Utilizing a physical planner like the ScholarPrep Organizer is the most effective method to staying organized and committed to maintaining records and staying on top of college planning. However, we live in a digital age and the many technologies and online resources available should also be used for successful college planning. Smartphones, cloud storage, computers, tablets, and hardware such as a printer and scanner will all be useful.
Here are 7 of our BEST tips for using technology to help you save time and energy as you search for and submit college and scholarship applications.
1. Keep track of scholarship requirements with a spreadsheet
Scholarship applications are ALL different. They will all have different deadlines, different requirements and different attachments. This can be overwhelming and it can be easy to miss something. Using a spreadsheet for keeping track of the details will help you stay organized and ensure your applications are complete and submitted on time!
We have created this Scholarship Tracking Spreadsheet to help you get started – just enter your name and email below and we will send it straight to your inbox!
2. Create a personal website
Including a link to your personal website on college or scholarship applications could give you the edge you need to stand out against thousands of other students. Creating a personal website gives you the opportunity to show your personality and expand on certain aspects of your character and involvement. Think of this as a digital resume.
A word of caution: make sure your website is professional and appropriate, you don’t want this strategy to backfire.
3. Sign up for a free professional email address with gmail
When students start filling out scholarship applications, it is absolutely essential that they have a professional email address. Typically, this would be something like FirstName.LastName@example.com. This is the email you will want to use for everything college and scholarship related. If you use gmail to create this email address, using our next tips will be even easier.
4. Utilize Google drive for storing application materials
Create folders for each section of the ScholarPrep Organizer to store resources, digital copies, and any other documents necessary, i.e. community involvement, leadership experience, awards and honors, etc…
You can also use Google Docs to create a resume, cover letter, and write scholarship essays. Organize these into folders for easy access later.
Upload pictures of awards such as trophies or ribbons, scan in copies of certificates or newspaper clippings, and/or pictures of you completing volunteer work or extracurricular activities, then save these in the appropriate folders.
PRO TIP: Google has partnered with hundreds of programs to make your life easier. For example, if you need to email several documents in one email as a PDF, you can do it directly through google drive for FREE! You can also save a Google Doc or any other type of file as a PDF for FREE!
5. Save a digital copy of EVERY scholarship application you submit (including the application materials)
Create a folder in your Google Drive for completed applications. You can even create subfolders to organize the applications based on topic or focus.
Create a folder strictly for essays. When you start a new application, go “essay shopping” in this folder to see if you’ve already written something that will work for the application, or with a few tweaks.
BONUS TIP: You can “share” google drive folders or documents with others without emailing or printing. You have the option of allowing others to be able to just view, comment, or edit the document. This will make proofreading easier and more efficient.
6. Take advantage of all of the college-prep apps available
There’s an app for (almost) everything. Here is a list of a few of the apps/softwares/websites we’ve come across that can help you on your college-bound journey:
- Google Drive: Organize all your documents
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Calendar
- Scanner Pro: Scan in documents from your smartphone straight to your google drive
- Wunderlist: Create to-do lists
- PathSource Career, Job, School & College Search
- ACT Up – ACT Test Prep and Tutoring
- SAT Prep by Ready4
- Scholly Scholarship Database
- myHomework Student Planner: Stay on top of assignments
BONUS TIP: Create a “College Readiness” folder on your smartphone or tablet to keep all of these apps and links to websites organized.
7. Use online resources for college planning advice
Check out college planning blogs, websites, and Pinterest boards to find tips on the following and more:
- How to create a high school resume
- College essay writing dos and don’ts
- Where to look for scholarships
- How to boost your ACT/SAT score
- FAFSA and financial aid
BONUS TIP: Stay up-to-date on common requirements for applications and essays by reading blogs and tips written in the last year.
Your ScholarPrep Organizer provides you with a physical reminder for college readiness while the digital age offers resources to assist you in maintaining records and documents needed for a successful college readiness journey.
What digital resources have you utilized? We’d love to hear what “go to” website or app has led to your college success.