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Get Ready for College Applications BEFORE you Start your Senior Year

Written by CB Experts

Stress! That will be the dominating word if you do not take some proactive steps to ready yourself for applying to colleges your senior year. Before you know it, deadlines will approach and you will be run over by the golden, winged chariot of time!

But August can provide a little respite if you set a few things in motion before going back to school in the fall to make the application process easier.

A Place to Work

Start with organizing a spot at home where you can sit, keep information and supplies, and work at your computer. Make sure it’s a place others won’t disturb and a spot that has enough room and storage so you can lay out information and then put it aside in an orderly way. This will become the space for your college application work, a place you can count on, where you can concentrate and compose, where you can make order out of chaos.


You will need some supplies throughout the application process. You should have plenty of envelops to use to send off applications but also to use for teacher recommendations. Larger manila envelops work for the applications but regular business envelopes are best for recommendations. You will need stamps; pens; ink cartridges; some decent paper to print off your essays and other materials; and some thank you cards for admissions people with whom you have interviewed or toured the campus,and for recommenders; and some manila folders.

The Calendar

Buy a calendar now, your own personal college deadline calendar. Write in deadlines

 for the SAT or ACT tests,
 for each college’s send-in deadlines,
 for interview appointments, and
 for financial aid and scholarship deadlines.

It’s good to see it laid out before you so you have an idea of what has to be done and when before it all creeps up on you and things fall together. CHECK THIS CALENDAR EVERY WEEK! Chose a Monday or a Sunday and SEE what you have to keep in mind to get things done ON TIME.


You will need some basic information for every application. Copy it down now on one sheet of paper so you can refer to it easily every time you need it. Every application requires your Social Security Number, your school’s address and phone number, and your guidance counselor’s phone number and email address.

You should also log on to basic sites and copy down your password(s) so you can enter the site as many times as you’ll need without having to reset you password. Sites to log into now are the Common Application site and the College Board site. Put those passwords with the other information mentioned about. Keep it all together and simple.

Finally, create a sheet(s) of information to hand to teachers, advisors, or counselors whom you ask to write recommendations for you. This information should include
 *your high school transcript
 *a list of your activities and achievements
 *the schools you are applying to and why
 *and any other information that will give your recommenders knowledge of you beyond the school or their class.

Photocopy these. When you need a recommendation attach this information about you to the college’s recommendation form along with an addressed and stamped envelope. Quick and easy!

College Folders

Make up a folder for every college you are considering as you research each one. On the outside of the folder put the name of the college. As you research the college, add its basics contact information: the admissions office address, email, phone, and any names of people you have spoken with directly. Finish the front of the folder off with a section that lists all the requirements of this college and all its applications deadlines as well as financial aid deadlines. [Make sure you go to your calendar and fill in those dates, too!]

Then down load ALL the application forms. Be sure and include ALL supplemental materials along with teacher and school recommendation forms that have to be attached to the recommendation letters.

If you eliminate a college from your list, put the folder aside. Maybe hold onto it in case you change your mind, but keep it separate from the active pile.

Also check out these articles at for even more information about organizing your applications for college. This type of organization in AUGUST will not only put you in the mind set for your senior year of college application, it will also save you time and make things a little smoother. You might be able to concentrate on your senior classes instead of getting totally wound up with the stress of your college applications.


NEWS!  CollegeBasics now has a new e-book The Basics for Writing College Application Essays: Simple How-to Steps for Writing All College Essays from the Personal Statement to the Short Activity Essay that outlines every aspect of writing the college application essay. This book explains how to write different kinds of application essays from the short activity essay to the personal statement to scholarship essays and more and offers samples of essays and essay edits. This book can really help you.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.