12 Ways to Make College More Affordable

Numerous financial barriers can stand in the way of a college education. That is why the State of Missouri offers many options to help knock down those barriers.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD), other state departments, and organizations help make college more affordable for students pursuing higher education in Missouri with various scholarships, grants, and programs.

There is free money out there to be had for Missourians. Whether you are in high school, college or even if you have already joined the workforce. This blog post is a quick and easy guide to financial aid options in Missouri.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Applications for most of the listed grants and scholarships can be found at dhewd.mo.gov or on the State Financial Aid Portal. For additional information on financial aid in Missouri, you can also call 800-473-6757 and select option 4. 

1. File a FAFSA

An easy way to see what financial aid you qualify for is by filing a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, each year you plan to attend college.

You don’t even need to have a school picked before filing a FAFSA. Just file it between Oct.1-April 1, and you will receive information about what federal and state financial aid you qualify for and what aid is available through certain schools.

To be guaranteed an award through the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program, file a FAFSA by the Feb. 1 priority deadline.

Hundreds and even thousands of dollars in financial aid are available for students who qualify for Access Missouri. There is no paperwork to fill out in addition to the FAFSA to apply. This is a need-based program designed to help students afford the Missouri school they want to attend. Financial eligibility is determined by your Student Aid Index (SAI), as calculated through the FAFSA.

Award amounts vary based on the school, your SAI, and the amount of money available for the program:

  • $300 – $1,300 if attending a participating public two-year school
  •  $1,500 – $2,850 if attending a participating public four-year, independent, or virtual institution, or State Technical College of Missouri

More information about filing a FAFSA is available on journeytocollege.mo.gov and studentaid.gov.

Note: Filing for the 2024-25 FAFSA will begin in December 2023 instead of October.

2. A+ Scholarship

If you attend an A+ high school, keep your GPA and attendance up, tutor or mentor classmates, score high on a math exam, and keep a clean criminal record, you can qualify for an A+ Scholarship.

However, this scholarship is limited to those planning to attend certain two-year schools. A list of A+ Scholarship-eligible schools and other requirements for qualifying for the A+ Scholarship are available on MDHEWD’s website

3. Bright Flight Scholarship

In a nutshell, the Bright Flight Scholarship awards thousands of dollars to students who score high on the ACT or SAT. 

There is no need to fill out an application for Bright Flight. All students need to do is enter the following code when registering for the ACT: 2379. Don’t worry if you didn’t enter that code. It can be added later for a fee. 

Students will qualify for up to $3,000 if they score at least a 32 on the ACT or achieve an SAT math score of 800 and an SAT critical reading score of 800. Up to $1,000 will be awarded to students who score 31 on the ACT or achieve an SAT match score of 770-700 and an SAT critical reading score of 760-700. 

Bright Flight Scholarship recipients can also renew annually until they earn a bachelor’s degree (up to 10 semesters).

For detailed information about Bright Flight visit MDHEWD’s website. You can also read our ACT Series for tips on how to prepare for each section of the ACT.

a high school student studying at the kitchen table

4. Dual Credit / Dual Enrollment Scholarship

Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment courses are a great opportunity to earn college credit before even stepping foot on campus. The credits count toward your high school and college coursework, so it’s a win-win.

Better yet, it is a way to earn college credit without having to pay the regular tuition cost. On top of that, there is scholarship money available to eliminate all costs for these courses.

If you meet certain financial need requirements, such as receiving free or reduced lunches or living in a foster home, and you have at least a 2.5 GPA, the Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment Scholarship could be an option.

To learn more about eligibility and applying for the Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment Scholarship, visit MDHEWD’s website.

5. Apprenticeships: Earn While You Learn

Working part-time while in high school or college is a traditional way of saving money to pay for tuition, housing, books, and other related expenses. But what if that job also provided college credit, training for a career, and an opportunity for full-time employment? Apprenticeships can help you add money to your college fund and set you up for a lifetime of career success. There are apprenticeships available in various industries across Missouri, including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, child development, health care, human resources, IT, transportation, and more.

There are several online resources to learn more about apprenticeships, including MDHEWD’s website, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website, and moapprenticeconnect.com. You can also ask your high school counselor, college academic advisor, or search a university’s or college’s website for information about apprenticeships.

an apprentice working with his mentor in a carpentry workshop

6. Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant

This one is specifically for adults seeking financial aid. The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is for those 25 years old or older seeking a career that is considered to be in high demand.

