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The most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us…winter break! Just thinking about sleeping in, watching hours upon hours of Netflix, doing some gaming, and eating all the holiday treats gets me feeling nostalgic. Well, all except the Netflix part. Unfortunately, it wasn’t around when I was in high school, but I have just as profound an affinity for it now as you do.

While I encourage you to enjoy the rest and relaxation you deserve, I also urge you to take a bit of the extra time you find yourself with to do some necessary college prep. I know well how busy you are when school is in session – homework, activities, and family obligations keep you on the run, and there’s not much time for the “extra stuff.” But that stuff still needs to get done. Soon. So, do yourself a favor and take just a couple of hours each week of your break to complete the following tasks. You’ll be glad you did when January rolls around and your schedule gets crazy again.

File Your FAFSA

If you do nothing else on this list during winter break, please do this! Now is the time to get your Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) submitted. The FAFSA is your ticket to college. It’s how you apply for federal, state, and college-based financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study funds. It can also play a role in earning scholarships. While the form can seem intimidating, I promise it’s not that hard. EducationQuest has lots of FREE tools that can help, including our FAFSA demo videos, FAFSA checklist, FAFSA tutorial, and more. And if you have any trouble, our college planning specialists are only one phone call away.

Apply To College

Filing your FAFSA and applying to college go hand in glove, my friends. You will list the colleges you are interested in attending on the FAFSA. It’s important to note that a college will only send financial aid offers if you are accepted for admission. Some colleges begin awarding aid as soon as December and January, so your FAFSA and college applications must be submitted soon. If you’re still having trouble deciding on a college that’s right for you, there are free tools that can help.

Search and Apply for Scholarships

We can help you out in a big way with this one. Have you heard of ScholarshipQuest? It’s only probably the greatest single invention known to man. Ok, that’s a little dramatic, but it is super cool. ScholarshipQuest is a free online database that houses more than 2,000 Nebraska-based scholarships! There’s no better or easier way to search for free money to help you get a college education.

Update Your Activities Resume

I know you’ve been busy, but it’s time to put everything you’ve accomplished to work for you. Create or update your Activities Resume. This free tool allows you to track your extracurricular activities, honors, and awards throughout high school. You will find it especially helpful as you apply for admission to college and scholarships. Everything will be organized and at the tips of your fingers.  

Follow EducationQuest on Social

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Not only will we help you keep track of important deadlines, but you will also have a shot at winning a $500 Get Social Scholarship! Every time we add another 250 likes or follows on any of our social networks, we award $500. It’s the easiest, most fun scholarship you’ll ever apply for. You can also sign up for Countdown2College, a monthly email with tips and resources to help you stay on track to college.

Enjoy your winter break! You’ve earned it!

By Regan Anson