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Thursday, September 20, 2018




Alabama students who are interested in attending UAB, UAH, the University of Montevallo, Auburn, Troy, South Alabama, Jacksonville State, and Gadsden State can earn up to $15,000 for 4 years.  The application process in INTENSE, so you should START EARLY.  The completed application is due December 1, so you should have your draft ready by November 27.   START NOW!  You can read about the Smith Foundation by following this link:

Your essays need to focus on your goals and how you have overcome obstacles to achieve these goals.

Essay 1:
Applicants own essay on your future plans or goals of accomplishment for yourself. The essay must be written by the applicant. It should be reviewed by a teacher, but the applicant must be the author. It is important that organization, spelling, grammar as well as content be reviewed or proofread. (1,000 words) *

Essay 2:
Write an essay documenting community and civic-oriented activities or assistance to family members. Not only do you need to write about it, but you also should tell how you have LEARNED/GROWN from your service). (at least 1,000 words)

Essay 3: Essay #3
This essay will address your commitment to furthering your education and service to help others.  (at least 1,000 words) *

All essays should be done in Google Docs so Jamaica or I can edit them BEFORE the deadline.

Monday, September 10, 2018


Khan Academy
Khan Academy has thousands of videos on everything in all areas of mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, finance, and history.  Using this site, you can practice skills you have learned but might have forgotten, or learn new skills and concepts at your own pace.   Scroll down on this page and find a free tutorial on ANY mathematics, or academic course!   The UB Homework Helpers can assist you by recommending videos to watch and challenging you to do your best on EVERY math skill! While this site won’t do the work for you, if you understand the concept, you can learn how to do it! 
A great FREE site where you can make your own flashcards you can print and/or play games. You can also see flashcards Mrs. Buff and Upward Bound tutors have made for you to use.  Or, if you prefer, you can make your own flashcards, search for other Quizlet flashcards made by educators, and become an expert in your classes!  (Quizlet is especially great for Spanish, French, Biology, and History).
Mathematics Resources
Of course, it’s great because it’s PURPLE, but this index can also help any student or tutor to understand a particular concept STEP BY STEP!
A link to an online dictionary of mathematical terms.
These sites provide different ways of explaining and examining basic biological processes for introductory classes.
The Biology Project website that provides a wealth of information on biology topics.
This is an AWESOME site used by many of the Chemistry teachers!  Learn how to do your chemistry homework with the help of Khan Academy and watch your grades improve!
This is a great resource to understand and view terms, equations, etc. associated with stoichiometry.
If you’re having difficulty in Chemistry, this is the place to visit!  You can view tutorials to help you with basic chemistry, through AP Chemistry concepts.
Prudent chemistry information that is more detailed and has study guides.
Interactive periodic table and other great basic information for non-science majors.
This site provides an index of different mathematically based chemistry problems with examples for your reference.  It also has links to other chemistry sites.
A helpful chemistry resource with summaries about reactions, stoichiometry, and ions.  
· Punctuation, grammar, mechanics, notes of how to discuss literature, and a handy dandy list of literary terms can be found at this link and will help you to write any English paper using MLA format. 
·  Learn everything you want to know about mythology at this site, which features Bulfinch’s Mythology by topic.
·  Medieval studies scholarly resources compiled and organized from around the world. Contains texts in all European languages, including Latin and Greek.
· This was a handout created by a talented group of University of Montevallo Upward Bound English Honors students during the Summer of 2002.  The information was presented at a Medieval Literature Conference in Kennesaw, GA in 2004 and published on the Arthuriana Pedagogy page as a resource sample for teaching high school students research medieval literature.  
· Classic Notes by Gradesaver allows students to view themes and character lists for most important/classic works of literature.  While it does not replace reading the text, Classic Notes can help students understand novels, plays, and epic poetry. 
· From the British Library, a comprehensive listing of the treasures from the world’s great faiths.
·  Sponsored by Capital Community College, this site offers punctuation and grammar review that can be used to help you with your ACT and/or classes in school.  
Foreign Languages
Access this site on You Tube to view LOTS of Spanish lessons.  These videos are done with a teacher, and cover all aspects of Spanish.
WOW!  Get all the help you need with pronunciation, vocabulary, and key concepts.  Use this site along with a tutor, or access specific lessons to review important areas.
At this site, you can type in a subject area and find all the vocabulary flashcards you will need to make an A every time in EVERY language course!
A fantastic online dictionary for French, Spanish, German, and other languages.
A great site for Spanish grammar information and exercises as well as cultural information.
A lot of excellent general information, quizzes, and activities for Spanish.
An excellent site for reviewing and studying macroeconomic concepts.

