The main tip for preparing a college application, whether online or in paper form, is to start early. Other tips include developing a timeline, getting all information gathered ahead of time, and keeping copies of all applications.
Most resources offering tips for completing college educations recommend starting early. The goal is to produce an excellent application that best highlights the student's achievements, and that takes time. It's recommended that the application be prepared several weeks in advance of the deadline. To that end, creating and keeping to a timeline is important.
Keeping organized is key. College applications typically require a lot of information related to family, transcripts, honors and extracurricular activities. Prior to starting the online application, students should gather all this information. Likewise, U.S. News & World Report recommends keeping a spreadsheet of potential colleges that includes information about that school's requirements as well as the stage of the application process.
Another tip is to keep copies of any letter, essay answer or other information required on college applications. Likewise, BigFuture.com recommends only submitting online applications once. If there is no confirmation email, students should contact the admissions office rather than submit the application again.
No matter the application method, students should keep both an electronic and a paper copy of all applications completed. They should also maintain a filing system for all the required paperwork.