How Can I Stay Organized While Applying to College?

How to stay organized while applying to college

Applying to college might be the first time in your life you’ve had to juggle so many deadlines and tasks. In order to successfully navigate all the minute details and different policies, you’ll need to track a lot of information. But how? Below we offer organization ideas for different stages of the college application process.

Researching colleges:

Keep a spreadsheet of all the colleges you are interested in.  Have columns including (but not limited to):

  • Size, location, school type, etc.
  • Acceptance rate, average test scores, etc.
  • Application deadline(s), required tests, etc.

You want to be sure to keep track of information that will later help you narrow down your list of schools to apply to. Also, be sure to identify if it is a reach, target, or safety school for you, based on your own academic performance. Later on you can use that information to make sure you are applying to a range of schools.

Conduct the majority of your college research over the summer. You can continue research on a small scale throughout the school year, but you’ll be juggling many other activities. Try to complete at much as possible during the summer to minimize your stress throughout the application process.

Applying to colleges:

Create a timeline or spreadsheet to track all deadline related information. You should be tracking:

  • All materials that must be submitted and the respective deadlines. For example, if you are ranking Amherst College through the National College Match, your deadline/requirement list could look like this:

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Note: College Match and Regular Decision requirements for each partner college can be found here:

  • As you make this list, look for items that overlap. Use your own system (such as different highlighter colors) to group that information. Then, when you go to submit those materials, look for ways to streamline the submission process.
  • Make sure you have a clear method of checking off the items you have accomplished. It’s never fun to anxiously search through your email to see if you remembered to submit something – after the deadline has passed.

If you follow these organization techniques, we can guarantee you’ll make it through the college application process with much less stress than the typical high school senior!