An easy way to see if a program you are interested in is eligible for Fast Track is to search on MDHEWD’s website. You can search by school and by program. Fast Track has also expanded to include more training providers and apprenticeships. Plus, it won’t ever be converted into a loan like it was previously.

An application must be filled out for Fast Track on the State Financial Aid Portal.

Details about Fast Track are available on MDHEWD’s website, but we encourage you to contact our financial aid specialists by calling 800-473-6757 and selecting option 4 for the most up-to-date information.

7. Advanced Placement Incentive Grant

Who doesn’t want a free $500? High school students in AP classes who have two grades of three or higher on AP exams in math or science could receive a $500 Advanced Placement Incentive Grant.

Take a look at the eligibility requirements and the application on MDHEWD’s website.

8. Kids' Chance Scholarship Program

The Kids’ Chance Scholarship Program is a partnership between MDHEWD and Kids’ Chance, Inc. of Missouri to help children with a parent who was killed or seriously injured in a work-related accident that is covered by workers’ compensation.

This scholarship can provide thousands of dollars toward a college education each school year. Details about eligibility and how to apply are available on MDHEWD’s website

9. Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program

This scholarship is awarded to students from minority and underrepresented groups who plan to study in the field of environmental sciences, such as agricultural engineering or wildlife management. Some requirements include being enrolled full-time and having a 3.0 high school GPA or 2.5 college GPA.

Eligibility requirements and an application can be viewed on MDHEWD’s website.

10. Public Service Officer or Employee's Child Survivor Grant Program

This grant program provides money for tuition to certain public employees and their family members if the employee was killed or disabled while working in the line of duty. This grant program is for full-time students (students with disabilities may be considered full-time when enrolled in six hours), and award amounts can be for up to the cost of 12 credit hours.

Visit DHEWD’s website for details and to access an application.

11. Wartime Veteran's Survivor Grant Program

The Wartime Veteran’s Survivor Grant Program assists spouses and children of veterans who were injured or died in combat since Sept. 11, 2001. Students can be eligible as half-time or full-time and receive money for tuition, room and board, and books.

A list of full requirements and more information on the Wartime Veteran’s Survivor Grant Program is available on MDHEWD’s website, and an application can be filled out on the State Financial Air Portal.

a woman scientist placing a bit of plant inside a test tube.

12. Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program

This grant program provides money for tuition to certain public employees and their family members if the employee was killed or disabled while working in the line of duty. This grant program is for full-time students (students with disabilities may be considered full-time when enrolled in six hours), and award amounts can be for up to the cost of 12 credit hours.

Visit DHEWD’s website for details and to access an application.

7 Reasons to Learn Outside of the Classroom

Between the spring and fall semesters, there are 12 weeks of summer. Before you bother with the math, that is not the 104 days that the “Phineas and Ferb” theme song included. Whether you are taking advantage of the short semester to accelerate your academic course or taking time away from the books, there is always learning to be done.

Explore new Hobbies

According to a 2017 American Psychological Association Survey, “74% of U.S. adults have done at least one activity in the past year to learn about a personal hobby or interest. This includes 35% who have attended a club or meeting and 25% who took an in-person course.” You can use your summer hours to search for a new hobby or dabble in a few while enjoying your break.

There are endless hobbies out there. Start small and see where they go!

kayakers participating in a Missouri State Park Learn 2 Kayak course

Challenge Yourself

With more time to rest during the summer, it may be a great time to try something that challenges your skills a bit. Maybe you want to do something physically demanding to make up for the hours spent in a classroom during the semester. Missouri State Parks offers classes for rock climbing, kayaking, and archery through its Learn2 program. It’s a chance to challenge yourself by learning something outside the classroom setting. Plus, spending time in a green space is great for your mental health!

No Pressure to Succeed

The best thing about classes outside of a classroom during the summer is that most of the time the goal is gaining knowledge, so no tests or letter grades are required! Even classes that have tests may not be as challenging as finals during a college semester. You could always find a CPR / First Aid class or even learn about spotting storms for the National Weather Service

Branch Out in Your Community

It can be relatively easy to find groups in your community that are passionate about what they do and want to share it with others. Whether it’s a local book club, a knitting/quilting group, or even a cave conservation group, there is a community out there ready to let you into their ranks. 

Learn New Skills

If you haven’t learned a new skill in a while, there is definitely time during the summer to get a leg up and learn something new that will last a lifetime. As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat forever”. Life skills are a great way to acquire useful abilities and maybe even elevate your current skill levels. Whether it’s cooking, household maintenance, gardening, art, or anything else, it can feel good to learn a new skill. 

