I want to run every race with a big heart.
The more you frame the marathon as a stressful experience,
the more negative messages you’ll receive.
But it’s just as easy to frame it as a positively challenging journey.
-Jeff Galloway, U.S. Olympian, running writer, and coach
Earning a scholarship is a lot like running a marathon: you start with a dream, create a plan, prepare like crazy, and run the race. It takes time, patience, determination, and a will to accomplish something great. Neither are easy, but both are possible. And anyone can do it!
I know a little bit about running and training. I’m definitely not a pro, but over the past 11 years, I have logged hundreds and hundreds of running miles. I’ve completed 3 marathons, 4 Ragnar Relays, 3 half-marathons, a 10-miler, and lots and lots of 5Ks. I have run in extreme heat, cold, rain, and perfect weather. I have run up and down canyons, on paved and gravel roads, and across many trails. I have run alone, with running friends, and always with my dog. I’ve run through a stress fracture, plantar faciitis, and hip and back and knee pain. I’ve run through so many emotional states: joy, total contentment, anxiety, depression, heart-wrenching sorrow, and total discouragement. And I’ve kept going so many times when I just wanted to stop. Forever.
You might feel like that when you think about college and scholarships…like you never want to start, or you just want to stop. Forever.
Don’t. Just start…Just keep going…Just finish!
Because running a marathon, and earning a scholarship isn’t just about what you get when you cross the finish line. It’s about what you learn along the way, and the person that you become. it’s about fulfilling dreams and accomplishing something big. But most of all, it’s about opening up a whole world of endless possibilities.
EARNING SCHOLARSHIPS AS FRESHMEN
Freshmen: You are in the beginning phase of earning scholarships. Now is the time to set a goal, make a plan, and get started. Did you know that when you apply for college and scholarships, you will have only one or two terms of your senior year on your transcripts (a record of your grades, GPA, and ACT test scores)? The record of your entire freshman year, as well as your sophomore and junior year, will be the most highly reviewed by college admissions and scholarship panels. WHAT YOU DO YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR WILL HAVE A BIGGER IMPACT ON COLLEGE AND SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS THAN WHAT YOU DO YOUR SENIOR YEAR!
This is what you need to do right now:
- Sign up for Utah Scholars.
- Learn about the Regents’ Scholarship.
- Attend your Freshman CCR and make a 4 year plan with your counselor and parent(s).
- Choose challenging classes like Honors, AP, and Concurrent Enrollment. A lot of colleges look at the rigor of coursework when selecting students for admissions and scholarships.
- Get good grades!
- Make sure you follow this website and the links for Facebook, Twitter, and Remind 101. There are scholarships for Freshmen, but if you never search for them, than you will never know what they are.
- Write well and read voraciously (if you don’t know what that word means, look it up)!
- Ask for help: Accept a bad grade on a test or essay and find out how to do better.
- Get involved in clubs and organizations: develop talents and interests, volunteer, lead, have fun, get a job.
- Stay healthy: establish good sleeping habit, exercise, eat real food.
- Talk to your parents about the family budget. Is there a plan for college? Talk about establishing a UESP (ranked as the top 529 plan in the country).
- Future College Athletes: Learn about the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements, and make sure you are academically eligible to participate in college sports.
*Some information from Ned Johnson’s article: A To-Do List for Your College Search, published in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges of 2013.