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  • Writer's pictureNancy Ziselman

Top Tips For Staying Organized When Applying to College

Staying organized is one of the most important things you can do to have an advantage in the college admissions process. You can take a number of steps during your senior year to be proactive, in control, and to manage the many components of your applications. By staying organized, you will ease your anxiety and feel accomplished as you complete your applications. Below are my top tips:

1. Set aside a designated time each week to devote to the college process.

2. Make sure your email address is professional and check your inbox regularly so that you can respond to admissions correspondence and requests in a timely manner. Don’t forget to check your SPAM folder!

3. Use a monthly calendar or planner to mark application deadlines, financial aid/scholarship deadlines, testing dates, and guidance office deadlines.

4. Create a file system:

Application File

  • Hard copy of Common App, with essays

  • Hard copy of individual school applications, with essays

  • Hard copy of submission confirmations

General File

  • SAT/ACT Score Reports

  • Transcripts

  • Test information such as admission tickets

Financial Aid File

  • Hard copy of FAFSA

  • Hard copy of SAR confirmation

  • Hard copy of CSS Profile

  • Log of scholarships applied to and date submitted

  • Hard copy of all scholarships submitted including essays and confirmations

5. Utilize application worksheets/spreadsheets to keep track of requirements, deadlines, and submissions. Best Fit Counseling provides great tools for tracking all of this!

6. Create a system for tracking usernames/passwords and pin numbers.

7. Pay attention to the guidelines, rules, and deadlines of your school’s guidance office. The guidance office deadlines will likely be earlier than the deadlines posted by the colleges that you are applying to.

8. Work on your applications in a designated area of your home on a desktop or laptop computer - never on your cellphone!

9. Make sure the documents on your computer are backed up regularly in case you have any last minute technical problems. Computers can malfunction at any time and don't care when your applications are due.

10. Just breathe and take it step-by-step. Best Fit Counseling is here to help you along the way!

What tools and strategies help you to stay organized and focused?

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