Tips & tools for organizing college apps
Updated: Sep 21
Even the world's best entrance essay or most flattering recommendation letter won't earn you a college acceptance if other elements of your application are missing. Or, worse yet, the deadlines have passed without hitting "submit." This is why staying organized throughout the college application process is just as crucial as the applications themselves, and why we want to share a few tools for keeping track of the nitty gritties that could otherwise get lost along the way.
We all know that gut-sinking feeling when you realize you've missed a deadline — oof! Don't let that happen to your college apps. Whether you print one out or use Google is up to you, but making a calendar dedicated to college application deadlines should be one of the first things you do this fall. Each college will have its own deadline, which can make it hard to keep track of without a calendar; early action/decision deadlines will approach quickly (as soon as November 1st) with other due dates spanning as late as March. Set reminders a week in advance of each deadline and aim to press "submit" at least one day before each one is due.
Click here for an editable & printable 20/21 calendar (select "File" and "Make a copy" to personalize)
Not only do schools have varying application deadlines, they all have their own requirements, too! This year in particular will see all sorts of unique application elements due to shifts in admissions criteria in light of COVID-19. Writing down the items each school on your list requires is essential; so is crossing them off your list once completed. To see each school's application requirements, visit the admissions page on their websites, look at their Common App summary (if they have one), or speak with an admissions rep. Some items you'll inevitably note include: SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts, essays, school reports, interviews, etc.
Click here for an application organizer example (select "File" and "Make a copy" to personalize)
Colleges want to know a lot about you, things that you might not know off the top of your head. For example, what's your exact GPA? How about class rank? SAT/ACT scores? School code? Rather than look these things up individually each time you fill out an application, consider creating a single cheat sheet that you can refer to. Be sure to write down the usernames and passwords that you create along the way, too — trust me, you'll have a LOT of those by the end of your application journey. An activity chart documenting your extracurriculars is also helpful to have on hand.
Click here for a cheat sheet + activity chart template (select "File" and "Make a copy" to personalize)