Monthly Archives: May 2011

Applying for College Scholarships? 6 Tips to Maximize Your Chances of Winning One

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By Guest Blogger Ashlee Hodson

Scholarships, better known as free money, are an important part of many students’ income and a cornerstone of their collegiate financial planning strategy. There are lots of scholarships out there, but with hundreds of applicants for each good one, actually winning the scholarship or grant you want isn’t a sure thing no matter how qualified you are. But keep in mind a few simple guidelines when you’re applying for scholarships and you could go straight to the head of the class.

by Keith Williamson

1. Work as hard on apps for small scholarships as you do for the big ones. Many students don’t even bother to apply for small scholarships because they feel that it’s a waste of their time. But when you’re in college, every penny counts. And while winning a $250 scholarship won’t cover your room and board, those tiny little awards – whether for $100 or $1000 – have a way of adding up.

2. Be organized. You’d think that this would be obvious, but people lose potential scholarship awards all the time because they forgot when their app was due or left out an important document. Invest in a calendar or use an online planner so that you can keep track of due dates, chart your progress, etc. Make sure the info you have for each scholarship is complete. Read the instructions and follow them to the letter. For example, if the essay assignment is to write about your community service efforts, don’t write about why people should be active in their community.

3. Be honest. A high GPA isn’t everything. Don’t exaggerate your grades, memberships, skills, or qualifications. In this day and age, it’s easy for scholarship sponsors to check your claims – and they will. Besides, many sponsors are more interested in well-rounded students who will add value to campus life through their involvement in the local community or school affairs; their interest in clubs, fraternities, and sororities; or their participation in team or other sports.

4. Be thorough. Remember, the people who’ll be reviewing your scholarship application don’t know how wonderful you are. And in early review rounds, when the panel will be looking for any excuse to winnow their list of applicants down to a manageable level, a simple typo or a misspelled word could land you in the reject pile. Proofread everything. (Consider asking a friend, teacher, or parent to read over your application packet with fresh eyes.) Spend quality time on the concept and execution of your essays. Create a CV to go along with your app, even if it’s not requested. It shows initiative and is a great way to highlight your activities and special interests. Make copies of everything and send your application packet by registered mail.

5. Be selective in asking for letters of recommendation. Choose people not only on the basis of how many great things they’ll have to say about you, but because of their standing in the community or school and their own reputation, especially as it relates to your areas of interest.

6. Watch out for scams. Remember the old adage that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Don’t pay to search online for a scholarship or pony up dollars to pay for the chance to be awarded a scholarship. As one online website counsels, “Sponsors want to give YOU their money, they don’t want yours.”

Spending hours – or days – applying for scholarships might seem like a waste of time, especially with everything else that’s on a college-bound student’s plate. Tempted to take a few shortcuts? If you want a successful outcome – in other words, if you want to win that scholarship or grant – don’t. As with anything in life, you’ll get out of the scholarship application process exactly what you put into it.

Ashlee Hodson I DAYTONA STATE COLLEGE: Quirky, creative, a little goofy – and passionate about making a difference. This is a girl who dreams big. Hopes to one day earn a degree in Psychology. Ashlee, the world is waiting!

We value the diverse voices and fresh ideas that our guest bloggers bring to BookRenter.com. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in guest posts are strictly those of the post’s author and don’t necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of BookRenter.Com. The information in guest posts is often drawn from a variety of sources, and we count on our guest authors to verify and fact-check the content they post. BookRenter.Com makes no claims, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of guest post content or the suitability of the content for a specific purpose.
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BookRenter’s “Rock the World” Scholarship

Filed under: Contests and Promotions - BookRenter Team
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BookRenter’s Rock the World Scholarship

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Just Snagged a Great Summer Internship?

Filed under: Post Grad and Career - BookRenter Team
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By BookRenter Andy

Congratulations – you’ve got the ultimate resume-builder.

As school winds down, most students are looking ahead to the summer, hopefully one that includes lots of vacation. But there’s this inconvenient thing called money – you need it if you’re to go on vacation. So a lot of us will be spending at least part of the summer months working. Which brings me to the subject of experience, and the student’s Catch-22: You need experience to get a job, but you can’t get a job unless you have experience.

By SOCIALisBETTER

Enter the internship.

Almost any kind of summer job will get you to one goal: You’ll earn a few bucks and maybe even be able to save a little. But an internship can be different. For one thing, people tend to take internships in a profession or a field that interests them. Besides pulling down a salary, you’re gaining relevant experience that not only looks good on your resume but which could one day lead you to a real grown-up job in your chosen field.

I’ve had a few internships in my day – one here at BookRenter – so I hope you’ll indulge my sharing with you these…

Five easy ways to turn an Internship into the Ultimate Resume-Builder

  1. Know up front what you’re applying for. Understanding what an internship entails and what you’re likely to be doing day to day will help you gauge what you can actually contribute the job – and whether the internship will be valuable to you in terms of building your experience in the professional world.
  2. Never underestimate the importance of your work. Regardless of your job title (if you have one!), be prepared to so some good, old-fashioned menial labor. My first task at BookRenter was quality fulfillment: packaging and mailing the prizes that some of you reading this probably won (you’re welcome, punks). It wasn’t glorious work, but it was important to our customers. Bring a positive attitude to everything you do and I guarantee you won’t be in the mailroom for long.
  3. Show ‘em what you’re made of. If you don’t have anything to do, take the initiative – believe me, there’s nothing that a busy boss likes more than an employee who can identify a need and find a way to fill it. Come up with your own projects – propose them to your boss or, when you can, just do them. Not only are you creating more good stuff for your resume, you’ll probably be able to count on a great reference when the time comes.
  4. Learn at least one new thing every day. Ask a colleague to tell you more about your company. Ask your manager if you can borrow a magazine you heard him talking about or review a creative brief. Time spent reading and thinking about the bigger picture will not only help you do your job better, but position you to take on more responsibilities when an opportunity comes along. (Remember, you’re building a resume.)
  5. Don’t turn up your nose at working for free. While ideally you want to learn and earn, an unpaid internship can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to getting some experience under your belt – and onto your resume. You might even find yourself fielding a job offer or two: A recent poll by CareerExposure.com found that more than 90% of employers ultimately offer full-time positions to interns.

