In the first half of the race, don’t be an idiot.
In the second half, don’t be a wimp!
The marathon has so many elements to prepare for.
I think that is one reason I always want to come back for more.
There is always something to change in your preparation
and I am still trying to discover what I am capable of.
I guess I just love the challenge.
-Dathan Ritzenhein, elite marathoner
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 SOPHOMORES
Sophomores: As you begin your second year of high school, you should have a better sense of what high school is all about, and a basic direction of where you are headed. Review and reevaluate your goals from your freshman year, and make sure you are still on track for college and scholarships. A reminder from your freshman year: 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 records of your entire sophomore year, as well as your freshman and junior years, will be the most highly reviewed by college admissions and scholarship panels. WHAT YOU DO YOUR SOPHOMORE 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:
- Review the Earn $ Section for Freshmen, and make sure you have completed and/or are working on everything on the list.
- Attend your Sophomore CCR and review your 4 year plan with your counselor and parent(s). While registering for 10th-grade courses, check out your options for 11th grade. Take note of classes you are very likely to excel at or are interested in and whether they have prerequisites. If so, sign up for them now.
- 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!…
- …But beware of academic overload. You want the best grades you can get, but you also want to stay sane.
- Make sure you follow this website and the links for Facebook, Twitter, and Remind 101. There are scholarships for Sophomores, but if you never search for them, than you will never know what they are.
- Take the PLAN test and if you want to, the PSAT. Any test taken seriously can help you gauge strengths and weaknesses as you prepare for the ACT.
- Do something: While lounging by the pool or TV can be relaxing, neither makes for the most compelling college essay. Work, volunteer, play sports, or take a college course over the summer.
- Attend any college conferences that are geared to Sophomores. HOBY is a great conference that will help you develop leadership skills.
- Explore college websites and resources. Write down appealing details about different colleges, and save your notes.
*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.