Organization is essential for preparing to apply for college and scholarships, but it is also one of the most important life skills to develop in high school.

Note to Parents:

Keep in mind is that the organizational system that works for you is not necessarily the system that will work for your student.

Note to Students:

Don’t be afraid to try different methods. If you start off using a paper planner, but find that you frequently forget to keep it updated, try a method that you can update directly from your phone instead.

TIP: Find an organizational system that works best for you so that you can continue to use it after high school.



  • Wall-sized calendars
  • Annual calendars and planners
  • Google calendar
  • iCal

Filling Systems:

  • ScholarPrep Organizer
    • We recommend using a ScholarPrep Organizer for keeping important documents and application materials organized into the appropriate sections, but we may be a little biased 🙂
  • File folders
  • Accordion folders

BONUS TIP: As you are preparing for college, there will be many files and documents that you will need to save electronically. This makes it very important to have a well-organized digital filing system. Create folders on your computer to keep this information organized.

Reminders and Task Lists:

  • Note cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Large bulletin boards
  • Whiteboards
  • Any digital calendar reminders


Here are some tips to help you make the most of the organizational system you create:

Use To-Do Lists

This is a great way to make sure nothing is forgotten and crossing items off the list creates a sense of accomplishment.

Set and Reward Goals

Write down and review goals each month! Don’t forget to celebrate when goals are reached – this will keep you motivated and excited throughout the planning process.

Have a Catch All Device

Avoid missing deadlines and forgetting important information by writing things down immediately and then filing/scheduling later.

Do It Now

Procrastination can drain your energy and create extra stress. Get into the habit of tackling tasks immediately.

Need a Checklist for setting up your College-Prep System?

Let us know in the comments what your organizational system looks like. Have you tried different methods? What worked? What didn’t? Do you have any other tips to share?

How to stay organized while preparing for college applications