss the impact of their service and why it is important to them and their community. A deeper level of community service will make them stand out.”

Many factors come into play in determining whether or not an applicant is accepted. “We look at how much interest a student shows in the university, why they want to attend Tulane, and letters of recommendation among other things,” said Tydlaska.

Student volunteering could potentially help an applicant that is on the fence. If two students are academically the same, Ilustre said the one dedicated to community service would have a better chance of being admitted.

Tydlaska suggested that if students are interested in volunteering, they should look for opportunities involving their own interests. The first year or two of high school are a good time to explore different topics. “Start early on and then focus on one or two main issues or projects.”

Ilustre agreed. “Freshman year is a great opportunity to explore what’s out there. Students should sample different types of activities or topics that really interest them and then take it a step further. “

As students mature, they should find a specific project or issue that is important to them. They should research organizations that support their interests. Students who want to stand out will delve deeper and get more excited about their community engagement. 

Ilustre also believes being passionate about a specific cause or issue could help students determine where they want to go to college and what they want to study. “If you have a particular interest, see if there are colleges that can support your passion.”

Tydlaska has seen all sorts of civic engagement in the applications that cross her desk - from students working locally with Habitat for Humanity to going abroad to help children and adults in need.

”You don’t need to go across the world. What’s important is that you find what you are passionate about. Go with your passion whether it’s local, regional, national or international.” - Faye Tydlaska, Tulane University

Both Tydlaska and Ilustre agree that it’s not necessarily important where you do your community service. ”You don’t need to go across the world,” he said. “What’s important is that you find what you are passionate about. Go with your passion whether it’s local, regional, national or international.”

global volunteeringTydlaska adds that whatever type of student volunteering is chosen, it should be authentic. “If it’s not authentic, don’t pursue it. If your passion is sports, writing, music, etc. - pursue your talent in those areas.”

“It’s really heartwarming and encouraging to see so many students engaged in community service and wanting to make a difference,” said Tydlaska. “We see some extraordinary students. They’ve done a host of incredible things. Some have started non-profit races for specific causes. These are fully civic engaged students.”

Do you want to help your son or daughter become more engaged in student volunteering and community service? Check out the NobleHour website for service opportunities, as well as ways to track hours and reflect on volunteering experiences.  Has your high school student’s community engagement made a difference in his or her college applications? Tell us how.

 

 

Topics: service learning, volunteering, community service, high school, civic engagement, graduates, college admissions, college applications, involvement

Scholarships for Student Volunteers

Posted by Natasha Derezinski-Choo on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 @ 02:00 PM

This post was written by NobleHour Special Contributor Natasha Derezinski-Choo.

Volunteerism is not only great for the community, but it can also benefit young volunteers by creating opportunities for scholarships. Several programs exist to reward students for their service to the community and help them finance their higher education.  Here are a few examples of volunteer scholarships:
  • The Prudential Spirit of Community Award “is the United States' largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.”  This award is available to students in grades 5-12 who have engaged in community service and leadership over the last year.  The deadline for applications this year is November 5th, and the winners will be announced on February 11th, 2014.  Winners are selected on the local, state, and national level.  A special awards ceremony for state winners is held in Washington, DC.  A $5,000 award is given to winners who progress to the national level.  The Spirit of Community program encourages service on an international platform, awarding students in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, and China.

  • The Best Buy Scholarship Program awards 1,100 scholarships each year to high schools students who show strength in both academics and volunteerism.  The scholarship money is given for higher education.  In addition to academic records and extracurricular activities, students are asked to provide a record of their service-learning hours when applying.

    Students receive a scholarship from NobleHour for their volunteer service.
  • The Gloria Baron Prize for Young Heros annually recognizes 25 outstanding young leaders. The founder of the Barron Prize, author T. A. Barron, named it after his late mother Gloria. Gloria Barron was a teacher, a mother, and an active member of her community.  She dedicated her life to young people, encouraging her students to write their stories down and urging them to do something to better the world.  She believed in the power of the individual, particularly a young individual's ability to better the greater community. Young people across America can be nominated for the award after completing a service project that makes "a significant positive difference to people and our planet."  Nominations are accepted until April 30, and winners are announced late September.  Of the 25 selected, the top ten receive $5,000 to be applied to their higher education or to their service project, a recognition plaque, a signed copy of "The Hero's Trail" by T.A. Barron, and other awards. The Barron Prize seeks to recognize the inspiring work of young people.
  • The retail store Kohl’s offers the Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program for students aged 6-18 who have not yet graduated from high school.  The program has recognized 17,500 students and granted over three million dollars in scholarships.  Students are nominated and selected based on the impact their volunteer hours had on the community.  Winners from each store receive a $50 Kohl's Gift Certificate.  The most meaningful projects are selected from each region and awarded $1000, and national winners receive a $10,000 scholarship plus a donation of $1000 to a nonprofit valued by the student.  The award monies for region and national winners are used toward the student's higher education.  Nominations for the 2014 Kohls Cares Scholarship Program will be open from January 31-March 14, 2014.

