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College Corner: Stay organized

[media-credit name=”FC file photo” align=”alignright” width=”300″]CollegeCorner[/media-credit]

If you are anything like me, you probably feel like you spend half of your time looking for things that you misplaced. With the chaos of our busy lives it can seem impossible to stay organized.

At my stage in life it’s pacifiers, sippy cups and car keys to keep track of; however English essays, calculators and soccer cleats may hit closer to home for you. When it comes to college applications, scholarship deadlines and the FAFSA, in addition to your already hectic life, many seniors become a little psychotic around this time of year.

In order to stay organized during this season of life you must first get organized. Maybe you are not a “Type A” person, but it doesn’t matter; when it comes to college applications you have to keep track of everything in order to survive.

Folders will collect all that you receive from a college in one place so you won’t have to sort through, let’s say, Northwestern University’s materials when looking for information on University of Michigan.–Jane Shropshire, founder of Shropshire Educational Consulting LLC.

My first recommendation is to purchase a binder to contain “all things college.” It is important to separate your college stuff from your school stuff, both in your mind and physically.

Once you have a binder, divide it by sections, according to colleges you are applying for.

“Folders will collect all that you receive from a college in one place so you won’t have to sort through, let’s say, Northwestern University’s materials when looking for information on University of Michigan. Use your calendar/planner to track applications and target dates for completion,” advises Jane Shropshire, founder, Shropshire Educational Consulting LLC.

As previously mentioned, it is important to use a calendar.

“Put it where you will see it every day, whether that means taping it up in your locker, attaching it to your bathroom mirror, or putting it on your handheld computer or smartphone. Use different colors for different colleges,” CollegeDate advises.

If you use your phone you can even set alerts at certain times to remind you to write your personal statement, fill out a scholarship application, ask for a letter of recommendation, etc. You may think you can keep it all straight in your head but you can’t, no one can realistically do so without forgetting something. Why take the chance when it is something as important as college?

In helping students during this stressful time I have noticed how many people forget their usernames and passwords for the application websites and college email systems. At the time, you create a password that you believe you will remember but with so many to keep track of it is easy to forget which one is which.

Rebecca Joseph, executive director and founder of Get Me To College recommends that you keep all of this important information in one place, by using Mac Stickies or a Microsoft Word document.

This will save you the hassle of having to change your password, getting locked out of the site, or even waiting on hold for hours (we have all been there).

When it comes down to it, proper organization can be the key factor in creating a successful college application experience. Organization leads to meeting deadlines, meeting deadlines leads to getting into college and possibly scoring money for college and these things lead to happy students and parents (and school counselors).

So the moral of the story is to stay on top of things because your hard work and organization will most definitely pay off (in more ways than one)!

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Nov. 12 article, Freshman princess relives first homecoming .

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