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5 Time-Saving College Application Tricks for High School Seniors

Students should set frequent reminders for important deadlines related to scholarships and standardized tests.
By GPA Admin

5 Time-Saving College Application Tricks for High School Seniors

Senior year of high school is a time for students to develop a sense of what they will do next, whether that means attending college or completing a gap year. Seniors must also finish their course work, participate in extracurriculars, research colleges and apply. As with any complex task, your senior year will proceed far more smoothly if you have a plan in place. Simple timesaving strategies can help your plan come to a reality.

1.  Create a personalized calendar: Generic college application checklists are just that – generic. Your life is unique, so identify the precise dates of major senior-year events, such as test sessions, and enter them in a calendar that allows you to synchronize your schedule across multiple platforms.

Google Calendar is an easy-to-use example. It will allow you to set alarms and reminders, but it is important to remember to set multiple reminders several weeks or months before the date in question.

Your college admission essay may be due on Jan. 1, but it does little good to first remember this the day they are due. Setting reminders to go off in advance will allow you to remain on schedule. Time management tools like Wunderlist, a Web-based service that includes smartphone and desktop apps, are also useful to keep you on task.

2. Narrow your college application focus early:  Deciding upon a short list of colleges as early as possible in your senior year will allow you to fill your calendar with key dates applicable to those particular schools, including early action and early decision deadlines.

When visiting schools for the first, or even second time, consider capturing video as you walk through the campus to help you recollect the school’s vibe when you ponder your options later.

You can also use Pinterest, a website that allows users to create digital pinboards, to collate all the positives and negatives of the colleges you’re considering, as well as other college-related advice, in one easy to access place.

3. Select your exam dates as soon as possible: Once you have a short list of programs, you can decide which exams are most appropriate for you to take and when you should take them. These might include the ACT, SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

Keep in mind that schools do not receive your results immediately. You may need to sit for your exams in September or October if you plan to apply early. Remember that scoring well will require an investment in study time and schedule this time in your personalized calendar.

When engaging in your ACT/SAT pre, save time by keeping annotated bookmarks of your test-prep materials to help you stay organized as you study.

Web-based tools like Diigo allow you to highlight relevant sections and add notes directly in the online material for easy retrieval. You don’t want to burn valuable time struggling to find notes instead of easily being able to pull them up at a moment’s notice.

Implement five-minute breaks after every 25 minutes of studying to stay refreshed and retain information better.

4. Set financial aid deadlines: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is required by colleges in order to calculate tuition assistance, cannot be submitted until Jan. 1. But you can save time by beginning the process of gathering necessary information before that date. 

Additionally, if you plan to apply for scholarships, each one will likely have a different deadline. Program scholarship deadlines and timelines for each step in the submission process, including gathering essay feedback, into your online calendar.

If you’re applying to more than one scholarship, you’ll likely need similar information for each one, such as extracurriculars, employment and achievements. Take the time now to write all of this information out and save it, along with scholarship forms, essays and other materials, in an online folder. This will also come in handy down the road when applying for internships or part-time jobs during college.

5. Remain well rested to finish high school strong: Believe it or not, getting enough sleep is ultimately the best thing you can do for yourself during the final months of college. Well-rested students have a clearer, sharper mind and are able to accomplish more in less time, and perform better in class. 

Colleges and universities will request transcripts of your final year in high school, and they may even revoke your offer of admission if your grades drop.

Remember that your senior year of high school is one more part of your journey to college. You will have different tasks to accomplish, but having a plan and incorporating helpful resources can ensure a productive, hassle-free experience.


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