The college admissions process is one that’s nerve wracking for any student. However, with the proper preparation and organization, students can decrease their chances of getting their applications denied due to mistakes and other common mishaps. Mastering the following tips below will point you in the right direction and make this part of the process as stress-free as possible.
If you’re like most students, you’ll more than likely be applying to multiple schools. Of course this means dealing with more than one application. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in the position to mess up by sending an application to the wrong school, mixing up or completely forgetting necessary documentation, missing deadlines, etc. Luckily, there are ways to approach this phase in an efficient way that even the most unorganized student can learn. The tips listed below are ideal for students dealing with hard copy applications instead of online versions.
Lay It Out & Sort It Out
Go through your list of schools and print out the application for each one. Spread the applications out on a large table that’s free of clutter. Have a stack of sticky notes handy. One by one, read through each application and use a separate sticky note for each school to write down a list of what paperwork/documentation is required (don’t forget to note the deadlines to turn them in). One by one, attach the sticky note to the front of the application as you make each list, instead of doing everything all at once, then trying to match which sticky note goes with what school application. Examples of what may appear on the list of requirements include: transcripts (be sure to note whether they’re asking for a regular transcript or an official one), a personal statement, letters of recommendation and copies of test scores (SAT).
Find The Overlap in College Applications
After you’ve organized your list of requirements, you’ll notice that many of the schools will ask for the same types of documentation. Using a fresh sticky note, write down how many copies of each you’ll need for the items that overlap between two or more schools. If you’re applying to five schools and they all want official transcripts, then your list should show that five copies should be made. This saves time and makes it easy to request copies of specific documents all at once.
Keep your applications spread out on the table. After you’ve gotten copies of the required paperwork, start organizing what goes where. To prevent a mix up, stack your paperwork underneath each application and keep them together using a large paper clip.
Take Action But Take Your Time
It’s time to hunker down and start completing the applications. Start with the schools that have the closest deadline approaching. To prevent your mind from sensory overload, commit to completing one college application PER DAY–this is very important! Taking your time in this manner gives you the ability to focus on customizing your application specifically for each school and also keeps you from getting them confused. Start by filling out the actual application form then move on to drafting, writing and editing your personal statement/essay. Use checklists as you go along to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.
Following this organized system will get your applications done efficiently and give you less to worry about.