The Elks Are Giving Away $2 Million in Scholarships. Here’s How to Apply


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Before television and the internet, people often joined social clubs and fraternal orders to socialize and get involved in the community.

Some of those orders, like the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, also known as the Elks, are still an active part of society today.

The group created the Elks National Foundation, which invests in communities through a variety of programs and scholarship opportunities.

Every year, its Most Valuable Student scholarship program awards 500 four-year scholarships to the highest-rated high school seniors.

Scholarships range from $1,000 to $12,500 per year, for a total of $2.4 million.

Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship Details

There are two each of the first-, second- and third-place scholarships; 14 fourth-place awards; and 480 runners-up — all equally divided between male and female students.

The two first-place awards are for $50,000, or $12,500 per year; the two second-place awards are for $40,000, or $10,000 per year; the two third-place awards are for $30,000 or $7,500 per year; the 14 fourth-place awards are for $20,000 or $5,000 per year; the 480 runners-up will receive $4,000, or $1,000 per year.

To be eligible, you must be a high school senior, a U.S. citizen and have completed the ACT or SAT and plan on pursuing a four-year degree full time at an accredited U.S. university or college.

You do not have to be related to an Elks member to qualify. (Membership is open only to those 21 and older.)

The application process includes a report from your school counselor, a student aid report from your completed FAFSA (federal student aid application) and a resume that includes information about community service, extracurricular activities, honors, awards and jobs.

Last, you will have to write a 300-word essay on this topic: “Using one of the leadership roles or extracurricular activities you prioritized as being important to you, describe what impact the experience had on you, what you contributed, what you learned about yourself, and how it has influenced your plans for the future.”

The applicant is responsible for ensuring all required documentation is included.

Students will be judged on financial need, academics, community involvement and leadership.

Applicants must advance through local, district and state levels to reach the national competition.

The top 20 finalists will interview with national judges during an all-expense-paid, mandatory leadership weekend in Chicago from April 11 to 14, 2019.

To apply, visit the Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship page and follow the “apply now” link.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 15, 2018.

If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements for this scholarship, check out our list of 100 scholarships that will help you pay for college.

Or you can like The Penny Hoarder Life on Facebook to discover other scholarship opportunities.

Stephanie Bolling is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Shuffleboard is her social club of choice.

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Physical Over Digital: Why Some People Prefer Paper Planners Over Apps

Oh smartphones, what can’t you do? I use mine for all sorts of things: making phone calls, taking photos, waking up in the morning, cashing checks, playing fantasy football and paying for coffee when I’m in a pinch.

But there’s one thing I don’t use my phone for — planning my day. Yes, smartphones have built-in calendars that can sync to your Google Drives and whatnot, but my phone calendar is fairly blank. For keeping track of my day, I prefer the old-fashioned method of using a pen to write in my daily paper planner.

I’m not alone in opting for the traditional daily planner (consider that you can still find people purchasing them each December at office supply stores). So if you’re looking to get more organized at work, here are some reasons to choose a paper planner.

No Need for Batteries

Jillian Chertok says when people need something done, they come to her because they know she’s going to remember to do it. As a public relations consultant juggling multiple clients, staying organized is vital. So whenever she has to write a press release or schedule a meeting, she jotts it down in her paper planner.

Chertok, 36, from Queens, New York, has used paper planners since college and plans to stick with them because of their reliability. With digital planners on computers or smartphone apps, there is always the possibility of your phone battery dying or being unable to connect to Wi-Fi.

“I know if I wrote it down it’s not going to disappear off the page,” she says. “I know with electronics there’s always a possibility something can happen, something could get deleted. My phone could fall into the toilet, and everything is gone.

“With writing it down, unless you lose it, it’s going to be there.”

(But whatever you do, don’t misplace your planner.)

