Organize Your College Application Process

Organize Your College Application Process

Increase your chances of admission by being organized during your college application process with these guidelines.

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If you use an e-calendar, make sure you sync it to your cell phone for easier access. You can also share the calendar with your parents if you want.

Staying organized during the college application process will keep you less stressed and ensure that the right application, and all of the required materials, gets sent to the right school.

Decide what organizational system works best for you, whether it’s a smartphone calendar, mobile app, desk calendar, filing system or an e-calendar on your computer. Choosing a system (or a combination of them) and sticking with it, will help you stay on top of important deadlines while you are applying for college.

In addition to the tools below, Campus Explorer also has My Planner where you can track deadlines, save information like schools you're interested in and scholarships you may want to apply for, collect college planning articles, checklists and find helpful timelines.

Desk, Wall or E-Calendar

Use an actual calendar or an e-calendar to mark important deadlines for college applications (we're partial to e-calendars associated with your e-mail account because you can set up alerts). Color code each college you plan to apply to and then mark the deadlines for various due dates, such as when test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation are due.

If you use a desk or wall calendar, make sure to keep it in a place you can access it easily, whether it is near your desk at home or locker at school. If you want your parents involved, we recommend that you display the calendar somewhere central where everyone can see it.

If you use an e-calendar, make sure you sync it to your cell phone for easier access. You can also share the calendar with your parents if you want.

Plan ahead for dates of when you need to begin projects like taking the SATs, filling in a transcript request form at your current school, or asking teachers and professionals for letters of recommendation. You should also prepare your parents to help you with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). (You'll need a decent amount of information from them to complete the form.)

Other dates to note in your calendars may include scholarship and financial aid deadlines, application fees due dates and other miscellaneous items associated with college admissions and accepting your offer at the school of your choice later (registering for housing is another example).

Filing Systems and Charts

In addition to a calendar, many prospective college students also find that creating a file system or chart helps to stay organized during the college admissions process. Create a file and craft a chart for each school you plan to apply to for college admissions. In the file, you can keep application forms, relevant materials to send in, essays, and recommendation letters. Also include any correspondence you may have had with the college, as well as a copy of your entire application, transcripts and financial aid forms.

For each school's chart, include the name of the school at the top. Then make four columns across the top: what to do, how to do it, the official deadline and the date you completed the task. Create as many rows as you need, listing all the things you need to get done for that college's application. Things to include in the rows under "what to do" might be: drafts, final revisions, when to request recommendation letters, application deadlines and deadlines of when to confirm that your application was received.

Smartphone Calendars and Mobile Apps

There are many great mobile apps coming out for students all the time. Several websites have credited these app below for their organization and usefulness for high school students:

  • MyHomeword: Organizes and helps you schedule assignments, deadlines etc. with alerts. Plus, it works for more mobile devices.
  • School Helper: Another organizer and planner, but it works with Droid devices.
  • iHomework: This next one is for IOS devices like iPhones and iPads. It has a clean interface and works for homework or college planning.

For a list of more apps for high school students, check out Mashable's list or this one by College Path. Or, you can also see if colleges you're interested in have apps too.

Quick Tips

  • Setting up a system is one thing, but for it to work, you must follow it. Routinely look at your calendar to remind yourself of upcoming tasks and deadlines and immediately file anything you have completed or need to complete.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Your parents will probably already be involved in the process, but if you need additional help keeping track of what to do when, don't hesitate to ask them.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

10 College Application Tips You Need to Know
The Admissions Process: What Are Colleges Looking For?
Staying Organized During Your Junior Year
Help! My College Application Was Lost
Staying Organized During Your Senior Year

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