By Maureen Brakke

What are you plans over winter break? Skiing, snowboarding, staying indoors, or traveling somewhere warm maybe?


While it’s important to enjoy yourself over break and relax, here are a few things that you’d be smart to do over your break.

  1. Apply for scholarships. Where can you find these?, and are good places to start. Also check out college websites for scholarships. Use this scholarship toolkit to help you get started.
  2. Read. Yes, reading keeps your mind sharp. Read a new novel or try reading the newspaper either online or the hard copy. You’ll keep up on the latest happenings in your city and around the U.S., and you’ll be able to share a fun new facts with your friends.
  3. Learn one new skill. Learning a new skill is important and can help you later on. For example, if you know someone who is good at cooking, ask them to teach you how to cook. Other examples is to have someone teach you how to change the breaks on your car, change the oil, or change a tire. Want to learn to knit? Ask someone who knits to teach you!
  4. Ask about college. Ask family, friends, or neighbors that have gone to college about their experiences; what they liked and what they would have done differently. Ask about different careers and what kind of education you need for each one.
  5. Get online. What?! Yes. Find websites and social media accounts of colleges you’re interested in. You can learn a lot about a college or university by their social media account. Many have video tours of their college campuses. Check them out! Are you following us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook? You’ll get great preparing for college tips and advice!
  6. Get out. Even though staying warm and toasty at home sounds amazing, getting out and exploring new things is a great way to find what you’re interested in. For example, go to museums (see list of museums in Utah), go to the local library and explore books you’ve never heard of, or take a class with your friends on pottery, painting, cooking, etc. Check with your local community center or YMCA/YWCA to see what classes they offer.
  7. Give back. Volunteering in your community is great experience; you’ll meet new people and learn about an organization. Volunteering will also look good on your scholarship and college applications. Find volunteer opportunities in your area.
  8. Prepare for college. This is really simple. Go to and check out our blog on everything paying and preparing for college, check out our Paying for College Guide, College Guide, Grade-by-Grade Checklist, and explore college majors. You can also watch really helpful videos on preparing and paying for college on our YouTube channel.

Maureen is a communications specialist with the Utah System of Higher Education. She also manages, and formerly worked as a financial aid and college prep outreach officer with UHEAA. You can find her on Twitter @BrakM30