    These are just some examples of scholarships for volunteers provided by private institutions, but several publicly funded programs also exist to recognize volunteerism:

    Several Government scholarships exist to award students for their service and help them pay for higher education.  AmeriCorps, a branch of the Corporation for National and Community Service*, encourages young people to dedicate a year to service working with a nonprofit, school, public agency, or community.  Students earn valuable skills, become civically minded, and gain experience valued in the workforce—where they are heading after their year of service.  For their volunteer work, students receive a small stipend to cover living expenses, since in dedicating all their time to volunteering, they have no other source of income.  They also receive benefits such as healthcare and childcare during their time as a volunteer.  Upon finishing a term of volunteerism, students are eligible to apply for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award*, which awards volunteer scholarship money to be put towards paying for higher education or repaying student loans.  The scholarship award is valued at the maximum Pell Grant during the year of service.  Members of AmeriCorps can receive up to two Education Awards if they volunteer for more than one term.  This program not only encourages young people to serve and become active and dedicated to a cause, it also helps them pay for their higher education.

  • The President’s Volunteer Service Award*, previously discussed on NobleHour, also recognizes volunteers who, alongside their daily lives, track hundreds of hours helping in the community.  Applicants are asked to produce some type of log as proof of their volunteer hours.  Tracking volunteer hours on using NobleHour’s hour-tracking software is a way to accomplish this.

Volunteer scholarships are a great opportunity to help reward and recognize students for their work and help them pay off their tuition.  What are some other ways students can use their talents to overcome the challenges of today’s rising tuition fees?

*For the time being, volunteers are unable to apply for these programs and awards due to the federal government shutdown. More information about the effects of the government shut down can be read in the Corporation for National and Community Service’s contingency plan.

Topics: service learning, service, education, millenials, volunteering, graduates, volunteering nonprofit, community, civic engagement, community engagement, CNCS, outreach, opportunities, youth impact, volunteer management, scholarships

NobleHour Awards Scholarships for Students' Volunteer Service

Posted by Keara Ziegerer on Tue, Jul 02, 2013 @ 04:56 PM

On Sunday, NobleHour awarded three scholarships to students at Guilford County Schools’ annual “Cool to Serve” event. Hundreds of graduates attended the event, which celebrated the class of 2013’s service-learning accomplishments.

NobleHour Service-Learning Scholarship Winners

Jose Oliva received the NobleHour Platinum Award - $1,000 for having the "Most Impactful Service-Learning Project", Austin Elmore won $500 for the "Best Social/Global Impact Service-Learning Project, and Billy Hawkains won $250 for the Best Community/Civic Engagement Service-Learning Project. 

“...For me, helping people is not about awards, money, hours or anything,” said Oliva in an interview with The News & Record. 

“...When I think about service, I think about people smiling.”

To date, Guilford County students have logged more than 250,000 hours using NobleHour. In addition to the scholarships, students who served more than 225 hours earned a Service-Learning Diploma, and those with more than 100 hours received a Service-Learning Exemplary Award. In order to qualify for recognition, the students’ service must be unpaid, address a community need, and include investigation, preparation and planning, action, reflection, and demonstration components. NobleHour facilitates these requirements through its comprehensive database, hour tracking, and reflection tools.

“By using NobleHour we are able to capture the economic impact our students make within the community.” said Yvonne Foster, Character Development & Service-Learning Coordinator for Guilford County Schools.

The event was put on by the GCS Character Development team, which promotes character education, civic education, and service learning in order to “equip students with the tools and motivation necessary to be the change they wish to see in the world.”

"It is such a heartwarming feeling to see youth involved and for the right reasons!" said Foster.

