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Maintaining Balance: School, Scholarships & Your College Search

Between academics, extracurricular activities, scholarships and searching for the perfect college fit, students may have trouble balancing their lives.

Bailey Vannatta

September 17, 2014

Maintaining Balance: School, Scholarships & Your College Search
Some may tell you that junior year is the most stressful of the four years you will spend in high school. There is some validity to that statement, but senior year may be just as stressful, if not more stressful, for some students. Between academics, extracurricular activities, scholarships and searching for the perfect college fit, students may have trouble balancing their lives.

1. Time Management Skills

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I cannot stress how absolutely important these are. Unless you’re up for trying to get your English essay written and submit a college application at 2 AM the day of the deadline, you need to develop and strengthen these. Buy a planner and make yourself keep up with it. Make sure you know when deadlines are so that you won’t get behind. Make a schedule and a to-do list for all of the things you need to get done and stick to it. If you say you’re going to sit down and read your economics textbook at 4 o’clock, do not put it off.

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2. Narrow It Down

If you’re at all like me, that acceptance letter gives you the best feeling in the world. For a long time I wanted to apply to every college I could just to see if I could get into my “dream” schools. Trust me; you do not have the time or energy to complete all of those applications. Narrow your choices down to a number you feel comfortable with. Make sure these choices are schools that you are seriously considering going to when you graduate high school.

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Use all of the available college days you can to visit potential schools. If you don’t like the campus or you just feel like it’s not for you, don’t apply there! It’s that simple.

3. Take Advantage

At your school, most likely there is someone to help you get organized and “college ready.” Definitely take advantage of them. They will help you out tremendously. Whether it is helping you write your admissions essays, or showing you scholarship opportunities, this person will be your life saver.

4. Start Your Scholarship Search Early

So many students think that you can only apply for scholarships when you are a senior, but this is untrue! There are many scholarships that are available for students as young as freshman to apply for. You just have to look! The earlier you start your search, the more potential you have to earn more scholarships.

5. Do Not Spread Yourself Too Thin

This may be the most important thing. I am very guilty of this. You want to be that all-around great kid with amazing grades, and potential that colleges are just dying to have. Do not get involved in everything. Colleges want to see that you’re involved in things you’re interested in. They want to see what you’re passionate about and what you have accomplished. For example, if you have no interest in student government, do not join student council. Make sure when you think about the future list of extracurricular activities you’re going to submit to colleges, that the list represents who you are as a person. Whatever you do during high school, make sure to make those years count. While it is important to succeed in school and prepare for college, it is also essential to be who you are and have fun. Remember to be a kid while you can. Balancing your life isn’t hard; just find where you’re comfortable.

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