By Katie Wornek, Outreach Officer and Financial Aid Expert – March 22, 2017 (updated March 12, 2019)

March Madness is college basketball’s biggest event. Coincidentally, the last few months of the school year are some of the most important parts of the entire year! It’s important to finish out the school year strong.

This month, fans from all over the world are glued to their televisions to see which team will be crowned the NCAA Champ. The last quarter of school, especially if you are a senior, can be its own kind of MADNESS. As those driven b-ball players know, the final quarter is the time to pump out the extra energy and motivation needed to finish out the game strong and win in style. I’m here to give you a few pointers to help you manage the madness and make the last few months of the school year a slam dunk. Boom-shaka-laka!

Make a scholarship bracket.

March Madness fans love to fill out their “bracket”– it’s a chart that helps them organize which teams they think will be eliminated, which teams they think will move forward, and ultimately which team they feel will win the tournament. Consider creating a chart or spreadsheet to map your end-of-year scholarship progress. This can help you visualize deadlines for upcoming scholarships, keep track of which scholarship applications you have already completed, and identify scholarships you’ve been awarded.

Traveling – illegal in basketball, awesome for school!

Traveling on the basketball court will result in a penalty call. Traveling in school will result in a positive exposure to what college life will be like! The weather is getting warmer, which makes this the perfect time of year to schedule a college visit. Take a trip to the campuses that interest you. Arrange to meet with faculty, staff, or student groups and be sure to ask plenty of questions to determine if the school is a good fit for you. If you’ll be attending college in the fall, go a step further and sign up for an orientation that you can attend while you are on campus.


Schools don’t get to compete in the March Madness tournament by just showing up to games. They have to practice! The same concept applies to test taking. In order to be considered for admission to a college or university, you will need to take either the ACT or SAT. I know these tests can seem long, difficult, and very intimidating! However, preparing in advance can help you feel more confident in your ability to get a good score. The Utah Futures Learning Express Library can help you study and practice for these tests.

The Assist.

Just like winning in basketball, succeeding in school requires teamwork. Parents, role models, teachers, responsible peers, tutors, and counselors are the people you should consider when formulating your team. They can help you stay on track and help you push yourself to finish the year strong. StepUp would also love to be a part of your team! Check out our website for more resources or e-mail us with questions at!

Katie is an Outreach Officer with UHEAA and StepUpUtah. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science from the University of Utah and previously worked as a tutor with the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college preparatory program. You can follow her for professional advice about preparing and paying for college on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (@StepUpKatie).