Online Scholarship Opportunity

Have you heard of RaiseMe? I hadn’t either until recently. What I love most about my job is the opportunity to learn new things everyday. I can never rest on my laurels thinking that I know everything about this profession and its peripheral players. And I absolutely adore learning new things from my students, one of whom recently introduced me to RaiseMe, an online platform designed to identify and match micro scholarships with prospective college students.

I may be late to the game, but if you haven’t already, I highly encourage you (parents and students) to check out RaiseMe. Introducing students as young as 8th and 9th graders to this site will help them to better understand what goes into a college application and how their achievements can be tracked for greater success. Join a club, increase your chance for scholarship money. Improve your grades, increase your scholarships potential. Take on a leadership position, more opportunity for scholarship funds to increase.

The concept of RaiseMe is pretty straightforward. Students use an engaging, teen-friendly platform to input their achievements (course grades, clubs, sports, volunteer activities, etc.). For each achievement students can see scholarship money earned from colleges, which will be awarded upon attendance. Important point— a student must go through the standard admission process to receive scholarship funds. This is not a short cut to admission, rather it’s an opportunity for students to see how their achievements directly correlate with scholarship potential. Students can learn more about hundreds of colleges across the country— some institutions of which they may already be quite familiar and others that are just waiting to be discovered.

RaiseMe can be a good motivator and a concrete way for students to see how their actions directly impact the college admission process. In fact I’m going to encourage my daughter, a rising high school freshman, to start using RaiseMe as a means of connecting with the amorphous and nebulous college process that seems so very far away but will get here before we know it.

While I understand that everything poses a potential downside, from the research I’ve done I’ve been unable to find a significant negative to oppose my promotion of RaiseMe. I encourage you (parents and students) to look into RaiseMe to see how it might augment your college admission process.

Lisa Cynamon Mayers

Senior Admissions Consultant

A Potato Gun, A Glass Eye and the Burden of the Personal Statement

So it’s that time that rising seniors really should start thinking about the dreaded college application personal statement. (Cue the spooky music here.) Nothing seems to strike fear in the hearts of students more than discussion of the essay topic. Everyone wants to know what you’re going to write about, if you’ve started writing, how many essays you need to complete. Mom and Dad are suddenly Pulitzer Prize winning writers, eager to help you draft that perfect, compelling, acceptance generating essay. 

After many years of reading applications, making admission decisions and now coaching students on the essay writing process, I can say one thing for sure-- everyone, and I mean everyone, has a story to tell. You are probably 17 or 18 years old and lamenting why you haven’t yet discovered the meaning of life or been fortunate enough to have a truly life changing experience. You don’t need to have had anything major, life altering, earth shattering happen to you to write a terrific essay. Your everyday experiences will allow you to write an essay that will enlighten the admissions committee about who are, what you believe and why you would make a good asset to Dream U.

Allow me to share one of my favorite stories. Several years ago I was working with a small town Wisconsin student on essay brainstorming. Obviously before you can write that first draft, you need to do a little brainstorming. Writing process. This young man and I had spent about forty-five minutes on the phone trying to unlock good ideas for his essay topic. We spoke of extracurricular involvements, travels, growing up in a small town, academic interests, etc. I could tell nothing was resonating with him.  Glimmer of fear-- what if he has nothing to write about? 

Then out of the blue, he mentioned that this was probably nothing but he had lost his eye in a freak potato gun accident. WHAT?! Hmmm, tell me more. Turns out he and some friends were goofing off. A potato gun accidentally discharged, hitting him square in the eye and causing so much damage that his eye had to be replaced with a glass eye. (Side note: Mom is right, those things are dangerous and you can indeed lose an eye. I may be the Admissions Ace but I’m a mom too.) So this is all very interesting but even more fascinating, this student’s lifelong dream was to attend the Air Force Academy and become a fighter pilot, just as his father and grandfather had done. Glass eye=fighter pilot dreams crushed. Wowzers! If that doesn’t scream essay topic, I don’t know what does! He hadn’t mentioned that story earlier in our conversation because he didn’t think it was all that important or terribly interesting. Right...

Takeaway message: We all have a story to tell. Every one of us. If you are completely stumped on how to start brainstorming, think about your life, your experiences, your interests, your dreams. Think about what you want the admissions committee to know about you that they won’t find anywhere else on your application. And if you need a little help, just holler. I can get a good story out of anyone.

Lisa Cynamon Mayers

Senior Admissions Consultant