Work Out Your Brain in a Different Way

Much like muscles, your brain needs to be worked in different ways to improve its overall health and malleability. According to the University Of Utah Health, “the more the brain is exercised, the stronger and more connected it becomes.” If the semester left you feeling exhausted, burnt out, or like your brain is melting, learning something new may be a great way to help your mind rest. Additionally, learning something new provides your brain with a sweet dose of dopamine, something you may need after a long semester of school. 

Male And Female Adult Students Preparing Ingredients For Dish In Kitchen Cookery Class

There is so much to Learn!

There are so many things you can learn. That is part of why it can feel so daunting for some to choose a college major, or even choose a focus within their major. With so much to learn, it can feel tough to tie yourself down to one specific subject. Thankfully, with summer, you get the opportunity to explore and learn new things until your heart’s content. You never know when a small class at your local community center could turn into a new passion or even lead to a clearer path forward on your academic journey.

So as summer comes around, put your books on the shelf, grab your backpack, and go out into the community to learn! You never know what you’re going to find. 

If you’re taking the time this summer to learn outside, share your experience with us by tagging @Journey2College on Twitter or Facebook!

The Next Level: Esports Scholarships on the Rise in Missouri

Esports has been viewed by many as the awkward younger sibling to the sports that we know and love like football and baseball. However, the esports army is arriving, and they are only getting stronger. The first official video game competition took place in 1972 on the Stanford University campus with a game called Spacewar. The grand prize of that competition was a year-long subscription to Rolling Stone magazine.

professional gamer wearing headphones looking at camera and smiling while participating in eSport tournament

In 1990, Nintendo began the Nintendo World Championships in which players competed in games like Super Mario Bros and Tetris. Fast forward to 2021, when a game called DOTA 2 hosted its championship with a prize pool of $40.1 Million, nearly triple the prize pool for the Masters Golf Tournament.

All of this shows how far this movement has come. From a subscription to a magazine to $40 million, and it continues to grow. Competitive gaming has grown so much that people like Robert Kraft, Shaquille O’Neal, Drake, Mike Tyson, and P Diddy, just to name a few, are investing. Along with these well-known figures, colleges have begun to take an interest in the subject, and many have made large investments in their esports programs. Robert Morris University in Chicago was the first to offer esports scholarships back in 2014. With the global esports market valued at $1.2 Billion in 2019, several other colleges have followed in its footsteps. As of May 2021, 175 colleges around the country offer esports scholarships. Missouri has over 15 schools that offer scholarship opportunities in this field.

How Can I Get an Esports Scholarship?

female gamer getting ready to participate in esports tournament by putting her headphones on.

Getting an esports scholarship for college is slightly different than getting a scholarship for other sports. Esports programs don’t typically have scouts attend events and watch you play or even reach out to you. Most colleges host annual tryouts and give out scholarships based on those. Esports competitions are almost always livestreamed somewhere online, so a good idea would be to watch one of those and see how you may stack up to the competition. These scholarships don’t come without stipulations, though. There is almost always a GPA requirement to even get on the team, much less receive and maintain a scholarship. However, the perks are well worth the hard work in the classroom. Players can receive jerseys, travel opportunities, gear, and media attention, and gain a large social media following. Schools with esports scholarships tend to make it well-known that this opportunity is there for students, especially if the school has made a large investment in the program. So, if you have a school in mind, check to see if they offer esports scholarships and what that college’s specific requirements are!

Are These Scholarships the Same as Other Athletic Scholarships?

The short answer is it depends. It depends on the school and how much money that school has put toward its esports program. Typically, your scholarship will work more like an academic scholarship since there aren’t many full-ride esports scholarship opportunities out there…yet. That means you will receive money from the college that you can use any way you see fit as long as it is used for college. So, funds could be used for on-campus food, tuition, books, and more.

What is the Outlook for Esports in College?

esports team practicing The outlook is only positive! The global esports market is projected to rise from $1.1 billion in 2020 to $3.6 billion in 2027. How does this translate to college scholarship opportunities, though? With many major universities and smaller colleges investing already, it’s safe to say that if esports continues to see the growth that it has in the past, more colleges will take notice. If the market value of esports does hit the $3.6 billion projection, it would be nearly nine times more valuable than the men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments combined. And if esports were a sports franchise, it would make it the 15th most valuable franchise in the world. Statistics like this will certainly attract more attention to the scene and likely bigger financial contributions from universities around the country. With bigger financial input from schools, students will be able to receive more from their scholarships, along with schools being able to expand their programs and offer more spots for students on these teams leading to more scholarships. After all of this, you may still wonder, what are students gaining out of this past college? Well, just like other professional sports, there is a professional esports scene where gamers around the world are making millions in this industry. Students can gain scholarship money through their schools and take that talent to the next level.

