Scholarship Tips from the #CollegeCash Twitter Chat

Last night we participated in a live Twitter chat lead by Jodi Okun of College Financial Aid Advisors and her guest, the folks at Central Scholarship, a non-profit that awards scholarships and interest-free loans to students pursuing higher education.  It was a lively group and we learned -- or were reminded of -- a few things worth repeating.

Say it ain't so... the SAT QOTD email is riding into the sunset...

Oh,  noooo... We received the following message in our inbox this morning: We hope The Official SAT Question of the Day™ has been an engaging and successful part of your SAT® practice plan. We are developing new digital student resources, and the SAT Question of the Day daily email will be discontinued later this month.

Tweet your way to a $500 Scholarship

Submit a 140 character response about how technology has helped with the education system and you could win one of four $500 scholarships for the upcoming school year. The Tweet For Success Scholarship is sponsored by DialMyCalls, which provides mass notification services to schools. "Hello, snow day!"  Find all the info and enter here. And, FYI, while you will need to tweet your message to @DialMyCalls, you do not need to have your own Twitter account to do so or to enter to win. Good luck!

Colleges Know Who You Are and May See What You Do

What does your digital footprint look like? You may want to check it out. The use of social networking sites and Internet search engines in the admission process is on the rise. Increasing numbers of admission professionals are turning to Facebook, Twitter, Google and other online resources to learn more about prospective students.

Kaplan Test Prep's 2011 survey of college admission officers found that 24% of the colleges surveyed reported they have gone to an applicant's Facebook or other social networking page to learn more about them. That figure is up from 10% in 2008. Furthermore, 20% of schools have Googled applicants.  Kaplan also found that 12% percent of the admission officers who used social media or online tools found material that hurt the student's chance of admission -- usually postings of uncouth activities, plagiarism, alcohol use or other "illegal activities."

While most admission offices do not routinely follow a student's digital trail, students need to think about their use of social media and web presence -- including what others are saying about them online. Be aware that colleges may turn here to learn more about you. The internet has a long memory. Google yourself and see what comes up. A good rule of thumb going forward? Don't post anything you don't want a college admission officer -- or your grandmother -- to see.

A Must Read Report for Scholarship Applicants

A new report from Mark Kantrowitz, founder and publisher of and,  is a must-read for scholarship applicants. Sponsored by Fastweb and the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA), the study found that about a quarter of scholarship providers are using Google and social media websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to screen applicants. They're looking primarily for one or more red flags, such as signs that an applicant might reflect badly on the scholarship sponsor.  The report includes recommendations for scholarship applicants -- reviewing their Facebook accounts, Googling themselves and correcting problems when possible, and using appropriate email addresses. Read the full report here. It's good advice for all applicants!

Twitter as Prep for the College Essay?

It has character limits, discourages wordiness, and makes you aware of your audience -- all virtues in crafting a good college essay. Check out How Twitter Can Make You A Better Writer by Amanda Cosco at Social Times. If you're looking for inspiration, visit the Twitter feeds of your favorite writers and the colleges on your list -- but probably not Ashton Kutcher's. And don't miss our Essay Lab, beginning next Monday. First up, prompts to get the words flowing from some novelists, essay writers, and writing teachers!