Hey there! It’s back to school time and I wanted to share something that I think is important for college students, making a college binder. I know, another binder? Yes. You get a lot of information from your college during your time from when you begin all the way up until you leave and a college binder keeps all of that information in one place.
When you start at a new college or university, you usually get a welcome packet, housing paperwork and class paperwork from your advisor. Besides that, you usually get a lot of paperwork during welcome week and other activities. You probably also get financial aid paperwork for grants/scholarships/loans. Some important, some not. I suggest putting all of the important stuff in a college binder, not a regular class binder, a dedicated college info binder.
Keep the important paperwork in one place.
I decided to start a college binder mostly to track my progress throughout my degree path. Then I added career services information, tax information for my parents, and possible post-grad education paths. Anything that you think is important to your college career, you should put it in the binder.
Create it in a way that benefits you.
If that means creating a table of contents, then do that! I used regular dividers and then putting information in plastic protectors so I didn’t have to hole punch a bunch of papers. You can make it fit your organizational structure. You can order it chronologically, or whatever you think is important in the front.
Here’s what I think should be included.
Now, you don’t have to strictly follow this list, this is just stuff that I think should be important.
Your degree plan: This is what tells you what you should be taking each semester. Make sure you take the plan from your freshman academic year, that is the one that you are bound to and your advisor will reference every year. I would print each new year’s thinking that my plan had to update with it. (I would confer with your adviser to make sure.)
Any important financial aid information: Whether you’re using scholarships, grants, loans, or even not receiving financial aid, make sure you include anything regarding tuition and fees, their due dates, and the information on the aid itself in your binder.
Career information: Any information career services provide you regarding workshops or getting ready for your career, keep it in the binder. You probably won’t start getting this info until your junior year but keep a space ready for this. You can also put any internship information here.
I also wrote a post on why you should visit career services as a freshman.
Post-Grad education information: If you’re looking at going to grad school, med school, law school, or any other professional post-grad school, keep any of that information here. Even if in the beginning you’re not thinking about post-grad education, keep a section for this available and collect information, as you go on you may realize you want to.
Study Abroad information: This section is totally optional, but if you’re interested in studying abroad, then you should create a section in your binder for the information.
I suggest using a 3″-3 1/2″ binder because collecting all of the information throughout four years will require a big binder.
A college binder isn’t a necessity but I think it is important to be able to keep your college career on track and help you plan for your future.
Want more awesome college content? Then check out my other college posts for the new semester!
Related // My Advice for Incoming College Freshmen
Do/Did you use a college binder? If so, what’s in it, let me know in the comments.