Staying Organized While Applying To Colleges

Staying organized while applying to colleges
Staying organized while applying to colleges

Staying organized while applying to colleges is crucial. The college application process can seem daunting with the essays, forms, and tests, but keeping everything organized can ease the stress while applying to colleges.

Here are our top tips for a smooth process to stay organized while applying to colleges.


Before doing anything else, create a plan. Make a to-do list by determining tasks that need to be completed for each college. This can include applications, recommendation letters, and financial aid forms. Once these have been listed, you can go into detail and specify what needs to be done for each task, such as completing essay drafts. Track your progress using this list and check things off as you work on your applications. By breaking down each task, you will be less stressed; it will be easier to attack smaller parts of a large application than getting overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once.This will help you stay organized while applying to colleges.


Once you have all of your requirements listed, organize them by their due dates. You can use free electronic calendars like Google Calendar so you can access them from anywhere or, if you like to have a physical calendar, write down all of your deadlines on an agenda. Be sure to note the dates you want drafts of your essays to be completed and when you need to schedule an interview. Set deadlines for yourself so you are not working on your applications at the last minute. Hold yourself accountable to these deadlines because it will help you while applying to colleges and prevent you from procrastinating and filling out applications in a hurry.

Organize your files

Once you have started the application process, save all of your usernames and passwords in a single location on your computer. Save all of your essays and application materials as you go so it is easy to go back and check everything you are submitting. Creating multiple folders may also help; financial aid, college application, and scholarships folders may be beneficial to keeping everything organized. Keep all of your important information in an easy to access location as well. You will need to have your social security number, family information, high school information, test scores, and financial aid plans on hand while filling out college applications so be sure to have hard copies in a folder on your desk or organized on your computer.

Start early

Give yourself plenty of time to finish each application and check over your application materials before submitting. If you need to solicit teachers for letters of recommendation, ask with plenty of time to spare so they don’t feel rushed and they have time to send them. If you start early and complete everything ahead of time, this process will be a lot more manageable. By giving yourself plenty of time to work on applications and essays, you will be able to have more time to edit and ensure that you are completely happy with everything you are submitting. If you don’t have much time to complete your applications and are in a rush, you may stress out and make more mistakes.

Although there may be many things to finish before the end of the school year, keeping everything organized while applying to colleges can keep you on track and ease your mind once your applications are complete.

About the author: Priya Sudendra is a senior at University of Colorado and a staff writer for CollegeFocus, a website dedicated to helping students deal with the challenges of college.