Resources for Scholarship Applicants

At the Community Foundation, we are proud to administer more than 100 scholarships, benefiting thousands of students across New Jersey and the country.

But we’re even more proud of the scholarship recipients themselves who are working each day toward their goal of a college education.

For these young people, we recommend reading one or more of the stories below which help to put the college experience in perspective.

In the meantime, remember to always read the instructions, study hard, and relax!


2018 Best Value Colleges

With the average college student graduating with tens-of-thousands of dollars in student loans, prospective college students, parents and policymakers are all trying to better understand the value of college education, particularly as it applies to future decisions in the job market.

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Before you file the FAFSA, check for these expensive errors

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid may be a mere six pages, but it still offers college-bound students plenty of opportunities to trip up. Filing the FAFSA should be easier this year . Families were able to submit their paperwork as early as October 1, using data from their 2015 tax returns. They can use the IRS Retrieval Tool to automatically transfer return data into their FAFSA.

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What You Need to Know About the 2017-18 FAFSA

Starting with the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), several important changes will be in effect. Click below to learn about them.

FAFSA Updates

Magdalena Kepa’s College Experience

Magdalena Kepa was the recipient of a scholarship provided by a Community Foundation fund, and we asked her to present on her college experience to date at our August 18th scholarship breakfast. She graciously shared the below presentation, and many great stories.

Magdalena’s presentation

Having the College Money Talk.

With so many options, figuring out where to go to college can be overwhelming. Large research university or small liberal arts college? City school or rural school? Close to home or out of state? Guidance counselors talk of finding a school that’s the right “fit” academically and that has an atmosphere that suits the student. But as students and parents get wrapped up in the emotional quest for a “dream school,” they can lose sight of the financial consequences of the decisions they make. And when the acceptance letters finally (hopefully) roll in, families of college-bound students can find themselves scrambling to figure out exactly how they’re going to pay for it all.

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Khan Academy: For free. For everyone. Forever.

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content. Continue to Khan Academy.


KIPP New Jersey: The Freshman 15: Tips to Survive and Thrive in College

Going back to school can be exciting…and daunting, especially when you’re headed into an entirely new environment. When you’re making the jump from high school to college, you’re in for major changes, and fast! Since many of our graduating seniors from 2015 are now starting college, we wanted to pass along the advice our KIPP Through College counselors gave them. Continue reading the story.


New York Times: How to Survive the College Admissions Madness

“[F]or too many parents and their children, acceptance by an elite institution isn’t just another challenge, just another goal. A yes or no from Amherst or the University of Virginia or the University of Chicago is seen as the conclusive measure of a young person’s worth, an uncontestable harbinger of the accomplishments or disappointments to come. Winner or loser: This is when the judgment is made. This is the great, brutal culling. What madness. And what nonsense.” Continue reading the story.


Business Insider: These ‘Big Six’ college experiences lead to a better life

“College isn’t just about what you learn from your textbooks. In fact, it seems that the experiences you have outside the classroom may have more of an impact on your well-being after graduation than what you pick up in lectures, according to a Gallup survey conducted with Purdue University.” Continue reading the story.


US News & World Report: 8 ways to save money on college textbooks

“Steer clear of the bookstore. This is the No. 1 one way to spend less money on textbooks. Shopping at the college bookstore for textbooks is akin to picking up all your groceries at the corner gas station. Convenience, in both cases, means higher prices. You may need to pick up some specialized materials in your bookstore, like packets printed out by a professor for a specific class, but most of the time you can – and should – shop elsewhere for your books.” Continue reading the story.


Expert Advice: 9 Time Management Tips for Freshmen

“Learning the skills to properly manage a busy schedule will benefit you in the long run. A successful time-manager will be less stressed, get more sleep and generally feel better about a job well done than those who procrastinate.”Continue reading the story.


Grown & Flown: Professor Offers Best Advice for College Freshmen

“Attend every class session unless you have a contagious illness. (Woody Allen was right: 80% of success is just showing up.) And don’t sit in the back; I can practically predict a student’s grade based on where he or she sits. Slacking in the back row = bad grades with very few exceptions.” Continue reading the story.