Saturday, May 22, 2010

How To: College Preparation Binder

It has been much too long since I have posted, but I have a feeling that this is how my blog will work for the time being. I am extremely busy at the moment, and the following "How To" is something I had to do in order to organize my life, even if just a tiny bit.


How To: College Preparation Binder

I've had the outstanding privilege of spending almost every waking moment of the last few weeks (and it will only get worse) gearing up for my college education. In doing so, I have accumulated stack upon stack of important date notices, testing information, post-it notes with reminders, and college packets received in the mail.

I literally reached my breaking point when I had to toss everything onto my floor just to find the last of the written school notes that I have yet to put in their appropriate binders as of yet. I decided that I needed to do something about the mess, or I would become even more insane.

With that, I devised the following plan, it has saved my sanity, I swear it.

What You Need:
2" (at least) 3-Ring Binder
Hole Punch
Five 3-Ring Binder Tab Dividers (pockets optional)
Notebook Paper
All Papers Regarding Schooling (senior high, on) (explained below)
Tape (optional)
Marker/s (optional)
White or Printer Paper (optional)


1.) Gather your 3-ring binder and tab dividers. For a binder, I highly recommend Staples' Better Binders. They are incredibly durable which means that they last for a very long time and can really take a beating. They are a bit on the pricey end, but very worth it. I bought a few three years ago for school and they lasted through two years of locker-torture and are still in great shape now!

Place the tab dividers in the binder.

2.) Place several pages of unused notebook paper at the very front of the binder. This will be helpful if you need to quickly jot something down (Ex.: FASFA form due by Feb. 15th).

You can then choose to place that piece of paper into it's proper section or leave it there to file later on.

3.) Organize all of the papers related to schooling that you gathered earlier into the following categories:

High School
Important Testing, Scores, and Transcripts
College Research (Financial Aid and Scholarship info, Preferred Schools, Tuition Prices, etc.)
College Information (Information you receive from schools)
Necessary/Confirmed Information (Shopping Lists, Acceptance/Rejection Letters, Confirmed Financial Aid, etc.)

4.) Hole punch all papers that are not already.

5.) Place each category of papers behind a tab divider. A tab divider with included pocket may be helpful for the College Information section as some packets or pamphlets that you/your child receive may be awkwardly sized for hole punching.

6.) This step is optional. Whether or not your binder is viewable (has a pocket on the front for a piece of paper), you may want to label the outside of the binder.

On a piece of white or printer paper, write "College Preparation Binder", or anything to that effect. You can be as creative as you like or not at all in decorating the paper. Either slide the piece of paper into the viewer or tape it onto the front of the binder.

Tip: You could keep a pencil pouch in the front of your binder to hold pencils, pens, sticky flags, post-it notes, and paperclips.
Tip: Quickly jot your notes down on a post-it note, then place it in it's correct category by sticking it to the back of the tab divider that lays in front of the category.
Tip: Place a 3-hole punch especially made for keeping in binders at the front. Anytime you have a new paper to add, all you have to do is grab the binder and everything you need is in it.

What You'll Find in My Binder:
Notebook paper

My school folder and information (I'm home schooled through an online program)

 A copy of updated transcripts from my sophomore and junior years
My ACT Admission Ticket and Proof of Payment
Original Fee Waiver for ACT tests
Proof that I received the ACT Prep Guide
Paperwork for state I.D.

List of college deadlines (application dates, FASFA deadline, etc.)
Loan information
List of websites that provide scholarship information
List of preferred colleges

All information received by mail from colleges

Shopping List (what to stockpile, what to buy once living on campus, etc.)
As you can see, I am preparing well in advance for simple things such as what I need to buy. I am also keeping a hold of some things I may never need, like the proof that I received my ACT Test Prep book (620+ pages, woo hoo). I would just rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it.

I originally put this together using a 1" binder (pictured at very top), then realized that it was definitely not big enough. I am only about a month into starting the college frenzy, so I may end up needing a 3 or 4" inch binder, or maybe even multiple binders.

With this system, you can easily organize your or your teenager's high school and college information and then easily know where everything is if you were ever to need it.

Let me know what you think of this system, if you already use one like it, or if you would make any changes to it! Maybe you though of something that I did not!

Thanks for reading!

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Anonymous said...

Jennifer, thanks for visiting my blog!! Hey, I love this idea, since Im a college student! It's pretty cool to be able to