7 Top Tips to Stay Organized During College Application Season

Top Tips to Stay Organized During College Application Season


The summer before senior year of high school, during the months of July and August, is the time to start applying for colleges.  There are many steps in the application process.  By starting early you will be able to pace yourself and do your best work. Being organized about the college application process makes applying easier.


Organize your college files

As soon as your search begins, you will be receiving brochures and information from potential college choices. Set up a paper filing system to hold these materials, especially as you narrow your choices. A file box with hanging files labeled with your college names makes it easy to file.


Organize your email

Colleges send a lot of information by email. If you are already good at managing your inbox, keep the same email address. If not, create a new email address just for incoming college information. Use this email address for all college materials. Make a note on your planner to check your email daily as you begin applying to colleges.


Organize your college choices

Start with a college spreadsheet that includes all the colleges to which you will be applying. Include all the steps that are required to complete the application. Completing this sheet may require some research to learn the deadlines and other details. Check to see if you can use the Common App to apply to all your college choices. A google sheet listing the name of the college and required information helps you stay organized and on top of deadlines. Mark your calendar with these important dates to be sure you are on time in sending in required information.


Name of college Application type Priority date Deadlines for application Completed and submitted (date) Application fee amount and paid Supplemental essays and date submitted Transcripts forms submitted and due date Resume attached SAT or ACT sent Acceptance


Establish a timeline

College applications can be sent for early decision, early admission, rolling and regular admission. Be sure to complete according to these deadlines for your colleges of choice. Create a work schedule and stay on track with it. Working on college applications takes time. Give yourself a series of two-hour sessions to complete each step for college applications. Online apps allow you to complete sections and save that section to break your application into manageable chunks of time.


Essay organizing

Choose a college essay topic that gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and show your talents. Start early to give yourself time to do your best work. Ask for help from those who can proofread your essay for grammar and topic. Connect to those with expertise to help here.


Apps that help

There are many practical apps that help you with the college application process. Get organized with a google sheet to track your college requirements. You can write your essay in a Google Doc to share it with your proofreader. Evernote or Notes app can store your volunteer, work, and other experience for your application. Google Calendar, Outlook, and your online calendar can alert you with reminders for your working time blocks. Use technology to help you do your best work and keep on your assigned timelines.


Keep calm and carry on

Applying for college takes time and energy. Remember that you can do this well. It is worth the time and attention to organization that will help you throughout this process.


Need help in the college application process? I am here to help!










2 replies
  1. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    The college application process can be challenging in so many ways, but you shared a great process for making it more doable. I remember when our daughters applied to college, I helped them set up the basic filing system and talked through the planning process for selecting and visiting colleges. But they were pretty independent and motivated for getting things done. I know that isn’t the experience for many parents, and it can be so stressful.

    But in the end, applications get filed, kids get accepted to colleges, make their choice, and move forward. The process gives them ample opportunity to learn all kinds of life skills.

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