Prom Dresses for 2014

Prom season 2014 is right around the corner and it is never too late or too early to start looking at all of the gorgeous styles available. If you haven’t found the right one for you, don’t worry! There is always a dress out there that is perfect for any body style!

That might be true, but that still doesn’t make the hunt for the best dress easy. Believe us, we totally get it! So, to help facilitate your hunt, we have prepared a list of styles that will be popular styles for all kinds of body types out there. We even included some designers with exceptional pieces to help make the task of finding your ideal dress just a little bit easier!

One Shoulder Dresses

We know that it isn’t always easy to find a dress style that can complement one’s natural beauty. For young ladies with slender frames, the one shoulder dress is a great way to showcase lean physiques. One shoulder dresses come in a variety of colors and styles, so there is something for everyone. Designers of one shoulder dresses to look out for in 2014 are Ralph Lauren and ML Monique Lhuillier.

Strapless Cocktail Dress

prom dresses for 2014This is the quintessential dress for ladies looking for a way to shine at prom. Cocktail dresses are always the go-to for black-tie events and the strapless version of the classic dress is a great way to show off your playful style with confidence. In 2014, look for cocktail dresses from Tadashi Shoji and Adrianna Papell.

Lace Dresses

In case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s the big news: lace is in! Lace dresses come in a variety of colors and designs. Lace dresses that offer more coverage give any woman an air of classic elegance while shorter lace dresses offer a dash of high-spirited sweetness. Some of the best lace dresses for 2014 are from Shelli Segal and Eliza J.

Pleated Halter Dress

If you have an hourglass figure but can’t quite figure out what to wear, then pleated halter top dresses are just for you. They offer quite a bit of coverage while leaving your arms free so you can dance all night long! If you are in the market for pleated halter dresses for prom in 2014, keep an eye out for Jenny Yoo and Marc Jacobs.

Shirred Satin Bow Dress

Bows are always cute and if you’re shopping for a stubborn apple-shaped frame, then they can be your new best friend. Shirred satin bow dresses layer material around your upper body and waist, leaving the material to drape down your hips. This is a creative way to accentuate your hips! The prettiest bow dresses for prom can be found from Maggy London or Iris & Ivy.

Ombre Party Dresses

Lace might be in, but if it is a little classical for your tastes, don’t worry! These two-toned dresses can fit with any color scheme, from bright neon colors to creamy pastel colors to subdued earth tones. They are also a great way to help draw towards or away from specific areas to give you the over-all look you want. If ombre party dresses are your cup of tea, look at what the collections of Herve Leger or Nicole Miller have to offer.

Belted Dresses

For those of you out there with glorious pear shaped bodies, you can’t go wrong with dresses with belts. If you think belts are something that can stifle your creativity, think again! Belts come in all sorts of styles now, from thin and barely obvious to loud and proud floral bouquets. Belt designs are as varied and as unique as you are. For the best in belted dresses, look no further than Eliza J or Anne Klein.

Babydoll Dresses

If a belted dresses isn’t your cup of tea for complemented your pear shape, then you can also consider wearing a babydoll dress. These dresses are a great way to show off your sweet and playful side. The best babydoll dresses to wear in 2014 are from Ted Baker or Free People.

A-Line Dresses

No collection of popular dress styles for 2014 would be complete without the inclusion of A-Line dresses. These fitted and flared nature of these dresses is sure to give you an enviable silhouette that will be the talk of the prom. A-line favorites for 2014 are from Tadashi Shoji, Lush, or Donna Morgan.

Prom is a time in every young woman’s life to make great, ever-lasting memories. It is an evening of celebrating youth and vitality, and you are going to want to look the part. If you follow one of the suggestions above that fit your style and shape, there is no way that you are going to do anything other than shine at prom in 2014!

College Grants in 2014

With graduate school application due dates looming on the horizon and college bound seniors poring over campus brochures, it is time to start thinking about potential funding sources to cover the costs of college attendance. As the average tuition was just over $18,000 in 2013 and schools continually struggle to keep up their scholarship funds, looking into grants seems like a good idea for many parents and students-to-be. There are various types of grants based on a multitude of factors that may include state of residence, state of school, ethnic background, military background, field of study, and socioeconomic factors. The following overview covers the most common types of college grants available to students.

Federal Grants

It is always a good idea to start with programs available through the federal government. For the most part, even non-federal programs require applicants to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before they can be considered for alternative grants. Students can find the FAFSA application and additional information regarding various federal grant programs on the Federal Student Aid website (http://studentaid.ed.gov) maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. The most common grants student make use of are the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Admittedly, considerably more students are eligible to receive the Pell Grant than the FSEOG, and more colleges participate in the former than the latter as well. The Pell Grant provides approximately $5,000 annually to undergraduate students working towards their first degree. It is based on the student’s financial need and it is available for the first twelve semesters of studies. The actual amount of the grant varies yearly and it also depends on the specific circumstances of the student applicant. The FSEOG may provide and additional $4,000 to a student that has an exceptional financial need. Recipients are usually undergraduate students already funded through Pell Grants, and the actual amount of the grant varies from school to school.

