Juniors: How to Get Organized Before Applying to College
By Amy Jeffrey, founder of Make Me a Freshman
Teacher recommendations. Transcripts. FAFSA. These are just three of the many different types of forms that you must track when applying to college. How can you manage them all?
Applying to college can seem overwhelming because every college requires a different set of forms and deadlines as part of their admissions process. First you must figure out which requirements to complete, and then you must organize them all.
Here are some tools to help college bound students prepare and get organized before applying to college.
Make Me a Freshman
Because many students feel overwhelmed by the college admissions process, I built Make Me a Freshman, a free website that helps you understand and organize all your specific requirements. Simply choose your colleges, and the website generates a checklist with all of your specific forms and deadlines, with reminders and explanations along the way. Plus, you can set preferences about early decision, financial aid needs, and more. Additionally, counselors, mentors, and parents can use the website to can consolidate all the activity of their students, track their progress, and add their own tasks for students to complete.
I started this website as an undergraduate at Harvard University. After my freshman year in college, I created and taught free college prep classes at my public high school. We explained the basics of the college application process, but I wished that there was a free website where students could go to enter their colleges and see all their specific requirements. I majored in computer science, building the website as a student, and I am now working full time since graduating in May 2015. My hope is that this free website can help students navigate the college application and financial aid process, explaining exactly how and when to apply to their specific colleges.
College Planning Checklists
Creating or using existing college prep checklists is a great way to stay organized and on track before the college application season. Click here to download your free college planning checklist from IvyWise.
For International Students
In addition to the regular admissions requirements, colleges might request additional materials from international applicants. For help understanding how the US admissions process evaluates international applicants and what else is required to attend university in the US, download IvyWise’s free international guide.
Additional College Prep Tips
Make Me a Freshman and other tools can help you reduce stress by organizing all of your requirements, but there is more you can do.
- Give yourself enough time to complete your applications. This is key to mitigating stress. Deadlines often seem a long way off, but they approach much faster than you might expect, especially when you have other obligations like homework or after school activities competing for your time.
- Create a schedule for yourself, dedicating a certain amount of time each week to drafting essays, filling out applications, and searching for scholarships—but be diligent about committing to this schedule. It’s too easy to feel as though you have plenty of time, only to be scrambling last minute to finish all your requirements.
- Reach out for help if necessary. Your school counselors are there for a reason! Reach out if you’re having trouble navigating the college admissions process. Also don’t be afraid to seek help from teachers, parents, or independent educational consultants.
Want to learn more about Make Me a Freshman? Visit their website here!