An interview with our #1 educational blogger
Last month myUsearch.com was listed as #1 on our Top 100 Education Advice Blogs list. We decided to interview the site’s co-founder, Elizabeth Kraus, to find out more information about myUsearch’s scholarship program as well as her thoughts on higher education in America:
What is the biggest no-no students make when applying for college/university?
A: The biggest mistake students make when applying for college, is failing to understand the true cost of their degree. There are over 6000 colleges in this country and each college offers different tuition levels and financial aid packages. It’s important not to rule out a college because of the tuition sticker price, but it’s also important not to take on more student loans than you can handle.
In your opinion, how has the economic crash impacted higher education? Have you noticed any big changes since 2008?
A: I think the economy has made a big impact on higher education. The downturn has caused students to re-evaluate the return on their college investment and consider more affordable college options. Now more than ever, it is extremely important for students to understand the true cost of their college choice and consider all financial aid and scholarship options.
Why do you think only 37.9 percent of Americans have a college degree?
A: Well there are a lot of reasons, but I think the biggest reason is because people are misinformed about the cost barriers to achieving a degree. College can be extremely expensive, I am not denying that, but I think many people are not aware of the fact that several colleges offer more affordable tuition and financial aid packages to help any type of student to earn a degree.
Tell us about your “Mommy Goes to College” scholarship
A: We chose to offer this scholarship because, not only is the average salary of a college graduate overwhelmingly higher than the salary of a high school graduate, but earning a college degree is a way for mothers to expand their horizons, improve their self esteem and offer hope to their children that they too can earn a college degree. Over a lifetime, college graduates earn on average nearly double the salary of high school graduates and children of parents who went to college are much more likely to attend college themselves. Encouraging mothers to further their own education can have a huge trickle effect on our society.
Our current scholarship for women who are mothers is our second “Mommy Goes to College” scholarship and we hope to be able to offer another one for the following year as well.
What was your motive behind donating 10 percent of your company profits to your scholarship program?
A: We have two main motives for our scholarship program: 1) We deeply value education and believe increasing access to education is the single most important factor in improving our society and 2) our scholarship program offers a great incentive for students, parents and high school counselors to visit our site. By offering scholarships, we can simultaneously increase access to education and grow our company.
What is the biggest mistake your users make when they submit their online application/essay?
A: TYPOS!!!!! I cannot tell you how many students submit applications with simple spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure to spell and grammar check your applications, and ask someone else to read your application before you submit it.
Do you get a lot of submissions from undocumented students?
A: We do. Unfortunately, most scholarships are not open to non-US citizens, so we get a lot of submissions from undocumented students.
Any advice for the working mother who is interested in enrolling at a college or university?
A: Don’t give up! I know that sounds cliché, but finishing a college degree will have a huge impact on your future. Whenever the challenge of juggling children, work, school and everyday life gets to be too much, just remember how much better your life will be after you finish.
Elizabeth Kraus is the co-founder of myUsearch.com, the Honest College Matchmaker, a site that helps students make the right college choice.