If you are embarking on that challenging college search, there is one major aspect that must constantly be on your mind: deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Without keeping track of these, you might as well say goodbye to an easy decision-making process now. Regarding your campus visits, early-decision time frames, SAT registration periods, and so much more you probably haven’t even thought of yet, you’re going to be very sorry later on if you didn’t document these down somewhere outside of your mind. Here is some great strategy tips for college applications and admissions that you may find useful as well.
First things first, settle on a specific material for this schedule-keeping of yours. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal calendar – although if that works for you, go right ahead! You could use a classic 12-monther hanging from your wall, a hand-held planner, a “reminder” application on your smart phone, or a virtual calendar on your computer. The options go on and on. Pick a format that you understand. If you attempt to organize all of your information in a system that appears extremely complex, don’t expect good results to come easily. Why pile on more work than you have to?
Select a method that is aesthetically pleasing as well. Even if you are not a neat-freak who loves things to always look their best, this is still important. This isn’t about style, it’s about making your schedule simple to read and comprehend. No one has an easy time making sense of something that is difficult to look at. Plus, if you’re having an ally help you out with this college search, you’ll want them to be able to look at your deadlines and understand them without your help every second. This is all about setting a helpful foundation for you to work off of.
Once you’ve got the basic calendar/planner picked out and ready to use, go through a few steps so you can map out the journey of your college search accurately. You may also want to check out these tips on how to prepare for the college search.
1. Organize your deadlines one category at a time: As previously mentioned, there are going to be tons of deadlines for things that haven’t even crossed your mind yet. Take some time and figure all of those out ahead of time. Check the application deadlines for every school you’re even remotely thinking about. Moreover, get down every deadline each of those schools has. You never know when you might get confident about a college and want to apply Early-Decision at the last moment. If you haven’t taken the SAT and/or ACT yet, research where they are offered in your city and when. Don’t just bank on one date; give yourself time to take it again if you need to and more importantly, plan a time to take it again before all of your application deadlines.
2. Set up a reminder system: Sometimes it’s not enough to just write/type all of those deadlines down. It’s also not always enough to write/type them down just once on the actual due date. Think about it – if you look at the calendar day by day and therefore don’t see the application deadline for XYZ University until the day that deadline has occurred, that calendar system is not going to be of much help. It is crucial that you set up a way for you to be fully aware of when these deadlines are approaching, not just when they happen. Maybe that means you need to write down “warning” deadlines a couple of weeks beforehand? Maybe you should set additional alarms along the way to keep things progressing smoothly. Do whatever it takes.
3. Make this calendar your best friend: Seriously, learn to love this planner of yours. The effort put into it will be a waste if you don’t treat it with the attentive nature it deserves. More specifically, this is the attentive nature you deserve in order to be productive in your college search. As much as you are consulting books, websites, other students, and campus tours about your big decision, none of those factors will be able to be put into play if important deadlines are carelessly passed over. When you figure out how to make this calendar an integral part of your life, you won’t miss a beat of the adventure that is your college search. You may also want to check out these 6 habits to help you become a more organized student.
Think of this as the anchor for your university exploration. You can’t sufficiently get started without it. Organization will never have felt so good.