Your child has been accepted to college! Now what to do with the paperwork left over?
Our high school senior had been admitted to college & accepted the offer. The months of essays, applications, FAFSA’s and scholarship applications are mostly behind us. The reams of paperwork from other schools can start to be shredded & recycled. As a Professional Organizer, the releasing of these papers that are no longer necessary is a heavenly moment.
Albeit, a short-lived one.
Almost as soon as the college decision was made, we started receiving information from the chosen institution. Small items at first — an acceptance letter, welcome card, a note from the dean of my son’s chosen major. “That’s a nice touch,” I think to myself.
Then it hits. The summer before his Freshman year, he is receiving information about all facets of his new college life. Add to that, we go to orientation and attend a few sessions separately. Now we both have pamphlets & flyers we’ve collected.
Mine are from sessions like “Succeeding in College”, “Finding Your Faith Home at School”, and “Handling Finances at College”.
His... “Intramural Sports”, “Greek Life” and “Best Dining”. Okay, okay, I am exaggerating about these titles. However, you get the point.
We now have lots and LOTS of paperwork. Some important. Some not. Lots redundant. For fear of missing a deadline or opportunity, we kept nearly everything in a nice reusable grocery bag (also given by the institution, in school colors, of course).
As the summer came to a close, we began packing his things & looking for the “important” papers. And then I had a minor tantrum. Don’t worry. These happen often to me when there’s just too many piles of ‘stuff’ (paper, clothes, you name it).
I was determined to cull through the bag and see what we truly needed. As I began to sort everything into categories, it became clear that we had both received many of the same catalogs, pamphlets, schedules, etc. In this case, it was simple to place the extras aside for recycling.
The sorting continued and categories began to form. Ahhhhhh! Serenity at last!
The categories I created are listed below. I prioritized the sections in order of need. “Calendar” came first, so we arrived on the right day for move-in and classes. Little things.
After “Calendar”, came “Housing”. A priority since he has to have a place to live. In this case, I took apart the large catalog about dorm life and 3-hole punched it to keep everything in one place. The “Housing” section includes everything from his exact mailing address to dorm room dimensions to checklists of what to bring and what NOT to bring to campus. As we were furnishing his dorm, this information was incredibly handy.
The remaining sections are listed below. Yours may be slightly different, but this should help provide some structure to the paper monster.
We left the binder with our son. A big deal for a control freak like me, but it is time to let go. Seeing that his binder cover is a color-coded class schedule, I have full confidence he is ready.
My husband and I said goodbye to our son, and went on a date.
But stayed one more night in a hotel nearby.
Just in case...
Techy Option: Almost all of this is available on the university’s app; however, material specific to the student is not. The binder gave us one central place for everything. When my son is looking for something, I can always say, “Have you looked in your orange binder?”
Very Techy Option: Parents, Evernote is a great app to store the necessary contents of this binder, so you have it at your fingertips.
Founder, Professional Organizer, & Empty Nester
Sections created for binder:
Calendar (school calendar versus student class schedule)
FYS — First Year Studies, required for new students
Schedule — Class schedule and any notes from his counselor
ID’s — Nothing that would compromise identity, but needed nonetheless
Info Specific to Major
Map of University