The college application season can be stressful. Using this checklist to help stay organized can ease some of that anxiety.

By Wendi Ostroff

        • Create accounts for Cal States (opened 10/1), UC (opened) Common app, Coalition app (if there are schools you’re applying to for this app). Try to stick with similar/same passwords.


        • Cal States have no essays, but the UCs have 4 short personal statements (350 words each). Common and Coalition apps have essays too. This is the time to brainstorm, start writing, edit, revise and review, and leave lots of time for this (weeks).


        • Oct 1, have parent start FAFSA report. Some private colleges will also want CSS profile (similar but asks more questions).


        • UCs and Cal States do not require letters of recommendation, but most private schools do. Be sure that you ask (nicely) 1-2 teachers and your counselor, for a letter of recommendation. Many counselors, even teachers, have a brag sheet, and sometimes one for parents, too. Be sure to give them adequate time to write your letter of rec (as in touching base with them now). You can email them too. Your counselor will most likely need a list of the colleges you’re applying to, and they’re very busy now too, so keep that in mind.


        • Stay on top of school work. It’s important to maintain strong grades as they will be looking at mid-year grades.


        • Be sure to balance your time between college applications, essays, classes, extracurriculars, staying healthy, and enjoying senior year.


        • National Honor Society membership applications are usually in October. Be on the lookout for that and join, every semester.


        • Have someone give feedback on essays and review applications. Very important. Pay attention to any supplements too. They need time and edits as well.


        • Keep track of when you submit applications, the date you sent test scores, date they confirm your application is complete (not just they have received application).


        • If there are portals to check mail from a particular school, be sure to check it, regularly. They may have a question or other and you want to reply in a timely manner.