Guilford County Schools&squot; "Cool to Serve" event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image via The News & Record


About NobleHour

NobleHour is based in Lakeland, FL and was started by a team of knowledgeable business investors, representing over 70 years of unparalleled entrepreneurial and business experience. They developed SweatMonkey.org in 2005 as an online service learning management platform for students and schools. SweatMonkey was used by countless organizations such as the YMCA, the SPCA, the United Way of North Central Florida, and the University of Florida. SweatMonkey was rebranded and launched in 2012 as NobleHour.com, an engaging online community platform that includes content sharing, a database of volunteer and job opportunities and events, hour tracking tools for tracking community service hours, and community impact measurement tools. NobleHour's mission is to provide an engaging platform to help connect people with their communities to empower civic engagement. For more information visit www.noblehour.com.

 

 

Topics: service learning, service, education, volunteering, graduates, k12

5 Ways Student Volunteering Can Help Your Job Search

Posted by Natasha Derezinski-Choo on Thu, May 23, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

It’s college graduation season, and many recent grads are contemplating what they will do next.  For some that means continuing with graduate school, but for many it means taking everything learned in the past four years and using it to pursue a career.  Regardless, this is a time full of decisions seemingly greater in importance than those made four years ago when graduating from high school.  Graduates are faced with finding jobs, managing thousands of dollars in student loans, finding a house or apartment to move out from your parent’s house, and starting a life after college.  The first step in most of this is finding a job to support yourself, but for many graduates it helps to have a resume built on a valuable, well-rounded experience in addition to a college degree. 

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Going to college should not just be listening to lectures and studying; it should be an experience where students gain the skills and experience they will need for life after graduation.  One way to gain experience is through volunteerism.  Even before college, many students begin volunteering to meet a graduation requirement, apply to an award or scholarship program, or to build their college applications.  However, volunteering does not end here, and most students who volunteer in high school continue to do so in college.  This is because volunteering is both rewarding and beneficial. 

Here are a few ways volunteering can help current students, graduates and job-seekers alike:

1. Improve as a person: Volunteering doesn’t have to be just about pursuing a career.  Volunteers also make friends, become more outgoing, and learn to appreciate the things they have and the people they care about.  Many volunteers just want to make a difference and feel good that they contributed to the community.  According to the United States Department of Labor, 42.2% of college graduates over the age of 25 volunteered, and that number is slowly rising. While many volunteers start out with a specific goal in mind, most will find volunteerism rewarding and valuable and, for this reason, continue to be engaged in their communities with it beyond graduation. 

2. Become a well-rounded individual: Volunteerism can help boost a resume for graduates seeking to build their experience in their chosen field.  For job-seeking graduates, a history of volunteerism shows employers that you are well rounded and involved in the community.  Being able to say you built houses with Habitat for Humanity or helped with disaster relief efforts says that you are concerned with something beyond yourself.  It demonstrates a sense of initiative that cannot be seen in simply listing a university name and degree. 

3. Earn experience and skills: Volunteering creates a host of experiences you can talk about in interviews.  Many graduates are just starting out and have little experience, but being able to talk about volunteer experiences can improve your chances and prove that you will make a valuable employee.  Countless applicants can talk about the courses they took and things they learned in university, but potential employers already have that knowledge and experiences.  Some important skills you’ll pick up by volunteering include teamwork, empathy, communication, commitment and leadership; all of which are qualities employers look for and experiences you can share during an interview.  Whatever your volunteer experience was, your story and background will stand out. 

4. Jumpstart your career: Sometimes it’s easier to find work experience pertaining to your career in the form of a volunteer opportunity than a part time position you can maintain while studying.  Do a little searching or contact the career center at your university to find out about volunteer or internship programs that will jumpstart you in developing your skillset for your career.  You’ll also develop contacts in your field that may be able to help you find a job later when you graduate or can serve as valuable references when you apply to other companies. 

5. Contribute to something you are passionate about: Perhaps you were strayed away from less “profitable” degrees in your college search by your parents or teachers and asked to pursue other interests and talents.  There’s still a chance to keep in touch with the things you enjoy doing.  Volunteering doesn’t have to be a chore like studying and attending class; it should be connected to a cause that interests you.  When looking for volunteer opportunities near you, find something you’ll enjoy and commit to. 

Congratulations to the class of 2013!  Make sure to become a NobleHour citizen to begin measuring the number of hours and the impact of your service work.  Use this to show employers the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to a cause that’s important to you, and then share how your story impacted the community and makes you stand out as a recent graduate. Track your Noble Impact here on NobleHour and see how it will enhance your life after graduation. 

Topics: service, education, millenials, volunteering, job search, graduates, experience, resume, highered

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