Lots of students look forward to college. For students (and adults!) who have an interest in learning new things, below are a number of cost effective (read: free!) resources that might help you satisfy your interest in a range of topics, from the origins of the universe to Painting and Journalism. Top universities like MIT and Columbia University have even begun putting their classes online. All you need is a little curiosity and an internet connection. Read More

Aspiring fashion designers discuss an assignment at Parson Pre-college Academy.

Being a fashion designer is more than just thinking up adorable outfits and reading fashion magazines all day. According to professionals working in the industry, entry-level designers can expect to work extremely long hours for low starting wages. There’s also a lot of competition in the field, especially for those just starting out. But fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there available for aspiring designers. Read More


Aimee Brooks, "G is for Gibson," Age 17, Grade 12. Silver Medal, Art Portfolio.

Albert, a classical music major in college, asks for advice about breaking into the music writing business.

Albert asked:

I am just finishing a degree that requires me to write a thesis and I’ve become interested in pursuing writing as a possible fun and fulfilling part-time mini career. My skill set is mostly in music as a classical violinist. I’d like to write reviews on concerts and other musically oriented journalistic writing, maybe even music criticism, but since I’m new to the writing world, I’m curious to how to go about my new found interest. Read More

Seth Boyden started animating clay models in his parents’ basement in sixth grade. Over five years later, Seth Boyden is an emerging filmmaker who has won three national medals (a Gold Medal, a Silver Medal and an American Visions Medal) from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. He not only creates his own Flash and stop-motion animation films, but also designs characters and collaborates with friends and family to compose original music. Seth has even begun drawing international attention. This year, Oxford University Press selected one of his adapted films to be part of an online textbook for language arts.

We recently caught up with Seth to learn more about his craft, his plans for the future and to collect some monster-making tips! Read More

It’s that time of year when seniors across the country are preparing for graduation, hearing back from the colleges they’ve applied to and making plans for the future. Graduation may feel like an overwhelming rite of passage, but soon you’ll find yourself on the other side. In the meantime, there is one thing you can rely on: sappy graduation speeches. Though we can’t be there ourselves to watch you sashay across the stage, we hope you’ll take to heart these inspiring, and sometimes humorous, words of wisdom. Life can be confusing and uncertain, but here are the best attempts to explain everything.

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

J.K. Rowling’s Harvard graduation speech about her fears from days as an aspiring novelist and single mother, with emphasis on the importance of imagination and failure.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, on how life, expectations and Chinese brush painting inspired his empire.

Ellen Degeneres, comedian, shares her experiences on living in the closet and musings on “common cement” with Tulane University in her hometown of New Orleans.

Davis Sedaris, to the Princeton graduating class of 2006, on embarrassing his parents to death.

Dr. Maya Angelou’s inspirational and stirring poem to Kean University’s graduating class of 2009.

It’s almost time for summer! Time to attack your summer reading list, go swimming, attend camp, drive your parents crazy, work on your art, finish your novel, catch up on Jersey Shore…or research scholarships for college. Huh?!

Well, the truth is, college tuition is at an all-time high. But that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach: in fact, every year, millions of dollars of financial aid go unused. In addition to applying to programs like The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, there are tons of other programs and resources to help support a college education. Even if you aren’t a graduating senior this year, it doesn’t hurt to start early and learn more about the resources that are out there. Most scholarships will include an application process and involve deadlines, but the process doesn’t have to be boring. Do some research by a pool, enjoy an hour of air conditioning, sit back and relax with a glass of lemonade, try to find some of the weirdest scholarships you can and think about using some of the following tips and tricks.

That money has to go to someone, so why not you?

A Few Tips For Finding Scholarships:

1. Put Google to work for you. Think about the types of opportunities you want to hear about and subscribe to Google Alerts to send you weekly updates. For example, if you’re thinking about attending an art program in a particular region or for a particular subject, think about key words like “painting scholarship,” “financial aid artists,” or “Boston scholarships.”

2. Beyond grades and academics, what are your hobbies or skills? Do you do a lot of environmental work, knit, write for your school newspaper, volunteer at a local soup kitchen or play a sport? A lot of scholarships are geared towards students involved in specific activities, so don’t rule those out from your search.

3. There are hundreds of scholarships out there, so focus on the ones that you’re best qualified to pursue by creating a list. A targeted search will save you time.

4. Volunteer work may be unpaid, but it can have a valuable payback. Several organizations, such as Americorps, reward volunteers with financial aid scholarships for college; community organizations also frequently offer scholarship opportunities to teen volunteers. Even the Michigan Llama Association offers scholarship opportunities for eligible students.

5. What’s your background? Descendants of almost any ethnic, religious or national background may find specific scholarships geared towards them. There are scholarships for everyone from Armenian to Welsh and scholarships are sometimes available through local churches, mosques, temples and synagogues.

6. Let your teachers know you’re researching scholarships. They may know of other opportunities and this will give you a head start as some scholarship programs require letters of recommendation from teachers.

7. When doing a search on the Internet for college scholarships, try to diversify your keywords. Instead of just typing in “art scholarship,” make a list of different ways to phrase that and enter them as your search terms. Also consider adding words like “award,” “contest,” “competition,” and “resources” – a lot of competitions offer scholarships as a prize.

You never know what you’ll reel in. Happy searching!


Image, above: “Say What?!” Artist: Alyssa White, Grade 12. Painting. 2010 Silver Medal.