Applying to college is a stressful endeavor, but what that comes with so much reward. Every high school senior in the United States has to write essays and tack on test scores to their applications in the fall, all hoping for a lucky strike in the spring.

The best thing you can do is plan, plan, plan. I did not start early enough when I applied and I was constantly flipping back and forth to figure out due dates. Many deadlines were scrambled in my head, and it just made me more anxious. Starting in the summer will alleviate that stress, even if it's just some lists or brainstorming.

So, here are some tips from my experience to help you apply.

Have a college notebook and folder. It doesn't have to be huge or fancy, a regular 70 sheet notebook and plastic folder will do just fine. (However, if you decorate them you will be more inclined to use it!) In this notebook, you can brainstorm ideas for essays or list out potential colleges you wanna apply to. In the folder, you can keep brochures you'll end up getting or application materials you may need. However, there are a few keys things you have to have listed.

In one section, you should have  (excel style if that's clearer)

  1. Colleges
  2. What application each uses (Common App for example)
  3. What they need (ACT vs SAT, 2 essays, personal statements, AP tests, etc.)
  4. Application deadline, early and regular
  5. NOTE: They may have an even earlier deadline for regular applicants who want to apply for scholarships. If you apply before this deadline, you will automatically be considered for a scholarship! My best friend pushed me to do this, and it really paid off in the end, as I wasn't going to afford school otherwise. Private liberal schools usually have these, but definitely ask if you aren't sure.

Another page in the notebook should have:

  1. Application websites (Common App, UC, etc.)
  2. Username for each one
  3. Password for each one

This will help you so much because it'll save you so much time and frustration. No more flipping back and forth through emails trying to find passwords.

These are just a few tips that you can use now to help start off your college application process. Please let me know if you have any other tips, and what else I should talk about!

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