College Search Spreadsheet – New and Improved!

Published by Wendy Nelson on

College Search Spreadsheet 2As my middle daughter and I get organized for college application time this Fall, I have been revising my College Search Spreadsheet template to be useful throughout all parts of the college choice process:  college search, college applications, and college selection.

If you haven’t been through the college search process before, or if you have, but you need to be more organized this time, you will find a college search spreadsheet to be a tremendous resource!

The new and improved FREE College Search Spreadsheet template has two tabs.  The first tab can be used for the initial identification of potential colleges for your student all the way through the college application process.  


I have added columns for the following:

  • Middle 50% ACT/SAT – You can usually find this somewhere in the Admissions section of the college website or under “fast facts” or something similar.  It will be called something like the profile of the prior year’s admitted students.  If you can’t find it, look the school up on a college search website like, although the information may not be as current.  It is helpful to record this so that you and your student know where he or she falls for admissions and potential merit scholarships.
  • Middle 50% Class Rank – You may be able to find this in the same spot as the middle 50% ACT/SAT scores.  Again, helpful to know where your student falls against typical admitted students.
  • App Type – Does the school use the Common App or do they have their own app?  Can it be filled out online (most can these days)?  Is it “either/or” with Common App or school app?  These answers should be readily available in the Admissions section of the school website.
  • Application Opening Date – Is there a date when the application is first available to fill out?
  • Application Deadline – Record the deadline or deadlines for applying to the school.  Many schools offer more than one deadline, so make sure to record the one your student is shooting for.  An Early Application, Early Action or Priority deadline is usually preferable because your student will have a better chance for competitive academic programs and scholarships.  If nothing else, shoot for the early deadline and if your student cuts it too close, there’s always the regular deadline.  If a school offers a deadline called “Early Decision,” make sure you do your homework on what that means!
  • Admission Decision Date – What date does the school notify applicants of the admission decision?
  • Essay Requirements – What does the school require for application essays?  Are there several?  Are there specific topics?
  • Recommendation Letters – Does the school require recommendation letters?  If so, how many?  Can these be teacher or counselor recommendations, or is one or the other required?
  • Interview – Is an interview required or recommended?
  • Fee – Is there an application fee?
  • Test Scores – What scores need to be submitted?  If ACT scores, is the writing component required?  Are any SAT subject tests required?  Is the school test-optional?
  • Other Application Requirements – Are there additional application requirements?  Basically all schools require official transcripts so you can either list that here or leave it as assumed for all schools.  There may be additional components like portfolios required for specific majors.
  • Does Major Need to be Declared – Many schools require the student to declare a major on the application.  Sometimes they can declare first and second choice.
  • Requirements & Due Dates for Scholarships Separate from Admission Application – Is your student applying for scholarships that require a separate application?  Make sure you record the due date and requirements for these.

The second tab of the College Search Spreadsheet works in conjunction with the first and is meant to be used after college applications are submitted.  I will go into more detail on that tab next week, but in a nutshell, it helps you compare costs for all schools where your student was admitted.

To download the new College Search Spreadsheet template, select one of the links above.