Five Top Tools & Tips for Organized Pre-College Prep

The senior year goal post looms large on the horizon. High school will soon be in the rear view.

Or so it can seem, even if you’re a high school freshman or sophomore. Whether it’s months or years away, college life will come calling soon enough. So what now? Is there really much you can do to prepare for transitioning to college?

The answer is an emphatic yes. Read on to grab some tools to help you stay organized and de-stressed on the road to launching your undergraduate career.

Five Prep Steps

1. Take Care of Yourself

Identify and confront personal problems that seem to be interfering with your life and responsibilities as a student. That can be a tall order but sourcing guidance and other forms of help from friends, family, mentors, coaches, counselors, or anyone else you trust is the smart play. Managing potential roadblocks to academic success before you get to campus will help you get the most out of it when you’re there.

2. Hit the Books (before you Hit the Books)

Undergraduate study will throw more (and more challenging) required reading at you than you’ve encountered before. Get in shape by stepping up your extracurricular reading during high school and especially during the Summer before college. Quantity matters but so does quality—follow your muse and read what interests you. Get as many recommendations from as many reliable sources as possible, then dig in.

3. Put Aside the Books and Get Involved

According to a 2016 Harvard report, colleges can help de-stress the admissions process for applicants by de-emphasizing test scores and emphasizing real-world engagement through things like service, volunteering, work, and other activities that bring students into contact with their communities. The key is to find the right balance. If you’re not engaged, get engaged by finding an activity or issue you’re passionate about and finding out how you can get involved and make an impact. But beware diminishing returns: if you’ve got more than three such irons in the fire, you’re probably overloaded.

4. Conquer the Application Process by Imposing Order on the Chaos

The application process can become an overwhelming ordeal if you don’t get out in front of it. But once you’ve decided where to apply, you can tame the whirlwind of documents, brochures, business cards, transcripts, login accounts for different schools’ application portals, and so on, into a manageable system.

Find a system that works for you, but a simple spreadsheet can help you organize your account information and personal notes on each school, keeping it all in one place. Try using a checklist (manual or digital) to mark off each school’s application requirements as you complete them. You could also adopt the use of a project management software to keep your applications organized. This will not only keep everything you need in one place, but allow you to add a skill to your resume by learning how the software works. These and similar methods will help you keep track of what needs doing, what you’ve done, and what’s left.

5. To Work or Not to Work

The question whether to get a part-time job while in college is tricky: it can help cover day-to-day expenses beyond tuition and fees, but it can compete with your main responsibility: academic success. Weigh the pros and cons with trusted advisors and discuss financial expectations and boundaries with the folks.

There’s no shortage of stressors on the road from high school to a successful undergraduate experience. The tools we’ve covered can help you see them coming and stay on top.


Taylor McKinney is a Marketing Specialist and writer. When she is not writing about the latest tools and small business trends she is enjoying Austin’s beautiful scenery with her family. 




Help Me Learn More About My Readers

I want to thank everyone for their understanding as I am recovering from my recent partial thyroidectomy. I am still healing, but slowly getting back to regular posting to share helpful information to all of you.

I am taking things slow as I am still recovering. This is why I thought it is the perfect time to reevaluate JLV College Counseling. To do this, I want to learn about you – my readers! I have put together a survey to learn more about you. The survery will help me learn:

  • Who you are (high school students, college students, parents, counselors, etc.)
  • Where you are from?
  • Why you come to JLV College Counseling?
  • What information you want to receive from JLV College Counseling?
  • What you want to see less of from JLV College Counseling?
  • And, any other information you want to share

To help me make JLV College Counseling better,

please fill out this survey

All information is confidential and will only be used by me to learn more about what you want from JLV College Counseling. As always, I will never sell your information!

Thank you, again, for being great supporters of JLV College Counseling! I look forward to your responses!


Top 7 Things You Should Know About a Campus Before Committing to a College

Are you are a high school senior thinking about your college options? It is a big decision that you have to make. Moreover, your choice will not only affect your academic but social life too.

While it is easy to settle for a college that most of your friends are going to, you need to think critically about this. Your choice of college will affect at least four years of your life. So, what should you look for in a campus before committing to it? Read More

September 2018 DoSomething Scholarships

Do you like making a difference in your school or community? If you do, DoSomething has many campaigns to make a difference, and for participating, you will be entered to win a scholarship! Below are campaigns from DoSomething that are accepting entries in September.

Brake It Down: Take a Quiz to See How Well You Know Your Best Friend
Scholarship Amount: $5,000
Closing Date: September 15, 2018
How to enter: Take a simple quiz to see how well you know your best friend. Based on your answers, you’ll find out what kind of driver, passenger, or pedestrian your best friend is. Then you’ll receive customized tips to help them stay safe on the road! Just for taking the quiz, you’ll automatically be entered to win the scholarship. Each time you share a unique registration link, you’ll receive one scholarship entry. Unlimited entries! Read More

Scholarship Saturday – September 1, 2018

There are thousands of scholarships out there. Below you will find many scholarships, most with general eligibility requirements. My goal is to share some lesser-known scholarships with my readers every Saturday.

Don’t wait. Apply for these great scholarships today! And, if you missed the last Scholarship Saturday, check it out. There are scholarships there that are still open! You can also find scholarships on my other scholarship lists, such as scholarships with requirements based on your statemajorgrade levelethnicity, or religion. And, lastly, check out my list of scholarships with September and October deadlines.

Only brief information about each scholarship is listed. Therefore, you are encouraged to visit the scholarship websites to get further details about eligibility and requirements.

Here are 40 scholarships for Saturday, September 1, 2018. Read More