· A collection of links to web sites covering all of American History.
·  This link provides students with EVERYTHING related to US History, from Old World to the present.  It is provided by Pearson Education.
·  This site is College Board’s overview of the AP History test. 
A collection of about 1200 web sites focused on all kinds of history.

· and
Links to information on the US Senate and the House of Representatives that contains current information on issues.
A huge site that provides a wealth of information about psychology in general and resources for tutoring and teaching psychology.
Study Skills Resources
A fantastic resource for tips related to study skills and studying in general.  This information is beneficial for learning HOW to study!
Advanced Collaborative Online Whiteboards
At this site, you can actually work out mathematical equations and/or use it for balancing/computing in Chemistry. FREE.
·       Whiteboards tutor should look in to using for online, emergency tutoring.
·       You Tube (or videos on your phone working problems).  LOTS of videos on any subject. (OR SET UP YOUR OWN YOU TUBE)…just let me know.
ACT Practice tests
· This site is your ultimate source for practice tests for the ACT with 5,000 practice questions, including 18 full-length ACT-style practice tests.  Also, when you're preparing for the ACT, use the list of resources for study tips, subject-specific strategies and more.

Friday, August 31, 2018


Writing a Winning Scholarship Essay
If you’re looking for scholarships—the big bucks for college—you will almost always have to include some type of essay/profile so the scholarship committee will know something about you.  Most often, the basic essay is “Tell Us About Yourself,” but there are lots of other questions that may be asked. These essay requirements may seem somewhat impossible, but with some guidance, you can do it!  Not everyone, however, is willing or able to put in the effort required to write well.  Writing scholarships become excellent opportunities for those students dedicated and diligent enough to write a scholarship-worthy essay.

Wining scholarships is possible, especially when you put a bit of effort into telling YOUR STORY.  Scholarships are often awarded based on some basic and universal criteria of verbal ability--things you've probably heard your English emphasize again and again.  When writing scholarship essays, be mindful of the rules of spelling and grammar, as well as essay structure and organization.  Have an introduction, body, and conclusion, and stick with one main idea per paragraph.  Inject some of YOUR style, but don't go for an extremely informal tone unless the essay contest specifically calls for one.
You may feel like scholarships are too competitive for you to be eligible for many, but someone has to win, so why shouldn’t it be you? There are ways to improve your chances at landing a scholarship, even if it’s the most competitive scholarship with the biggest reward.
Target academic scholarships if you have a stellar GPA and standardized test scores, but also make a list of what makes you unique and make sure to include those characteristics when you’re filling out your profile or looking to outside sources for potential scholarship sources. Once you’ve got a good list going of scholarships you're eligible for, it’s time to go over those results and make the ones with set deadlines and those you feel you have the best shot at winning your top priority. (If you don’t match the criteria of an award, don’t apply. There are too many scholarships out there that will fit your unique student characteristics that you shouldn’t be wasting your time on awards you don’t fit the eligibility requirements for.) If you have questions, ASK!  We’re here to help you, stay organized, and focused. To maximize your scholarship application output and the scholarships you'll receive, be sure to start as early as possible, usually in September or October of your senior year of high school once the official application is available.
When you’re ready to start applying, it’s important to get organized. One of the most important steps once you find an award that interests you is to read the directions, qualifications, and fine print carefully (an award you have to pay for to receive could be a scholarship scam). You may even find some of the work you do can be applied to multiple scholarship applications – such as an essay or writing sample. (Be sure you read the directions for those essays carefully, though. Make sure you’re answering the essay question accurately and thoughtfully, as many judges will look to those essays to narrow down a long list of applicants.) Start working on those essays early, and ask teachers or your peers for honest feedback.
If it sounds too easy, that’s because it actually is easy to apply for scholarships. Some may require that you to put in some time, but once you've completed an application or two you might find it will get easier and take less time with each additional one. Don’t psych yourself out or let yourself get overwhelmed by all you need to do before you graduate high school. Start early and work diligently and it will pay off. And remember: you’re not alone. Many students feel unprepared when they’re starting the process, but with a little research, you CAN succeed!
The only way to have a shot at a scholarship is to APPLY, and that usually means writing a personal statement or an essay on a topic the scholarship committee wants to hear about. If you miss a deadline and send your application in late, your application will not be considered.   If you skip out on an award because you think you don’t have a good shot at landing that award, you could be missing out on an opportunity for some generous funding, and free funding that you won’t need to pay back. The more scholarship information you have, the more prepared you’ll be to start the process and land your share of the free money out there to supplement your financial aid package for college.
Scholarship-Worthy Essay
This doesn’t happen in 15 minutes, 1 hour, or even a day or two.  Scholarship-worthy essays often evolve over weeks and months of careful consideration.  
Get out a pencil and paper and go to town thinking about your subject. This means you should write down everything that comes to mind. Even ideas that seem disconnect should be jotted somewhere so that you can refer to them later if you discover a logical way to use them. When you brainstorm, brilliance shines through. Too often, by censoring ourselves, we toss out our best ideas. Put a stop to this before you get to college. Think critically; don't be critical of your thoughts.
When you are done brainstorming, organize your ideas into the most logical order. From these ideas, you should be able to see an outline for your thesis.
·      Be Enthusiastic
Your interest in the topic you are writing about will shine through. If your writing says, “My mom made me write this essay and my hand hurts," it will not distinguish you. If you don't know your subject, involve yourself in it by doing research.
·      Share Information
When you write, you give another person (the reader) access to your thought life. For many people, this is why writing is so intimidating; if you can get past the intimidation, however, and be entirely honest with your audience, something magical happens — your voice/thoughts become something of interest to another human being.
·      Teach Your Audience
By sharing with your audience, you create an opportunity to teach them. You've got their attention; after all, they believe you are an incredible individual with interesting insight. Now they can learn. And guess what that makes you? Their teacher.
So, for AWESOME essays, show your maturity and convey the lessons you have learned.  And, while the bottom line includes your quest for scholarship money, that should not be everything.  
·      Answer the Critical Part
Why should you be considered for this scholarship?  Is there financial need?  Adversity overcome?  Merit achieved?  If so, TELL IT—this is a crucial part of YOUR STORY!  This may/may not be answered in your résumé and/or general information in the application.  Unless you TELL your story, you may be doing all of this for nothing.

