Hey guys! Since I know high schools are starting to go back to school soon (at least my younger brother is), I thought it'd be a great time to write on how incoming high school seniors can start getting organized for college apps. This is such a broad topic, but I hope I can gloss over most of it and if anyone has anymore questions, I'll be sure to address them in another post. So let's get started shall we? After applying to 18 universities (11 separate applications), I'll be sharing my top 4 tips to stay on top of your college applications, so keep on reading(:
1. Your College Binder
I can't stress enough how important it is to keep a separate binder for college "stuff." This may seem silly, but as the papers start to pile, it really helps to have a specific binder with dividers that allows you to know exactly where your 3rd draft of your 6th school's essay is. Also, it looks pretty impressive when you pull it out while at college fairs or even just with your counselor. In this binder I suggest keeping:
-Your College List (a list of all the schools you are applying to)
-I also suggest having the application due date & the SAT/ACT score report due date for each school listed. (often the application is due before your test scores)
-College Application Checklists* for each of your schools
-A Hardcopy of Each App You Submit (better safe than sorry)
-Your Transcript (it's great to have it on had to cross check grades while filling out apps)
-Copies of Your Factsheet/Resume (teachers and counselor often ask for one if they're writing a letter of rec. for you)
-Printed Copies of your Essay Drafts (so that teachers can mark them up and help you correct them)
-College Mail** (we'll talk about this in a second)
2. College Application Checklists*
Below is a checklist given to me by my scholarship and as silly as it seems to check off some of these things, it really helps to keep your mind straight when all your schools start giving you different due dates for this and that. Feel free to print one out for each school you're applying to. I believe if you click on the image, it just enlarge to full size, but if not, go ahead and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you an attachment.
3. College Mail**
Up until now you've probably have already received quite a bit of "junk mail" from various colleges ever since registering for the SAT/ACT, but starting your senior year means you'll be getting loads more. Don't throw anything away! Keep all this junk until you are completely done deciding where you will be applying. Many of the letters you will be receiving will offer you a "VIP" or free application to their school. This is great news considering most applications are $50-70 per school. You never know if a school on your list may just end up sending you some mail! This "junk mail" might also introduce you to some schools you've never heard of that could turn out to fit your criteria and become your dream school!
4. Start Early
As simple as this sounds, it can be pretty difficult with this teenage condition called procrastination. The Common App (which many, but not all schools use) goes live every year on August 1st. Check when your schools' applications go live and make your account as soon as possible. Getting started early will motivate you to finish early as well...or give you a bit of leeway when you procrastinate later haha.
Good luck my incoming seniors & remember, working hard now and not getting lazy, will save you a lot of trouble later.