State Government Grants

college grants in 2014The second type of widely accessible resource for most college students is their state’s educational program. Many states offer a variety of student loan programs with the potential for loan forgiveness, and there are also a fair number of states with educational grants. For the most part, students need to attend an institution of higher education in their state of residence in order to be eligible for these types of grants, but there are some exceptions. The National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs website (http://www.nassgap.org) provides links to all state government education programs that contain information specific to each state. For instance, Alaska offers up to $3,000 annually through its AlaskAdvantage Education Grant to qualifying students. Eligibility is based on financial need and program of study, with priority given to students enrolled in workforce shortage programs. Vermont, on the other hand, offers Incentive Grants to its undergraduate part-time and full-time student residents attending any school of postsecondary education in the United States or Canada that participates in the federal Pell Grant program. The average grant is approximately $1,800 and it is awarded on a first come first serve basis. The actual grant amount depends on the annual state budget, student needs, and availability of funds.

Specialized Grants

The third type of grants college students can take advantage of are more difficult to characterize than the previous two. They are also more restrictive in eligibility requirements and have well defined target populations. These types of grants are usually set up to serve the needs of certain students and the criteria can range from military service or ethnic background to educational excellence. One example of the latter is the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grant that is available to third, fourth, and fifth year Pell Grant eligible undergraduate students majoring in technical fields and certain liberal arts programs with a 3.0 GPA. Some of these programs are also based on the ethnicity of the applicant, such as the various opportunities available at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (http://www.chci.org/about) or the American Indian College Fund (http://www.collegefund.org/). Many of these specialized grants may also cross-cut several larger categories. For example, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant is a federal program for undergraduate students in education fields while the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant provides funding for descendants of U.S. armed forces members who died during their military service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Researching and following up on these various educational grant opportunities may seem like a daunting task, but there are substantial benefits at stake. Students and parents alike will greatly appreciate having the opportunity to reduce student loan debt through college grants and they will find it is well worth the effort and time it takes to fill out the relevant applications.

Scholarships for College Students in 2014

If you are already in or thinking about going to college in 2014, you have undoubtedly thought about financial aid. The cost of college has increased greatly in recent years and the vast majority of students (and their families) looking to further their education will require financial assistance to cover expenses. The costs of college include more than just the tuition. Most colleges and universities also charge substantial fees as well as book and other charges. If the student will be living away from home (either on campus or independently) those costs have to be considered as well.

Student loans and scholarships are the two primary sources of financial aid for college students. Although student loans typically do not have to be repaid until after you have graduated, you should only use them as a last resort. Many graduates have reported that the obligation to repay student loans limits their career options and can cripple their financial situation for many years.

The better option to help you pay for your college education is scholarships which are typically made in the form of grants that do not have to be repaid. There are generally three different types of scholarships: need-based, merit-based and specialty. This article will discuss some of the available scholarships for college students in 2014.

2014 Need-Based Scholarships

scholarships for college students in 2014To qualify for a need-based scholarship, you will have to provide your (and your family’s) financial information. The most common need-based scholarship is offered by the federal government through the Pell Grant and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant programs, where students can obtain up to $8,000 per year based upon need. Other programs are offered directly by colleges. If you can show your school that the amount of money that you can afford to pay for your education does not meet the costs, the school may award you a need-based scholarship. The scholarship is typically simply awarded as a credit on your tuition bill. Many states also offer need-based scholarships to their residents who are attending a state school. For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia operates the Virginia College Scholarship Assistance Program, which awards from $400 to $5,000 annually to Virginia students who can only afford less than one-half of the cost of attending a Virginia university.

2014 Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based or academic scholarships are often awarded based upon grade point average or scores on standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT). Merit scholarships can also be awarded for non-academic achievements such as community service or artistic achievement. For example, members of the National Honor Society are eligible for merit scholarship awards from the school they are planning to attend. The University of Virginia runs the Jefferson Scholars program which provides merit-based aid to 117 of its students that covers all expenses for four years.

2014 Specialized Scholarships

Specialized scholarships are college grants that are reserved for specific groups of people. They are generally not well-publicized and some effort must be made to locate this type of financial aid. Nevertheless, it can be well worth the effort to locate a specialized scholarship. Some examples of specialized scholarships include:

  1. Minority scholarships. If you belong to a minority group (for example, Hispanic women) there are many scholarships available. For example, the Hispanic Conference for Career Advancement has several aid programs specifically for women of Hispanic descent.
  2. Scholarships for veterans. Military veterans can qualify for different financial aid programs. If you have served on active duty since 2001, check with the Veterans Administration to see if you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. There are several other federal programs for veterans. In addition, many states and individual colleges also offer aid programs for military veterans.
  3. Religious scholarships. If you want to study at a religious institution there are many faith based scholarship opportunities. For example, the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation offers grants to students who want to study at Methodist colleges.
  4. Scholarships for medical professionals. Students who wish to pursue a career in medicine should look into medical scholarships. For example, the Mayo Medical School (affiliated with the Mayo Clinic) provides several full-tuition scholarships each year to its students.

You can see from the above discussion that there are a great number of scholarship opportunities for students planning to attend college in 2014. The list above should give you some good ideas for searching for available scholarships. Remember, only use student loans as a last resort to help you pay for college. You will be much better off in the long run funding college through grants and scholarships.