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The college application process can be overwhelming.

You may worry about which colleges to apply to, how to complete numerous applications and essays, if you will be accepted, and much more.

Keeping college information in a spreadsheet can help you stay organized and calm during this stressful time.

Google sheets tools -- such as data validation -- make things even simpler for you.

In this extension, you will learn how to use data validation to keep track of your college applications and ensure you turn in everything on time.

Data validation controls the text or other value that is entered into a cell.

To begin, go to Google Drive And open your spreadsheet.

You may have already included a column for application deadlines in a previous extension.

If not, take a few minutes now to research the deadlines for each school.

Add that information in column G.

If you don’t have time to research all of the schools on your list right now, that’s okay.

Find the information for three of them, and then continue.

You can always go back and fill in the rest later.

Now, to the right of that column, type the header “Application Status.”

Make sure it's bold.

This column will indicate whether a college application is not yet started, in process, or submitted.

However, rather than typing in this text over and over again, you will use data validation to create a pull-down menu with the three options.

This provides a clear visual way of tracking your application progress.

Next, select the entire column, and choose data validation.

Select “list of items” as your criteria.

In the field, type the different application statuses that you want to appear in your pull-down menu.

Separate them with commas.

Then save.

Use the pull-down menu to update your progress on each application.

Notice that the header has an error message.

This appears because the data validation was applied to the entire column, including the header.

To fix this, click the first cell in the column, and select data validation again.

Remove the data validation from the column heading.

Nice work!

Now you can save time and keep your data organized when tracking your college applications.

Data validation also can be helpful for quickly and easily indicating whether or not a particular major or degree is offered by the colleges on your list.

Practice adding it in those columns as well!

Now, it’s your turn: Go to Google Drive, and open your spreadsheet.

Insert a new column for “application status.”

Apply data validation as a list of items.

And, remove data validation from the header row.

Choose an extension
Research and Sort Important College Deadlines

Add information to your spreadsheet about regular admission deadlines.

Add a New Sheet for Application Requirements

Add a new sheet to your spreadsheet to organize required application materials for each school.

Filter Colleges by Degree Type

Narrow down your degree choices to focus on the colleges that offer the degree you want.

Clarify Information by Splitting Text to Columns

Split text from one column into two columns to clarify and better organize details in your spreadsheet.

Keep Track of College Applications with Data

Learn how to use data validation to keep track of deadlines for your college applications.

Share Your College Spreadsheet with Others

Change permissions settings and share your spreadsheet to get feedback from others.


Choose an extension video to change the content, structure, and goals of your spreadsheet.