Collegiate Esports Opportunities in Missouri

an esports team celebrating a victory.With over 20 college and university esports programs in Missouri, there are plenty of options. Each program offers a unique array of titles that they compete in, so it’s important to do your research beforehand. This article has discussed how to go about receiving a scholarship, if your chosen school offers it, how these scholarships work, and the outlook of esports in college. However, as mentioned, each institution is different. It’s important to note that esports opportunities aren’t limited to playing on a team. There are several classes you could take to gear you up for a career in esports once you graduate. Some colleges offer esport-specific classes. For others, you need to get a bit more creative. Classes on information technology, live event entertainment, team management, and sports marketing are all great ways to get a step ahead of your competition. The best method, however, is to talk to your counselor. They are a fantastic help and will be able to guide you down the best path toward your goals!

Some schools that have esports programs are the University of Missouri, the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Columbia College, Missouri S&T, Missouri Western, Northwest Missouri State, Maryville University, University of Central Missouri, Southeast Missouri State, Missouri Baptist University, and Mineral Area Community College. (Note: There are more options out there in Missouri, these are just a few!)

Overall, esports is on the rise, and collegiate esports is important to growing the industry. Kids can take something they truly enjoy and make a career out of it that has endless possibilities. There are many more professional gaming opportunities than there are in other professional sports, but the road to get there is just as challenging. Competing in these games at the highest level takes years of practice and hard work, and finally, all that hard work and all the late nights playing video games is paying off. Literally.

Cost Comparisons 2023: See How Missouri Stacks Up!

With inflation and fluctuating markets, it’s hard to keep tabs on the going rates for some of our everyday essentials. We broke down the numbers to show you how you can save in the state of Missouri. 

  • Did you know that Missouri is the fourth most affordable state to live in? Based on a 100-point scale index (with 100 being the national average), California falls at 134.5, whereas Missouri sits at 88.4. That difference says it all!

  • Eggs have been a hot topic recently. According to USDA, the average 14-16 oz. carton of eggs in the Northeast region of the U.S. sits at a staggering $3.99. Meanwhile, you can find those same eggs for $3.50 in the Midwest. It might be time to double down and have breakfast for dinner!

  • We all dread the start of the month when we have to pay rent. But in Missouri, you may be saving more than you think. For a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S., you will allot an average of $1,081 per month. In California, they take it up a level — asking renters to shell out an average of $1,668 per month. Meanwhile, in Missouri, average rent is below average at $818.

  • Let’s take a pit stop and fuel up. The national average gas price (as of June 16, 2023) is $3.58 per gallon. If you’re headed west, expect a bump in prices. A gallon of gas in California is going for $4.88. Perhaps you’re en route to the Midwest? You can expect a gallon of fuel in Missouri to be about $3.20.

  • Before we cross the finish line, let’s talk car prices. Including insurance, registration, repairs, etc., the average price for owning a car in the U.S. is $26,297. California is a bit of a climb at $30,987, but Missouri sits below the national average at $25,407. It might be time for a road trip!

Whether you’re moving to Missouri, in the market for a new car, or needing to save money on essentials, this provides some insight into the cost of living, learning, and working in Missouri.


Take a Summer Mental Health Break

During the school year, mental health sometimes gets put on the back burner as you add coursework, plan extracurricular activities, and live life in a way that is still somewhat new to you. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 60% of college students met the criteria for at least one mental health condition during the 2020-21 school year. 

During college semesters, there are resources available on-campus and online – including Happier U, Journey to College’s initiative with the Missouri Department of Mental Health and Show Me Hop Crisis Counseling Program. Some of these resources may not be available when school is not in session. So what can you do to heal and help your mental health during the summer?

Summer is a perfect time for a break from school and have a much needed (and deserved!) mental health break. Take advantage of the warm days and sunshine to heal and help your mental health before fall, when everything picks back up again. A mental health break can be the best way for you to avoid burnout and re-energize yourself before it becomes time to take harder classes. 

It is also a great time to refocus your mental health and figure out ways to incorporate good habits into your routine before the next semester rolls around. No matter how you choose to spend your summer, it is a good time to take a proactive approach to your mental well-being. 

