College Central, Files, and Charts
Devise a plan that works for you and work the plan. Everybody 'organizes' differently so don't think there is only one best way to attack the college application process. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and graciously accept help from those around you. Students, this is definitely a time when you want a parent/guardian as an ally! Don't push them away. If you are not an organized, self-motivated, high-achieving student then let an adult support (not do it for you!!) you with the organization process. 5 tips to help you get organized: 1. Find one location in your home to be 'COLLEGE CENTRAL'. Keep all materials in this space - a desk, folding table, or the dining room table works well. A place where everything can stay for the duration of the process. 2. Select your method of organization - binders (one for each college) or FILE box with hanging folders. My preference is a file box with hanging folders. It doesn't have to be expensive. This allows for expansion and it's easy to drop materials into the labeled folders. 3. Label the binder dividers or folders. Examples of labeled folders may include: One for each college (with name, email, & cell phone of rep written inside each folder), paper copies of the applications, supplements, financial aid/FAFSA, test scores (ACT, SAT, PSAT, AP), essays, resume, your high school info/handouts on the college application process procedures, transcript request forms, paper copy of the Common Application chart with all the schools and their deadlines and requirements. 4. Folders with pockets to give to teachers/counselor with your recommendation forms (if submitting by paper) or a list of schools if they are writing recs online. Stamped, addressed envelopes, and a complimentary resume for reference. Follow your school's procedures on this process. 5. Once you have your list of colleges identified, prepare a CHART (computer spreadsheet or by hand) with rows for each college. The column headings should include: your ID# for each college, DEADLINE DATES for application, scholarships, financial aid, auditions/portfolios (if applicable), supplements, SAT/ACT sent, Subject Tests required (if any), transcript requested, essays & how many, and other information you need to stay on track for each college. This chart should be posted where it is clearly visible - closet door, above your desk, refrigerator - to be sure you don't miss a deadline or forget something!