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How do you organize all high school and college info?

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I have a soon to be 10th, 9th, and 8th grader (among others) that I am trying to stay organized with? I am looking for ideas on how to keep myself orderly for the next 4-8 years! Right now I just have a big binder with page dividers for each child and pockets that I keep shoving stuff into. But it is quickly not working!


I have everything in there....from my 4-5 year planning sheets for each child, local community activity ideas or contact info, course descriptions from past years and ideas for future years, community service hours records, umbrella school handbook and record sheets, dual enrollment info for 1-2 years away, college brochures of interest, and tons more....


I'm sure I'm overthinking this (I always do) but I also need some inspiration...


So how do you organize the high school years? Binders? How do you divide the tabs? File folders? Accordian Files? Do you organize per child? Per grade? Per subject? Per college?


(BTW, I'm not talking about any of the actual work that my kids produce. For that we have porfolios we assemble each year for each child so that is easy.)


So, inspire me!


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I am not an organizer, so here is my non-organized way that has worked for me....


1) In the middle of every year. type up a course description for each class. Why the middle of the year? Because any online or CC classes may take the class descriptions down near the end of the year! So get those course descriptions while they are available.


what do I mean by course descriptions? A general description of what was covered, the teacher, texts and resources used, etc. I do not finalize these at this point. These care just so I know what was covered and I have the info available when I actually write the course descriptions in the fall of senior year.


2) Stick all class work in a box. I use binders to organize the material by class, but it is not VERY organized. I have yet to actually use this material for anything, but it is in a box and if I need it it's there.


3) Start a transcript. Grab a form from somewhere and enter some info. Once you have one for your oldest, you can easily adapt it for your younger kids, so the first one is the time-sink. I have had to use transcripts for such things as summer programs, registering for community college classes, etc. It's nice to have one that reasonably up-to-date that is easily accessible.


4) Keep a record of outside activities, volunteer work, and honors. (You'd be surprised how easy it is to forget the major 9th grade achievements by senior year!) For volunteer work, remember to list dates, location, and activitiy. You can summarize this stuff later, but you need a complete list.


DO REMEMBER to keep track of what your kids do during the summers. Colleges sometimes specifically ask for info about what the applicant did during each summer.


For this random info I have used a variety of things -- a index card box with cards for activities, an ongoing list on the computer, and a sheet of paper that I stuck in a notebook where I keep random important pieces of paper. How you organize them isn't important -- a list on a whiteboard that can't be erased would do. Just keep them somewhere!


5) I keep a random notebook for each kid where I stash College Board scores, random transcripts and grade reports, any information or articles or programs from events, etc. This is usually bursting by senior year, but I know that EVERYTHING I have been given that is relevant to a particular child is in that notebook somewhere!


Obviously, I am not the Martha Stewart of organization. I put the info into "pretty" form during the kid's senior year. But the key is to have the information in a form that you can access when you need to create those records!


And do remember to back up your computer! Honestly I would rather lose everything on my computer rather than my kids' academic records that are on there!

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I suggest you move from hard copies to electronic copies. Most college applications will be filed using computer based systems email, common app, so on.


Next, begin to write class descriptions now! Do not save this for the summer before senior year. Use what you have in your binder to help you begin. 

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THanks Gwen in VA, your post is timely for me. I totally forgot DS won a medal at a foreign language contest, and he has the certificate crumpled up in his closet or backpack somewhere. Need to pull those sorts of things out, and I hadnt thought of that stuff at all until reading your post!

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We keep a records notebook divided into grade levels; i.e. 9th, 10th, etc.  Each section includes spreadsheets with grades for each subject, reading list for the year, and a list of all music performance and recitals with pieces played.  We keep programs and awards in the pocket of the notebook.  All spreadsheets and lists are in grade level files on the computer.




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I keep all records on the computer. I have a folder for each student and each semester. This is what goes in:

At the beginning of each year: write up curriculum outline, listing planned coursework and resources.


During the semester: keep monthly time logs (required by state), keep running list of field trips, reading list.

File major assignments, tests, lab reports, performance programs in portfolio.


At the end of each semester: type up summary of coursework completed. Include textbooks and TC lectures used, documentaries, live performances, projects and major writing assignments, main list of topics covered, list of labs, important extracurriculars.


At the end of the year: write tentative course description based on the semester summaries. Update transcript file.


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