Here are some things that you can do during the summer to give yourself a mental health break and boost your mental well-being before the fall semester starts.

Celebrate Your Victories

Hispanic woman celebrates her victory while sitting at her computer.It is easy to get caught up in the big victories of your college experience: getting scholarships, passing  classes, and graduating. What about those small victories that add up throughout the semester? Did you give a really good presentation or successfully finish a large project? Did you manage to make it to every class during the semester, or even take a day off for your mental health?

Consider starting your summer with a celebration of all the tiny victories that helped you conquer the semester. Reflecting on your semester wins, no matter the size, is a great way to practice gratitude and celebrate a completed semester. If there is anything in particular that stands out from your successes, you can add them to your stockpile of tactics to get through a semester.

Try Various Relaxation Techniques

A thoughtful young Asian male college student sits on the grass in the campus park with his book, thinking, pondering, or planning something while looking at the view.Relaxation techniques may seem daunting at first, but a little practice will improve your focus. Relaxation techniques include visualization, yoga, art therapy, journaling, breathing exercises, and so much more.

Without the stress of homework, late-night deadlines, and other college activities, summer is a perfect time to practice your relaxation techniques and incorporate them into your routine. As with any other skill, practice will improve these techniques and allow them to help you more. It also gives time for trial and error, as not every relaxation technique will work for everyone.

Do a Digital Detox

Person shuts their laptop to take a brea.Even if you are doing a summer class or an internship, there is probably time during the summer to set down the devices and spend some time away from the screen. While this may seem like a suggestion to cut the cord completely for a while, you don’t have to go to extreme measures to take a mental health break during the summer.

If you are taking summer classes, consider choosing a period of time each day or week to shut down the computer, put your phone on silent, and just step away for a bit. Want something a bit more drastic? Consider cutting out “modern technology”, however you define it, for 24 hours. This works really well if you find yourself without a schedule for a day or two and can carve out that time to drop any tech that has been in use for most of your life.  

Seek Out Green (or Blue) Space!

WGroup of friends hanging out beside a lake and enjoying camping .e all know that getting out into nature or green spaces helps, but did you know that Blue Spaces — places where you are near water — are also as beneficial to your mental health? It helps calm your internal state and can lead to fewer mental health issues in the long run.

Summer is the best time of year for outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, soaking up some sun, and just being outside. It can also be a great time of year to explore Missouri State Parks and Conservation Areas. Just remember to use sun protection and hydrate when you are out and about this summer (especially if you are on any medicines for mental health). Even if you are not able to escape wherever you find yourself spending the summer, there is a chance that there is green or blue space near you!

Build your Coping Toolbox / Mental Health Toolkit

preparing a mental health toolkit with various things for relaxation and bright colors.According to Mental Health America, a mental health toolkit, or as they call it, a coping toolbox is “a collection of skills, techniques, items, and other suggestions that you can turn to as soon as you start to feel anxious or distressed.” Without knowing it as a “coping toolbox,” you may already have some of these aspects at the ready for when things happen.

This toolkit may include breathing techniques, meditation strategies, comfort media, favorite stuffed animal, favorite foods, a blanket, affirmations (like the ones listed on the Happier U page), or a way to process your feelings (a journal, paper, chart).

The best thing about such a toolkit is that it doesn’t have to be all physical. Consider writing a list of resources and reminders in a notes app on your phone. You can also add online resources and phone numbers to contact when you need help.

In addition to the resources listed above, be sure to check out Happier U. There are resources located on that page for students to utilize, no matter the time of year, for mental health practices.

How Missouri Works (2023)

With almost 3 million payroll employees across the state in industries that are growing and looking for recent graduates of colleges, universities, technical schools, credential programs, and apprenticeships. The numbers show that Missouri has plenty of room in the workforce for those that are interested in a whole host of careers and industries. So, how are you going to work?

View a pdf version of the infographic. 

From Rookie to Pro: A Guide to a Career Working in Sports

So you want to work in sports? A career in sports can be a very rewarding and fun path to go down. However, it’s a super competitive field , and experience is king. Whether you want to be the director of marketing or the head coach, the path to get to each is both similar and very different at the same time. In this article, we will dive into potential paths to take to get to your end goal of a dream job working for your favorite team!

