The school year is nearly half over! If you’re getting anxious about college costs, you could ask Santa for tuition money…or you can give yourself the gift of scholarship money! Many of you will soon be on your holiday break from school. You should definitely have fun and relax – you’ve earned it!



But you should also consider using some of your free time to prepare for college. Here are some scholarship-related ideas to help you make the most of your winter break…




Volunteering proves that you can handle responsibilities outside of school and demonstrates that you care about your community. This is why scholarship committees often look for applicants who have volunteer experience. The holidays are about caring for others and giving back, so there are plenty of volunteer opportunities this time of year!

  • Talk to your teachers or guidance counselors if they know of any local organizations looking for student volunteers
  • If you are a member of a church or community organization, ask about holiday-themed volunteer events they might be hosting
  • You can also find volunteer opportunities in your community through UServe Utah



Work on your personal statement

The holiday season often makes people feel jolly and hopeful.


If you’re experiencing those warm and fuzzy feelings, use them to your advantage and apply them toward writing a positive, inspiring personal statement! Scholarship committees want to know what you’re passionate about, what makes you unique, and how you will use your scholarship money to obtain an education and create positive change in the world. Use our Scholarship Toolkit to jot down some of those ideas, then use your winter break to polish your thoughts into a beautifully moving essay.



Complete your FAFSA

Some private scholarships require you to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you’re a senior or current college student, consider sitting down with a parent and completing your FAFSA over the holidays. The application generally takes less than an hour, and our FAFSA Walk-Through Video and FAFSA Do-It-Yourself Kit can make the process even quicker and easier.




Set a goal to apply for at least one scholarship during your time off from school. I will even help you come up with ideas of scholarships to apply for! In honor of the holidays, I am posting 12 Days of Scholarships on my social media accounts. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram to find a new scholarship opportunity daily!



If you have any questions or need more ideas for making the most of your holiday break, our team is always here to help. Email us at or call 801-869-5701. The StepUp family wishes you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!



Katie Wornek - Step Up Utah Outreach Officer and Paying for College ExpertKatie 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 is currently working toward her Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Utah. You can follow her for professional advice about preparing and paying for college on TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat (@StepUpKatie).