The Act of Writing Can Help

A planner is opened up to reveal numerous sticky notes.
According to a study published in Psychological Science, college students who used pen and paper to take notes were able to retain more information during lectures than students using laptops. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

For Tamara Roberts, it’s more difficult to remember important dates and information when she uses digital calendars; for some reason, the information doesn’t stick. But that’s not the case when she writes it down.

“I know when I type it into my phone a lot of times it’s almost a surprise when I see it on my calendar,” she says. “It’s definitely more defined in my mind when I write it on my paper planner.”

According to a study published in Psychological Science, college students who used pen and paper to take notes were able to retain more information during lectures than students using laptops.  

Roberts, 36, a realtor from Lakeland, Florida, started using paper planners in 2004 to keep track of everyone’s schedules while working for a staffing agency. Now she uses her planner to manage her work schedule and the schedules of six children.

Staying on Task

Kristen Herhold says she wouldn’t survive without her planner. As a senior content writer and marketer for the digital marketing company Clutch, she can’t let anything fall through the cracks when managing contributor content. She tried just using a Google Calendar but realized she wasn’t putting all of her tasks on it. Plus, it was easy for the calendar to get lost in a sea of browser tabs.

By writing tasks down in her paper planner, she says her duties feel more permanent and can’t be ignored.

“Anybody could walk by my desk and look at my planner because I just keep it open,” she says. “So I think it keeps me more accountable — where if I write something down, I need to do it. It’s just so much more permanent.

“You can’t erase ink, and if I don’t cross it off that week, then it’s pretty obvious I didn’t accomplish that.”

Unplug for a Little While

A woman writes in her daily planner.
Keeping a daily planner can help you unplug from electronic devices for a little while. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Sydnie Enyeart has a practical reason why she doesn’t like digital planners. “I’m a 911 dispatcher; I spend 12 hours a day in front of a computer screen, and I don’t want to do that when I get home,” she says.

Enyeart, 29, from Vero Beach, Florida, started using planners to keep track of her assignments in school but fell out of the habit. About five years ago, she reincorporated paper planners into her life, and now they serve two purposes.

The paper planner hasn’t just helped her stay organized — the act of entering important dates has become a hobby.

Enyeart uses planners that incorporate fun, colorful layouts that encourage creative expression. If she plans on attending a birthday party or if her nephew has a baseball game, for example, she’ll decorate the calendar space with stickers and color them in. That way it jumps out, giving her something fun to look forward to as the day approaches.

“It becomes your ‘me time’ to sit down and plan your week,” she says. “You sit there for an hour, plan it out, decorate it, and it becomes your hobby more than just merely function.”

Completing Tasks Is Much More Satisfying

After a long day at work, seeing every item on her to-do list crossed out is the best feeling, Chertok says. There’s something about rolling a ballpoint pen across a task that offers a great sense of accomplishment.

“I know people who will add something to a to-do list that they’ve already done just so they can cross it off,” she says. “I don’t go to those extremes, but when I’m able to cross things off my list and physically see with my own eyes that I was productive, it’s great.”

It’s a feeling that can’t be replicated by clicking a box on a digital to-do list. “I think it’s such a satisfying feeling, especially at the end of a week,” says Herhold. “Today is Friday, and my planner is almost all crossed out. It looks so messy, but it’s so great.”

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He also uses a paper planner and is looking forward to crossing out this assignment on his to-do list.

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17 Scary-Good Halloween Deals and Freebies, From Pizza to Ice Cream

Who says kids get to have all the fun on Halloween?

This year, there are a bunch of scary-good deals and freebies that will make the holiday a delight for kids of all ages.

So if you’re looking to fill your trick-or-treat bag with pizza, burritos, ice cream and more, get your Halloween costume ready and check out these sweet Halloween deals.

1. Applebee’s

Trick or drink! If you celebrate Halloween with cocktails, then stop by Applebee’s for some zombies — that’s a concoction of rum, pineapple, passion fruit, cherry and lime garnished with a gummy brain — for just $1 each.