High School

a sports photographer taking pictures of a game.It’s perfectly normal to not know what you want to do in life when you’re in high school. There’s a lot to think about! College, a career, money, extra-curriculars, and more. To expect someone at this age to have it all figured out is crazy. However, you enjoy sports! It’s not something that every little kid dreams of, working in sports. Most dream of being out there on the field playing, but there are plenty of opportunities off the field. A lot of students don’t think of sports as a career path if they aren’t actually on the field. Don’t blame them, but those students couldn’t be more wrong. Let’s discuss some ways you could get ahead of your competition starting in high school.

Wherever you are, you are likely within an hour-or-so of a college / university with some sort of athletic program. If you have options, it’s probably best to start smaller. Smaller departments, such as community colleges, often have lower barriers to entry than a large Division I institution. For starters, send an email to their athletic department.  Explain that you are interested in a career in sports and see if there’s any sort of opening for you to job shadow or help out in any way. 

For as many colleges as there are in sports, it’s a surprisingly tight-knit community. Many director-level employees are well-connected and can make for a great reference / job opportunity. Maybe you’re more into sports photography? Well, apply the same method. Tell them you’ll come and take pictures for free, edit some, send them to the department, and see what they think.

High school will probably be the hardest place to gain a footing in the field, since many programs won’t hire below the college level. Also, don’t get discouraged by being told no, especially if there are other options in the area. There’s a good chance you’ll hit bumps in the road on the way there. It’s also not a bad idea to attach some form of a resume / cover letter when you reach out. Any extra effort will put you that much further ahead of your competition, and doing any of this in high school gets you far ahead of the competition.


the view of a volleyball court from the commentator box. It shows the technology used to view the court and how it is filmed for a television audience.

Now that you’ve finished high school and your next step is college, maybe you got some experience in high school. If you didn’t, you’re on the same level as everyone else who will end up in the field. The first step towards working in sports in college is getting an internship. Most colleges, even major Division I schools, hire interns with little to no experience. The same goes for coaching. A team assistant will be required to know a decent amount about the sport they want to be a part of, but no prior coaching or athletics experience is typically required. 

There are internships with offices like ticketing, marketing, guest relations, and operations. Each plays its own part in making sure the team and fans have the best experience they can at a game. The two most popular are operations and marketing. Operations will handle things such as setting up and tearing down equipment, putting up tents outside the stadium for tailgates, ensuring that ushers or part-time event staff are performing their duties, and more. Marketing focuses on the fan experience aspects of the game, making sure the environment is at its best. 

Sports marketing is a field where you can really let your creativity fly. From planning out themed nights for fans, to choosing the music to be played in the arena, there are lots of places during a game where marketing plays a part. The first step is to see if your chosen school has a sport management program. Many of these programs touch on all aspects of sports. From marketing, to actual management of a team, to the creative aspect behind it all. Talk to your counselor about where you want to end up, and they will do their best to get you there. 

Sports programs are popping up at more and more institutions as the field becomes larger and more competitive. Counselors can also direct you towards internship opportunities. Many interns don’t start until their junior or senior year, so starting early is your biggest ally. Once you’ve found some opportunities, make sure you have time in your schedule to commit. As an intern, you’ll be working lots of games that take place in the evening and even during the day. To make a good impression, it needs to be a priority but not over schoolwork. It should be a priority over going out with friends, playing video games, or other extra-curriculars. That is not to say you’ll never be able to do these things, but there will be times you need to be able to sacrifice a night of doing something you enjoy to work a game. However, if this is a field you want to get into, it shouldn’t feel like you’re going to work anyways. It should feel like you’re just picking this hobby over the other, and having fun while doing it. 

group of journalists interviewing someone, possibly a sports athlete.We don’t want to sugar-coat it, though. There will be a lot of grunt-work as an intern, such as repetitive tasks, long hours, and late nights. All of this may seem unimportant at the time, but rest assured, it is a crucial part of the process. All the pom-poms in your seat when you arrive at the game, all the t-shirts you catch during timeouts, all the students shooting half-court shots, all of that is done by interns. Games wouldn’t be the same without them and their hard work. So don’t feel like you’re being undervalued  or the stuff you’re doing isn’t meaningful. You definitely want to carry out these tasks with a mindset that you’re doing it to set yourself up for a more successful future. Your supervisors will take note of your hard work and dedication. 

Think of an internship as a very involved tryout. If you want to make the team, you must show extra effort! Take every opportunity that comes your way. If your boss messages a group of interns asking for some extra help, jump at the chance to assist. As a team assistant, you may be asked to travel extra, or even help out with game film. As an operations intern, you may be asked to stay late, arrive early, or lead a smaller team of interns if you’ve been there a while. There will be many opportunities that pop up for you to make an impact and good impression on your supervisors. Remember, they will be your best references when finding a job. If you’ve done everything listed above, there’s a great chance they will help you find a job and be in your corner every step of the way.


