Scotty McCreery has learned from previous 'American Idol' winners' mistakes. During a recent interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the 18-year-old said he was emphatic about being aggressive in the days following his win on the Fox television show.

"I remember talking to the producers saying that I want my album to come out quickly because I don't want the people forgetting about me," McCreery said. "I'm going to work my tail off."

He has done just that, releasing a studio album over a month earlier than the previous two winners, and hitting the road as hard as his body -- and mother -- would let him. "We want to go big," he explained. "Right now, we're just trying to get out there and make sure people know we're still around."

McCreery begins his run as an opener for Brad Paisley this week. He'll continue to balance school with his skyrocketing fame, and he says college isn't just a possibility -- it's a commitment.

"College is important to me. Education is important to me. You never know how far your job can take you," he said. The Star Tribune reports that he's filled out four or five applications and plans to study either marketing or communications, part-time. After all, a college professor isn't as likely to be too forgiving if a paper comes in late because he had to prepare for the ACM Awards.