2. Baskin-Robbins

You don’t have to scream for free ice cream this Halloween. As part of its Celebrate 31 promotion, all Baskin-Robbins customers can get a free scoop of any flavor ice cream for $1.50 on Oct. 31.

3. Bass Pro Shops

Round up the family and head over to a participating Bass Pro Shop location Oct. 31 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to join in on totally free activities like crafting, pumpkin tossing, photo ops, cookie decorating, trick-or-treating and a costume parade.

See the full schedule of events here.

4. Beef O’Brady’s

You can make sure the kiddos eat dinner before dessert when you head over to Beef O’Brady’s on Halloween. All costumed kids get a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree.

5. BJ’s Restaurant

If you want to add warm cookie smothered in ice cream to your buffet of Halloween treats, then head over to BJ’s Restaurant for $3 Pizookies. The offer is available for dine-in, takeout and delivery orders through Oct. 31.

6. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Praytino under Creative Commons

Run, Forrest, run… down to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. to get a free kid’s meal on Halloween with the purchase of an adult entree. The offer is limited to one per table and is not valid with any other discount. Tax and gratuity are not included.

And for all of you “Forrest Gump” fans, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. has declared October “Forrest Gump Character Look-Alike Month.” This means you could win a $200 gift card if you share a photo of yourself dressed as one of the movie’s main characters before Nov. 1.  

7. BurgerFi

Whether you’re in the mood for something salty or sweet, you can get it for free at BurgerFi on Halloween. All you have to do is stop by in your costume to get a free small custard or free small fry.

8. Chipotle

Jason Epping under Creative Commons

Chipotle’s annual Boorito promotion is back! Grab a $4 burrito when you show up in costume on Halloween from 3 p.m. to close! Not a burrito fan? Don’t worry. You can get a bowl, salad or order of tacos instead!

And don’t forget to take a selfie in your Halloween costume while you’re there. You could win free burritos for a year if your share your photo on Instagram and tag @chipotle.

9. Chuck E. Cheese’s

Halloween is all fun and games with Chuck E. Cheese’s Chucktober celebration. Kids who come dressed to play — in their Halloween costumes, that is — any time during the month of October will each receive 50 free game tickets.

10. Cici’s Pizza

Before the kids start collecting treats for their Halloween candy buffets, treat them to a free kids buffet at Cici’s! The offer is available with the purchase of an adult buffet and a regular or large drink — just print or show this coupon. Limit one child per adult purchase, and the kiddo must be in costume.

11. IHOP

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids to pass the time before trick-or-treating, head over to your local IHOP any time between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Oct. 31. Kids 12 and under can create their own free scary-face pancake with strawberries, whipped topping, mini Oreo cookies and candy corn.

12. Joe’s Crab Shack

Get the kiddos decked out in their costumes and head down to your local Joe’s Crab Shack on Oct. 31 for up to three free kids meals when you show this flyer to your server. Make sure you go hungry, too — one adult entree purchase is required for each free kids meal.

13. Krispy Kreme

Scott Aleman under Creative Commons

Wear a costume and stop by a participating Krispy Kreme location to get a free donut of your choice on Oct. 31.

14. McAlister’s Deli

Participating McAlister’s Deli locations are giving away free kid meals to kids in costume on Halloween. The deal is available for dine-in orders only between 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. with the purchase of an adult entree. Limit two kid meals per adult entree.

15. Penn Station East Coast Subs

Have a little fun with this online hangman game that offers instant rewards for winners. All you have to do is complete the phrases to receive an instant reward, including BOGO coupons. No registration is required, and you can play once a day through Oct. 31, 2018.

16. Sonic

Calling all corn dog lovers! Snag a 50-cent corn dog all day on Halloween at Sonic locations, no costume necessary.

17. 99 Restaurant & Pub

99 Restaurant & Pub is offering all kiddos 10 and under a free kids entree with an adult entree purchase.

Happy Halloween, Penny Hoarders!

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt. Editorial assistant Jessica Gray updated this post.

Jessica Gray is an editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder. She updated this post for 2018.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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