You have made it through the gauntlet of being an intern in college sports and now you’re ready for the big leagues. This is where your path can go in any number of directions. Some decide to continue college and go after a master’s degree, while some are done with school and ready for their next challenge. Both are great options, but you need to make sure you have a plan in place. 

Whichever route you decide to take, relocation will probably be involved, and it’s probably for the best. Relocation is something that will happen to you in the world of sports; it’s inevitable. It definitely isn’t a field where you get a job straight out of college and stay there for 5-10 years. 

a rugby team with their coach showing them a play to use.Let’s start with more school, though. If you decide you want to get a master’s, the next step in the sports world is to become a graduate assistant. There are graduate assistant positions open all over the country and for most sectors within sports. Operations, marketing, and coaching all have graduate assistant opportunities. Almost every collegiate sports team has G.A. coaches on their staff. The same goes for marketing and operations. Your supervisor from undergrad could be a great resource and, as mentioned earlier, are almost always willing to help you further your career. 

A saying in college sports is “everyone in college sports is two connections away”. There is a great chance that your boss knows someone from a school that you are interested in. Talk to them! Use them as a resource! Especially if you’re someone who always jumped at extra chances to help out. A G.A. position is a great route to take. You get an extra degree and a ramp-up in responsibility and duty, you broaden your connections, and you get a little more experience before stepping into a full-time role. 

On the other hand, getting a job straight out of college is an option as well. You may find it slightly difficult to secure a full-time position, especially if there are applicants who have been a graduate assistant  or have better recommendations. On the bright side, you are getting more in-depth experience in your role than you would as a graduate assistant. As a full-time employee, higher expectations and more responsibility will fall on your shoulders. As mentioned before, experience is king and you’d be getting more of it going this route. 

Either option is great. It’s just about balancing your priorities and what makes the most sense for you!

In conclusion,

Working in sports is a whirlwind. It’s full of constant action, passes to every game, and it’s in an environment where teamwork and culture come first. There are amazing benefits to working in sports, and it really can be a career you stay in for life. Just make sure you’re committed. You’ll have to travel, relocate, work overtime, make tough decisions, manage people your age and older, and more. Most of that will probably occur while still in college too. However tough it may be, the payoff is incredible. Seeing tens, to hundreds, to thousands, to tens of thousands of fans enjoy an experience that you planned out, seeing them sing along to a song you picked, and seeing fans and teams utilize the things that you have set up for them is so rewarding. 

Now, keep in mind that this article is in no way meant to be an exact syllabus that you have to follow in order to succeed in sports. There are so many other paths to take. These are just a few that could definitely get you to where you want to be. So, if you’re still thinking about a career in sports, go for it! You never know what opportunities lie ahead.

ACT Series: How to Prepare for the Science Section of the ACT Test

The ACT is important to high school students in Missouri and across the U.S. for several reasons. It is an important factor considered in college admissions and the way scholarships are awarded. It can help students become eligible for the A+ Scholarship. While the level of importance can differ among students based on their plans, it is a tough challenge for everyone their first time. Students take timed tests in multiple subjects, answering questions that can confuse them or make them second guess themselves.

This is the final article of a four-part series on the ACT, describing each of the subject tests and how to prepare for them. We will finish with science.

The basics of the science test

Like the reading portion, the science portion of the test involves reading passages and answering questions about that information. The passages are from academic journals or reports and students will need to provide data from that information. Students have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions.

How do I prepare for the test?

The ACT publishes a test breakdown which describes how much of the test is focused on one topic. In each topic, it is further broken down into certain areas of focus. For science, a majority of this test will focus on either data representation or research summaries. This means it will either ask you for a specific piece of data or to analyze what the passage focused on.

To help students prepare, the ACT also provides old versions of the test online and in print. Ask your counselor if they have copies of old booklets so you can take practice tests and time yourself.

How is the test graded?

The ACT has released its scoring rubric so you know ahead of time what to expect. This is very helpful for students who are aiming for a specific score.

What is your biggest tip for this test?

Study the small details. On graphs, look at the x and y axis and what they are measuring. For tables, look at what information is given and see if you can find a pattern. The test is used to determine if you can answer questions with the details you have been given, not what you already know.

