High School Papers that Should Be Saved

Question: In a recent column, you talked about how to handle all the papers that children bring home from school. My son just completed his freshman year in high school, and he wants to throw out the year's worth of papers that he brought home from his locker. Before he does this, I want to know if there are any special papers that he should keep because he might need them later on? - Want to Save

Answer: Your son should not pitch all of his papers. He should keep any outstanding papers or projects, because he might want to include them in an application for a special school or summer school program, or even college. These papers would also be worthwhile to have if there is ever any question about the progress he is making in school. Being able to compare papers from several years of high-school work can be very helpful in this situation.

Other pieces of paper that should definitely be kept are all reports from the school, including report cards, scores from standardized tests, and all awards and honors. You should keep these papers because you want an accurate record of his achievement in case any of these records are ever lost, and because some of this information will be needed for college applications.

One thing that your son needs to do this summer is start making a permanent record of all of his high-school activities. Besides listing awards and honors, he needs to include all of his extracurricular activities as well as jobs. He needs to be quite specific, as he will need this information when he is filling out college and/or job applications. For example, he should include the records of his sports teams, as well as participation in music contests and offices held in organizations.

Your son can establish his high-school history in a separate folder for each year or put it on the computer. He might want to look at college applications on Web sites to see different formats for this information.