As a current graduate-school student, I can finally relax and kick my feet up. For one month, I don’t have to worry about reading for class, comment on yet another discussion post, or find parking at UNO. I plan on spending time with my family and friends, binge watch television shows, and set new goals for myself for the New Year! Students, before you trade your school clothes for sweatpants, use winter break to help you plan and get organized for college. It is an excellent time to stay on track and jump-start the college-planning process. Here are things you can do during your break:

Search for scholarships

I know what you’re thinking, but who is going to search for scholarships over break? Hear me out. You can continue to spend time with your family and friends, plus check and recheck your social media accounts. It only takes a couple of hours throughout the week to search and fill out scholarship applications. You’ll be organized and on track to meet scholarship deadlines. Check out ScholarshipQuest, a free database containing over 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships. Did I mention it will find scholarships that match your profile? Besides ScholarshipQuest, we’ve handpicked nine national scholarship sites. I encourage my students who are considering going out of state for college to check out these databases.  If you want more tips on how to maximize your searching efforts, review our scholarship tips.

Build your resume 

Starting a resume now will open up opportunities for you to list accomplishments, extracurricular activities, athletics, advanced-level courses, or work experience. An employer or recommender for scholarships may ask for your resume. Also, it will make it easier to list these items on scholarship apps. Updating your information, plus getting involved in school and community activities, puts you one step closer to preparing for college. The toughest step can be formatting your resume; Activities Resume is a helpful free tool that easily creates and customizes your resume.  Plus, you can save or send your resume as a Word document or PDF.

Volunteer

Let’s face it; the holidays bring out the spirit of giving, and volunteering is a great way to give back to your community. Volunteer options might include giving blood, tutoring, endless volunteer organizations, or coaching. Volunteering is a rewarding activity, plus college and scholarship providers enjoy seeing students become more involved. Ask adults for advice to guide you in the right direction for volunteer opportunities. Oh, did I forget to mention, volunteer hours might create scholarship opportunities and it looks good on your resume! I consider it a win-win.

Invest your time in something you enjoy

As students, I know you’re busy with school activities and college planning. However, remember to take some time out for yourself and appreciate the things that you love, whether that is reading, writing poetry, or catching a movie. Adding these little gems to your hectic schedule helps you push the reset button and renew yourself. You deserve it!

Guess what? EducationQuest will remain open during breaks if you want to take advantage of college planning, FAFSA, or verification appointments to help you along this whirlwind adventure of the college process.