How to Organize Your College Apps: Part 1

Student works on college application College applications are a major teenage rite of passage, but they can really make you stressed and crazy.  Take charge!  With this handy checklist you can be so organized people won’t recognize you.  Let’s go…

Collect some key data from each college’s website.  Use excel if you know how, or make a grid on paper.  List all of your colleges on the left and then make column headers for the following areas.  When you find the info on the website, copy/paste the paragraph into your sheet. I do not recommend that you type it, take notes on it or abbreviate it because the actual language used will become very important.

1.  Which colleges Super Score?
Super scoring means they will take the best reading from one test date and the best math from another.  More and more colleges are doing this each year, for both the ACT and the SAT.  Super scoring can help you in many cases, so check it out.

2.  Which colleges interview?
If your college interviews it is typically to your advantage to do one.  This policy can change from year to year so I only trust the website of the actual college…  We have great interview worksheets in the CollegeMapper Resources section.  Unless you are painfully shy, it usually helps you to interview because you can show your true interest in the college and they can get to know you a little.  It’s fun!

3.  What 2-3 majors will you declare at each college?
Go on the Academics page of the website, under Undergraduates, then Majors or Programs offered.  Scan the list of majors that college offers.  (A major is the subject you will focus on in college.) Choose 2-3 that interest you and copy/paste the names into your spreadsheet.  If the college calls the major Biological Studies, then you must do so as well and not call it Biology in your essays or interview.  Be on your A Game.

4.  Did you join the mailing list at each college?
This super helps you stay in the loop with each school, for announcements and updates, and especially for info about when your colleges may be coming to your city!  You really want to attend those visits.  The mailing list also tells the colleges that you are interested, which is never a bad thing when you really are.

5.  Did you like your colleges on Facebook and follow them on Twitter?
More and more colleges are using Facebook and Twitter to post announcements, in addition to the website, so this is a great way for you to show them a little extra love and stay in the loop.

6.  Are you opening and reading the emails your colleges send you?
This is critical because if the college sends you something, it’s because they want you to read it.  It will have important info in it, so open the email and at the very least scan it.

7.  Do your colleges offer Early Decision, Early Action or Priority application dates?
Note all of the deadlines that your college offers, and then apply as early as you can, while still turning in a very polished app that you worked really hard on. You should work for several months on most of these applications.  When something really matters, we spend time and love on it.

8.  Do your colleges require Subject Tests?
Pray that the answer is no, but sadly, friend, some do.  It’s usually the famous names that want these extra tests, but check the policy on the websites and copy/paste it into your spreadsheet.  This policy can change from year to year, so I tend to trust the website and only the website on this one.  And watch the language they use!  Require is different from recommending or strongly suggest…

9.  Can you visit the campus?
If you can, by all means, DO!  Not only is it fun, but it shows the college that you are serious, and everyone loves someone who loves them.  Make sure your visit is registered and official, booked through the Office of Admissions so they know you were there!

10.  Who is your personal admissions representative at that college?
This is great to know for when you have any questions.  Don’t be annoying, but don’t be afraid.  Just be wise.  This is the person who will be reading your app and deciding if you get in or not, so be polite and courteous at all times. Show your passion for the school, and remember, these people love teenagers.  If they didn’t, there are 100 other offices on campus where they would be working.

Use these tips to stay organized and motivated during application season! Oh, and don’t forget to use CollegeMapper.  🙂

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