Preparing for the Future: Don’t Worry…It’s Worth It!

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Getting into college can be very difficult and stressful. Applying for scholarships, maintaining good grades, and doing other extracurricular activities may seem like a long uphill battle. Some may begin to doubt rather or not it is all worth it. While it may seem difficult to get into a good college for a good price, in the end, it is completely worth all the hard work.

By looking at a few students, we can see that this point is true. Hard work and perseverance will take you very far in your life.

Max Stauffer is a senior whose hard work resulted in two amazing scholarships. Max is currently taking two AP classes, a dual class, and band. Stauffer balances his time by completing all of his work as soon as possible. He says that he is mainly a band student, and that lots of work goes into his music. Max has not done AP classes all throughout high school. In fact, last year was his first year taking AP classes, and he is finishing high school with four AP classes.

“I’ve taken these classes, not just for a GPA boost or for the AP credit. I’ve really taken them to understand the topics because I think it will help me later on. But it has also helped me with scholarship applications and university admissions,” Max says.

Stauffer earned the New American University Scholarship for ASU, and an Air Force scholarship. The scholarship for ASU grants him $10,000 per year, for four years. The Air Force scholarship covers full tuition for an in-state university for four years. While the application process was long and difficult, Max says that it was all worth it.

“I started applying to it in October this past year,” says Stauffer. “It was a long application process, and there were a lot of steps to go through. But I think it was really worth it because it’s a lot of good stuff and it helps me get to where I want to go in my career.”

There is a lot that goes into applying for scholarships. Things like your GPA, ACT and SAT, and extracurriculars can play a large role in earning them. However, colleges look for more than just a good student.

“They’re not just looking for a good student, or good extracurriculars. They’re looking for more of a whole person applicant…they really try to figure out if you’re the type of person that, in my case, the Air Force is looking for,” Stauffer says.

While applying, Max was sure to include as many attributes about him as possible. He was sure to expand on all the areas of school and extracurricular activities that he was a part of, fully filling out his application. After, he went to ASU for an interview. He was asked lots of questions about his application, and about himself.

After all the hard work of high school and applying for college, Max doesn’t regret any of it.

“I’m really excited about it. Not only is it a great opportunity financially, it really cuts down the cost of college a lot, but it’s also exciting because I’ve wanted to go into the Air Force for a while, and it’s a great opportunity because it really secures that, so there’s not as much doubt about how my success will be,” Max says.

Chris Hermes is another senior who’s hard work helped him gain a scholarship. In contrast to Max Stauffer, Chris Hermes presents an athletic perspective in which working hard in sports will help in the long run. He is currently taking two classes this year. Last semester, Chris took two honors classes, and this semester he is taking a dual and a regular class. With only a two class schedule, he has lots of free time. He uses his time to work, study, and to train for basketball.

“I try to study when I can, like when I have free time. But with not as many classes, it’s a lot easier to put in extra work and get things done outside of the classroom, to make sure that everything is turned in on time,” Hermes says.

Chris has taken more difficult classes throughout his high school career, but has always made sure to complete what needs to be done.

“I have always taken pretty hard classes, honors and AP, so it [high school] was challenging, but I was always able to get my stuff done,” Hermes says.

Chris earned an athletic scholarship to Scottsdale Community College. Hermes has played basketball since second grade, and it is what brought him his scholarship.

“The [Scottsdale] coach got in contact with me after the season. He was interested in me because of the way I played, and he saw my highlights and everything. He also knew Coach Lopez, and Coach Lopez helped me out. And I toured the school and really liked it, and I committed there,” says Hermes.

Chris is looking forward to his scholarship because he gets to do what he loves, and he gets to stay close to home. Looking back, Chris says that all of the hard work he put into high school was definitely worth it.

“I get to play basketball at the next level and go to college, that’s all that I could ask for,” says Hermes.

These two students are now literally being paid for all of their hard work. College will now be a little easier for them with the scholarships that they have earned. 

Caleb Hutchison was a student who graduated from ASU last year, with absolutely no student loans to pay off. In high school Caleb took all of the honors and AP classes he could. He also participated in marching band, NHS, and yearbook. Many students struggle with the decision of taking difficult classes in high school. Despite their difficulty, they will really pay off in the future.

“AP definitely made a difference because they teach you stuff that you’re going to take on the AP test. And that same material is taught in actual college courses. So AP classes are basically the same thing as a college course,” Hutchison says.

However, challenging classes and extracurriculars aren’t all that carry you. Who you are as a person demonstrates a lot, and colleges will also look at who you are as a person to make decisions.

“I tried to obtain a level of leadership in each one of those [extracurriculars]. Not only because it looked good on a resume and on a college application, but it’s also a great experience. It teaches you how to manage a group of people, and it’s good for skill building,” Hutchison says.

Caleb says that leadership skills, planning ahead, and communication skills are very important traits to have. It’s also important to stay focused through high school, and care about your classes and grades. But out of all these skills, planning ahead is the most important if you are a student with a busy schedule.

“If I needed to write an essay for one class, or study for a test for another, I would find the open parts of my schedule, and then try to fit in things for each one of those,” Hutchison says.

Caleb also said that writing things down, and seeing things on paper, helped him get them done quicker.

Balancing school and social life was always a challenge for Caleb, but organizing his time and finishing work early helped him get through it all.

“It definitely felt a little overwhelming at times, school was my number one priority, but because we’re human, we have to maintain relationships with family and friends,” Hutchison says.

  Caleb’s amazing scholarship to ASU had a lot to do with his SAT and ACT scores. Caleb scored very high on is ACT, which is what gave him the Presidential Scholarship, which was the highest one they offered.

  Now finished with college, Caleb is relieved that he doesn’t have anything to pay off from college.

  “I don’t look back and regret any decisions to prioritize homework over going to a party.  Because if you use your time correctly, you will have time for stuff like parties and going on vacations. It’s all about the time managment, that way you don’t have to miss out on anything,” Hutchison says.

  If Caleb could go back, he would tell himself to not stress too much, that things would be fine, and he would tell himself thank you for all the hard work. In the end result, we can see that hard work definitely pays off for the good. Even when things don’t go right, or when life gets chaotic, it will all be okay in the end. There are tons of ways to get into college. Sports, education, extracurriculars and even you as a person can take you far if you put in the hard work they require. In the end, you will be very satisfied with how far you’ve come.

 

Last minute advice:

  Max: “Some advice would be to do a lot of research and examine many sources because there’s a lot out there, and a lot of it is just taking the time to look and research, and if you are committed to one, then be committed to one, and do everything you can to try and get that. Because if you only give half your effort for a bunch of scholarships, you’re not going to get as many as if you were really trying to get a couple big scholarships.”

 

  Chris: “Athletically, work hard, reach out to as many schools as possible, but make sure you have the grades to back it up…and make sure you’re putting in your work into whatever your sport is. Academically, wherever you want to go, just make sure you’re doing good on your SAT’s and ACT’s and keeping with your GPA, doing community service, volunteer hours, and all that kind of stuff.”

 

 Caleb: If Caleb could go back to talk to his high school self, he would give him a high-five, say thank you for the hard work, and would tell himself not to stress out too much because even though things are hard, they will totally pay off in the future