If you are serious about the scholarships you are applying for, focus your creative energy into your synthesis of ideas. By playing with the formatting too much, you detract from your writing abilities. Your essay should include:
Keep your introduction short and punchy. Consider a quote or analogy to set up the formatting of the rest of your paper. Include your thesis (THE FOCAL POINT AND GUIDING SENTENCE TO ANSWER THE ESSAY QUESTION) within the introduction. If you are a talented theses writer, it can extend into two sentences.

Make at least three discernible points within the body of your essay. Each point should be in a paragraph of its own so that it can be easily identified by the reader. Additionally, weave sources into the body of your essay possible. It will make your writing stronger and show that you committed yourself to researching the topic at hand.
"In conclusion," statements are out. Lead into your conclusion clearly and gently. The body of the piece should work towards the conclusion, so your final comments should be captured your own reflections. A conclusion should not appear to be the introduction regurgitated —your reader will catch on to this!
Mrs. Buff’s Handy Dandy Suggestions
·        Tell YOUR story
·        Create a coherent essay that will be memorable
·        Edit, revise, edit, revise
·        Answer the question
·        Start early
·        Use your word limit carefully
·        Edit, revise, edit, revise
·        Answer the question completely
·        Edit, revise, edit, revise

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


IMAGIINE yourself in college this time next year.  BELIEVE in yourself to apply for scholarships and take difficult classes. ACHEVE your goals and touch the stars!

Friday, August 17, 2018


As you prepare for graduation in may, you are about to conclude your "free" education.  And, if you don't get scholarships and file for FAFSA, college costs will seem OVERWHELMING.  Get a head start NOW by knowing the cost of colleges you are interested in attending.

This table shows the TOTAL cost (tuition, room, board, and books) for college attendance using College Navigator.  You can either use this information, or you can go to College Navigator at and select the state and school you are interested in attending.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I'm not a counselor, but the teacher in me likes to INSPIRE.  

Below is information and two links I think you will find helpful.  This blog inspires (and keeps me organized) of new scholarships.

This blog is GREAT for locating scholarships.  There are over 100 just for October!  Once you get to the JLV Counseling site, you can follow the blog and get updates about scholarships.  Also, I just shared a link for the October scholarships to Facebook. I will share it again here.  Again, as you scroll down the page to the bottom, you will see BUNCHES of pages of scholarships--just for October.  JLV Counseling October Scholarships.  

Get busy!