Final thoughts

A common misconception about the science test is it is quizzing you on how much you know. While a general level of knowledge is needed, it is testing your ability to read and understand scientific information. Basically, what you are able to pick up from the information that is given to you in graph or text form. Remember, calculators are not allowed on this portion despite numerical data being involved. You should come to a conclusion, not a calculation. The quicker you can pick up patterns the better you will do.

Read the other parts of the ACT Series

ACT Series: How to Prepare for the Reading Section of the ACT Test

The ACT is important to high school students in Missouri and across the U.S. for several reasons. It is an important factor that is considered in college admissions and how scholarships are awarded. It can help students become eligible for the A+ Scholarship and in some parts of the state it is a requirement to graduate. While the level of importance can differ among students, based on their plans, it is a tough challenge for everyone their first time. Students take timed tests in multiple subjects, answering questions that can confuse them or make them second guess themselves.

To help students prepare for the ACT test, Journey to College has prepared a four-part series of articles discussing each area of the test. This is the third article of the series on the ACT, describing each of the subject tests and how to prepare for them. The reading portion of the test is the subject of this article.

The basics of the reading test

In the reading portion of the test, students read several passages and answer questions about that information. It challenges students to retain information quickly, think critically about the text, and infer additional information based on what they read. Students have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions.

How do I prepare for the test?

a young man laying on a yellow couch reading a book.The ACT publishes a test breakdown, which describes how much of the test is focused on one topic. In each topic, it is further broken down into certain types of questioning. A majority of the reading test will question you about key details from the text, including picking up context clues and coming to conclusions based on the information given.

To help students prepare for the test, the ACT also provides old versions of the test online and in print. Ask your counselor if they have copies of old booklets so you can take practice tests and time yourself.

How is the test graded?

The ACT has released its scoring rubric so you can know ahead of time what to expect. This is very helpful for students who are aiming for a specific score.

What is your biggest tip for this test?

Learn to skim the material. If you spend a minute on every question, you will run out of time before finishing the test. This doesn’t take into account how much time you will spend reading the section. Briefly going over the passage can still give you information about context and conclusions. If a question stumps you, refer back to the reading but do not reread the entire section.

Final thoughts

The reading section will give you the best chance to score high marks because all the information is provided. Some students have a natural affinity for reading quickly and might perform more naturally on this test. However, that doesn’t mean studying won’t help you improve. Learning to skim or looking at the questions first help you get basic information about the passage. Try to budget your time equally between passages so you are not rushing at the end.


Read the other parts of the ACT Series

ACT Series: How to Prepare for the Math Section of the ACT Test

The ACT is important to high school students in Missouri and across the U.S. for several reasons. It is an important factor that is considered in college admissions and how scholarships are awarded. It can help students become eligible for the A+ Scholarship and in some parts of the state it is a requirement to graduate. While the level of importance can differ among students, based on their plans, it is a tough challenge for everyone their first time. Students take timed tests in multiple subjects, answering questions that can confuse them or make them second guess themselves.

This is the second article of a four-part series on the ACT test, from Journey to College, describing each of the subject tests and how to prepare for them. In this article, the math section of the test is the subject of discussion.  

The basics of the math test

Of all the subject tests, the math portion is the most straightforward. In an hour, you answer 60 problems. The questions get more difficult as you go, meaning the first question is the easiest and the last question is the most difficult. It mainly covers concepts from algebra and geometry. The last 20 questions pull from more advanced topics, such as trigonometry, pre-calculus, and calculus.

How do I prepare for the test?

The ACT publishes a test breakdown, which describes how much of the test is focused on one topic (modeling, preparing for higher math, etc.). In each topic, it is further broken down into certain types of questioning. For example, about 8-12 percent of the test will cover statistics and probability questions.

To help students prepare for the test, the ACT also provides old versions of the test online and in print. Ask your counselor if they have copies of old booklets so you can take practice tests and time yourself.

How is the test graded?

The ACT has released its scoring rubric so you can know ahead of time what to expect. This is very helpful for students who are aiming for a specific score, such as those aiming to earn the A+ Scholarship. Students who didn’t score proficient or advanced on their Algebra 1 end-of-course exam can substitute an ACT math score to qualify. Depending on your GPA, this score can change. The same is true for students trying to earn scholarships from a university, especially with the superscore option now available.

Final thoughts

The math section of the ACT is meant to demonstrate the depth of your knowledge in the subject. You either know the material or you don’t. And that is OK. Every student will bring a different level of expertise, as well as a different desire, whether you are aiming for top marks and the Bright Flight scholarship, or just trying to make a certain threshold for A+. Remember, preparation is key.

Read the other parts of the ACT Series