5 Tricks for Organizing Your College Applications

Application Strategies
September 15, 2020
College Application Season Is Drawing Closer…

And with it, many students are finding their desks filled with unorganized papers and their laptops overflowing with important college emails.

Unfortunately, during application season, it can be hard to find a proper place for everything. So, in this article, we cover how you can help your student stay organized from the start to keep them on track as they get ready for college application season.

The Importance Of Having A Plan

College application season can quickly become a whirlwind of activity that sweeps your student off their feet if they are not properly prepared. Having a plan for staying organized and on-task before application season starts is one of the best ways you can help your student prep for college applications.

Not only will having a solid plan to refer to help your student when they feel lost or discouraged, but a plan also helps take away some of the stress students feel due to applications. If all of your student’s applications and resources are organized in one place, they’ll spend less time tearing their hair out looking for materials and information.

Another important reason for your student to stay organized is so that you can provide help when necessary. If your student asks you to find some financial papers to fill out their FASFA, for example, knowing where to place it on your student’s desk so it will actually get taken care of properly instead of misplaced is crucial to keeping your financial information safe; not to mention getting your child’s college applications complete!

The Effect Of COVID-19

Of course, due to COVID-19 and the rise of distance and online learning, staying organized and on-task has become more difficult than ever for students. Not only do students have to face the stress of adapting to a new online academic system, but they also have to navigate the world of college admissions from a virtual standpoint.

In addition, students no longer have the ability to have a face to face meeting with their guidance counsellor to stay on track and organized. This means that keeping materials and resources organized is mostly up to the student. For many, it can be all too easy to accidentally misplace unfamiliar yet crucial paperwork or forms. In this environment, learning how to stay organized and productive is key to your student completing their college applications.

Our Favorite Tricks For Organizing Your College Applications


For each college your student wants to apply to, they should create a checklist (either physical or digital) to keep them on track for that specific school. While each school will have different requirements, paperwork, and application opportunities, your student can start with this essential checklist for each school and work from there:

  • Application deadline
  • High school transcript
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Personal statement/college essays
  • Letters of recommendation

Specifically, make sure your student includes any extra essays, portfolios, or supplemental materials in their checklists. These vary from school to school and can easily be forgotten due to their “optional” status. Fortunately, by adding these to your student’s checklist, they will be much more likely to complete these extra materials in a timely manner during application season.


These days, most of your student’s college application process is now taking place online. Because of this, their computer desktop and files can quickly become an overwhelming mess without proper organization. So, if your student can create a digital organization system that works for them from the start, they will save themselves a lot of time and stress.

One of the most useful features you can use to keep your student’s digital life organized is folders. Bookmark college websites in a separate folder, use folders on your desktop to hold all of their essays, and create folders within their email to keep all their important college emails in one place. Use clear naming systems to help you easily identify what each document or folder contains.

Additionally, both the Common Application and the Coalition Application are designed to help your students stay organized. Encourage your child to get comfortable with these features and make use of them to keep track of their essays and important application materials.


As with most things, it’s best for your student to start preparing for college application season early to give themselves the best chance for success. If your student starts with a plan and knows how they’ll start organized and stay that way, it can take a load of stress off them during application season.

In order to stay organized and on track, encourage your student to use a calendar. Either a digital or physical calendar can be colour-coded for each school, allowing your student to visualize deadlines in an instant. Not only do many students find this motivating, but it also helps prevent accidentally missing deadlines due to the whirlwind of their senior year.


With the world going digital, it makes sense to help use your child’s phone to keep them on track with their college applications. Better yet, there are a wide variety of apps that students can use to help them stay on task: from the goal-setting app turned game Habitca to the tried and true Google Drive app that can serve as a storage locker for all their digital documents.

Another way students can use apps to keep track of their college applications is to set reminders. These work well for more than just Zoom meetings with their counsellors too; your student can set alarms to remind themselves a week before their application is due, for example.


Support your student through the college application process by encouraging them to build accountability groups with their college-bound friends. By working together and inspiring each other, your student is more motivated to stay organized, even if it’s only so they can show off their essays when a friend asks for advice! Additionally, your student’s peers may have their own way of organizing their applications that your student can learn from to make their own life easier.

College counsellors are also great outside resources to help your student stay accountable. They can also help your student in ways that a peer can’t due to their connections, training, and resources, so it may be worth finding a professional counselor to help your student.

College Prep Can Be Simple

While it’s normal for the college application process to feel overwhelming in the beginning, with a good plan and organization college prep can be simple. If your student takes the time to set themselves up for organized success, it will save them plenty of time searching for papers and stressing out about it later on.

If your child needs extra help organizing their college applications or any other part of their college prep, consider getting in contact with one of our WeAdmit counsellors. We are here to help your student through whatever parts of the college application process they find themselves struggling with. From getting organized to writing essays, our knowledgeable counsellors are here to provide the support you need!



Need more Information?

Gain all the information you need by getting in touch with our admissions team or booking a free 30-minute counseling session.