Intern on.

We value the diverse voices and fresh ideas that our guest bloggers bring to BookRenter.com. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in guest posts are strictly those of the post’s author and don’t necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of BookRenter.Com. The information in guest posts is often drawn from a variety of sources, and we count on our guest authors to verify and fact-check the content they post. BookRenter.Com makes no claims, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of guest post content or the suitability of the content for a specific purpose.
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And the winners are…

Filed under: Contests and Promotions - BookRenter Team
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Charmaine Ng and Keith Kaplan tapped for 2011 BookRenter Summer Internships

The competition for the BookRenter Summer 2011 Social Media Internship is over, and we’re pleased to announce that Charmaine Ng, a student at the University of Oregon, and Keith Kaplan, who just completed his undergraduate work at Michigan’s Albion College, will officially be joining the BookRenter team for the summer.

Charmaine and Keith – who also received shiny new iPads – were among 10 finalists chosen by BookRenter staffers from among hundreds of seriously amazing applicants. BookRenter’s terrific Facebook fans then narrowed the field by popular vote to a Top Three that also included Brittany Goodman of Peace College.

The other finalists were:

  • Mia Mishek I UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH
  • Samantha (Sami) Main I UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
  • Kimberly Erskine I ROWAN UNIVERSITY
  • Angela Andaloro I PACE UNIVERSITY
  • Sarah Coffey I DRAKE UNIVERSITY
  • Taylor Dunnigan I EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
  • Rachel Freeman I SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY

We’re tremendously excited about having Charmaine and Keith on board – and a little bit sad that we didn’t have a slot for ALL the wonderful students we met during the course of the competition. The good news: In the months ahead there will be a number of opportunities for students who are interested in working informally with the BookRenter team as Guest Bloggers and on special initiatives. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, our heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to apply for a Summer 2011 Social Media Internship; to our 10 finalists, who logged some impressive hours authoring guest blogs (and coming up with creative ways to win your votes!); and to our rockin’ Facebook fans, who had the tough job of narrowing a field of 10 outstanding intern candidates to our final three.

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So You Got Into Your Dream School.

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Now Comes the Tough Part – Paying for It.

Getting into a good college or university – especially when the competition for places is so fierce – is quite an achievement. But admission to your year’s freshman class is only half of the higher-education battle. The other half: Covering the cost of that education.

By emilywjones

BookRenter can save you some serious money on textbooks, of course. For help meeting the rest of your college expenses, scholarships and grants abound, if you know where to look.

Top 3 Tips on Finding College Scholarships and Grants.

1. Ask for help from your school’s Financial Aid Office.

It’s their job to help you find what you need to know about scholarships and grants and how to apply for them. And while many scholarships are based on academics or athletic prowess, there are hundreds of other kinds of scholarships – many of which go unused each year because potential applicants don’t know about them. For example, lots of schools offer legacy scholarships, open to family members (children, stepchildren, grandchildren, siblings, and even nieces and nephews) of alumni. Other schools award “first-generation” scholarships to students who are first in their family to attend college. There are scholarships for minorities, for older students, for returning students – the list is practically endless.

2. Do some [virtual] legwork

There are lots of online destinations where you can learn about – and apply for – scholarships. A good one is apps.collegeboard.com (yes, the same outfit many of us used to prep for college entrance exams). Another is scholarships.com, which lists some 2.7 million local, state, and national college scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion (as on most of the scholarship sites, searching is free). Fastweb.com offers contests and financial aid advice.

And at ed.gov you can learn about the U.S. Department of Education Pell Grant Program, which provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain grad students.

* Don’t forget to apply for BookRenter’s Rock the World Scholarship!

3. Online or off, think outside the box

Many scholarships, grants, and contests are designed to help students nurture a special interest or talent. Interested in “green” architecture or the environment and have a project or declared major to back it up?

You may qualify for an eco-oriented scholarship or grant. (Many green scholarships not only help you pay for school but also allow you to plan and execute projects or attend educational conferences.)

Got a wacky talent like, say, duck calling? Enter the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest and you could win up to $2,000 – money that can be used to further education in any field.

And don’t forget to check out your hometown’s local businesses, civic organizations, and church groups – some of them might have scholarship or grant programs reserved especially for “home-grown” students.

Got some tips of your own on getting help to finance your college education?

Tell us about ‘em!
Samantha (Sami) Main I UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Bright, passionate, a fierce multi-tasker. Claim to fame: Made it to Round Three of Charlie Sheen’s controversial #TigerBloodIntern contest.

We value the diverse voices and fresh ideas that our guest bloggers bring to BookRenter.com. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in guest posts are strictly those of the post’s author and don’t necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of BookRenter.Com. The information in guest posts is often drawn from a variety of sources, and we count on our guest authors to verify and fact-check the content they post. BookRenter.Com makes no claims, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of guest post content or the suitability of the content for a specific purpose.
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