How To Get Organized for the College Search

by Sandra Foyt on August 22, 2011

in Enrichment Ideas

Now that my teen is entering her sophomore year of high school, it’s time to get serious about college visits.

We started exploring campuses a couple years ago, with casual visits to MIT, FIT, and Columbia University. Those were great for helping her get a sense of what to look for; but now that she is entering the high school home stretch, she is actively looking at schools that might be “the one.”

Problem is that there are lots of colleges that could be “the one.”

Over the next couple of years, we will be touring as many campuses as we can, collecting information and impressions that will help her make this important decision. But I’m afraid that when it’s time to choose, all that data gathering will end up in a huge pile of glossy college brochures and our impressions will be one big mush in our heads, with each school indistinguishable from the other.

Question: Which school’s team is the Bruins – heck, what are bruins? And who boasts the Anteaters?



The Problem: We need a way to easily organize our college visit impressions.

The Solution: AboutOne.

About One–Family Management System

About One is a secure, online family management system that can corral all your records.  Video tutorials explain how to get organized and how to declutter using its digital filing system and more. You can sync all your information with its calendar, address book, document filing, and reporting tools!

What can you do with AboutOne?

If you can imagine it, you can do it. AboutOne’s technology magic automatically creates family newsletters, hardcover photo memory books, paper greeting cards that mail themselves, health and education summaries, caregiver information sheets, home and vehicle maintenance summaries, alerts and reminders, and more. And new features are being added everyday, with an iPhone app scheduled to unroll this summer.

It’s overwhelming to think about going through all my documents to organize school records, health records, vehicle records, home records, and who knows what else. But the cool thing about this program is that you can do a little bit at a time, and it’s as easy as automatically importing your email address list or sending an email.

I started by setting up a family member account for my daughter, and we uploaded photos and notes from our most recent college visits. Now, she can create a memory page while on a college tour by emailing her photos and notes directly from her smartphone.

When she goes back to school, she can gradually upload important documents and add records to her personal and private Education History database.  Then, when it’s time to write college essays or fill out scholarship applications, she can view this information as reports or scrapbook pages.

College Prep Tips

Here are a few more ways to get organized for college application success:

  • School records – Track classes, teachers, and grades, noting outstanding class achievements that might be worth mentioning when asking for teacher recommendations.
  • List activities – Record activities and offices held, and note insights, achievements, and milestones that may be worth including on college essays or scholarship applications.
  • Community Service – Keep track of community service hours, but also record achievements and insights. Ambitious community service projects, such as those that earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, require a lot of planning. Keeping a scrapbook record of this as you go along will make it that much easier to draw on this when writing those college application essays later on!
  • College Essays – Engaging college essays are years in the making; professional college advisors tell students to start collecting anecdotes and essay material as early as 8th Grade. Keep an ongoing digital scrapbook and use it to jumpstart the memory banks when it’s time to write the essay.

Is AboutOne right for your family?

The best way to find out if AboutOne will work for you is to sign up for a FREE TRIAL.

The 17 day Free Passport gives you 17 full days of usage with no expiration date (requires no credit card information). Use each of your 17 days whenever you like. If you decide to sign for the AboutOne Yearly Plan, it’s just $30 per year for full access to great features that not only organize your documents but also let you easily create and send custom invitations, newsletters, and more to your personal contact list.

AboutOne Back To School Giveaway Contest and Prize Details

One grand prize winner will be chosen at random from all entries across all blogs to receive the following prize: $500 AMEX gift card and an upgrade to a free subscription to AND a $250 donation to the school of their choice.

All other entries will receive an email with a code for 25% off a one year subscription to

Mandatory contest entry:

  • Sign up for AboutOne free trial (absolutely no credit card info required.) Note you must sign up for the free trial through this link to be eligible!
  • Fill out the entry form:


This giveaway ends September 9th at 11:59 p.m. ET and is open to U.S. residents age 18 or older.

Disclosure – I have been compensated by the Global Influence Network for participation in this program; experience and opinions are entirely my own.

| Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email:, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

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