These past few weekends have been all about organizing.
Maybe it’s the spring weather that’s finally here. Warm air and windows open. I wanted a fresh start!
Maybe it’s because there was so much paper covering every inch of my desk that I couldn’t find my laptop.
Or maybe I finally realized that the pain in the neck of organizing now, would make my life so much better later.
Whatever the reason, I decided to act on the clutter. That meant not doing the reading, writing or everything else I needed to do for school. I basically had to put off the productive tasks that get me nearer to my goals to backtrack and clean up. Shredding and filing isn’t that much fun for me, but when it was done, my office space was clean and well-organized with a place for everything.
It will never get that out-of-control again because I have a plan for what to do with everything.
What does this mean for you if you’re college bound? It means deciding now where and what to keep in your Application Headquarters, or AppHQ.
It means making a clutter-free space to put all the college material you are going to be gathering these next few months (if you’re a junior) or next few years (if you’re younger). By doing it now, by making the space ready, you’ll really save yourself from a headache later. This is all true whether you are using a real space or a virtual space.
If you’re going with real space, you can choose a small box to keep your college stuff in (if it has handles, you can have a roaming AppHQ to take anywhere in or out of the house). Or you can keep everything in a drawer – file drawer, desk drawer, sock drawer (if you remove the socks first!). Whatever you do, you want to designate one place that’s for college and only for college.
This way, when you need to put a college brochure or letter from the college away, or find a college brochure because you couldn’t remember if they were in Ohio or Iowa, you don’t have to turn your room upside down to find it. (Which is more of a pain if you actually share the room with your brother or sister.)
Now this may not be so important for a brochure with info about the college because you can always go online and look that up. But if you’ve been sent a letter with a password to access your college application information, an event invitation at the college, or a PIN for your FAFSA (financial aid form), you don’t want to be searching for that when you’re ready to file your application.
If you plan on keeping everything online – scanning documents from the schools, all your PINs and passwords, that will definitely keep down the room clutter. But I’m guessing your computer may have some clutter all it’s own, especially if you’re not the only one using it or you’ve had it for awhile.
You are going to be writing a lot of essays for college and for scholarships (I hope!), and drafting some activities lists as well. Make the folders now and label them so they are ready to receive the wonderful words you are going to write about yourself. Think about other categories of things you might want to save – lists of potential majors, contact information for the admissions counselors you meet at the colleges you’ll apply to, the contact information of the people who will be writing all those fantastic letters of recommendation.
Use excel, word or whatever works for you, but create the computer space and folders so you can easily put your hands on what you need and save all your important information.
And it’s a great idea to have a flash drive back up, too. You can use it as your mini roaming AppHQ.
It’s not too early to get organized for your college search and application process. Doing it now, before you really need it will make you ready for all the information that will come to you soon, and all the information you’ll create during your senior year.
Where do you keep all of your college information? How do you keep yourself organized? I’d love to know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go here and complete the contact form. You can also tweet me @Zinjenzo.
I’ll look forward to hearing your suggestions and ideas.
Thanks for reading. Make it a great day!