I’ve got to apply for my undergraduate degree 1 year from now, and I thought organizing all the application information to do with the colleges I’m interested in applying to would be a good idea.
I’ve been using Emacs for a couple of years now, and I’ve used Org as a markup format often. However I have not used the “PDA-like” abilities of Org much, and have never used either the Zettelkasten method or org-roam before.
I have 2 main questions I would like to answer:
Is the Zettelkasten method a good fit for the task?
What would be the best way to model or achieve this with the Zettelkasten method and Roam?
Since what I want to do is something that may have a huge impact in my life, I don’t want to do the usual Emacs (or more generally Linux) thing of configuring Emacs for majority of my time, and then scrambling to do my work at the last minute (or not getting any work done). I would like to start immediately without much delay, which is why “How To Request” is so specific and niche.
For each college I want to apply to, I would like to maintain the following:
- The College Application Procedure(s)
- Documents and certifications which are needed for the applications
- College info on dual degrees and minors
- College Housing
- Fees structure and break up
- Financial aid available from the College
- Application deadlines
- General information about the College
- Probably more info
I would maintain my own notes on the steps in the “CAP”. More significantly, a college may have multiple ways of applying, and I necessarily need to track all the procedures and deadlines associated with them because each method may have a different chance of acceptance.
I need to have a list of the documents I need to apply. More info on how I would like to manage them below.
I would primarily like to study Computer Science, but if possible, I would also like to major in Mathematics and potentially minor in Physics. I need to maintain info on the allowed combinations and changes to the CAP and Fees.
I would like maintain info on the rules on college housing, whether it is provided, the various options if provided (and their variation in price), and info on alternatives (opting out).
I would like to know how much studying in a College will cost in total, as well as a break up of that cost, along with a structure on how payments will be made.
I need to know what financial aid I am eligible for from the college, and what is the grant range, along with its average grant amount.
This may potentially lead to another “class of notes” on Finance, with info on private scholarships and student loans.
I would like to maintain on which dates applications open and close.
I need to maintain general info like the country a college is in, medium of teaching (of the degree I opt for), average acceptance rate, as well as some trivia like date of founding and other random things.
My setup needs to be able to include new information that I choose to include. I would also like to have all the info on a College in one org file, but I am willing to compromise (I may not be able to have my cake and eat it too!).
Additionally, I would like to maintain some notes on specific documents and certifications.
Eg: SAT results, and Language Certifications. For each doc I would like know the following:
- Where I’ve got it saved (most likely a path in my computer)
- Which colleges and/or countries depend on it
- The deadline to procure a document (which is the deadline of the first college to need it)
If my doc depends on an exam, I also need:
- Exam application procedure
- Exam centres accessible to me (probably a list of hyperlinks)
- Exam dates and frequency
- Personal notes about the exam
- Probably a lot more info
Some information is common between colleges because they are in the same country or similar. For example to apply to the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and University College London, I would have to apply through UCAS, and submit common documents to each College (and if I’m lucky to the British Government). I would like to maintain pages on common application procedures (UCAS) and be able to find documents which are common because of British regulation without explicitly mentioning them in the College information.
Note: I will flesh this section out later if this post has good reception
I would like to have 2 general nice to haves:
- A good way to present, export and analyze my info (eg: view my deadlines with Org-Agenda or another Calendar, and run scripts on them.)
- Templating to make adding new Collges/Docs/Common Info easier and faster.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m unsure whether org-roam would be a good fit. I do know hierarchically organizing this info will be very difficult. I plan to include many colleges, 25 at the very least, even if I don’t finally apply to all of them. So, my setup will have to be able cope with large volumes of data. I have 1.5 yrs before I need to start applying, which is why I am confident I can complete all of this. Of course this info has to be easily editable via Emacs and tracked by git which is why I am checking out roam.
As time progresses I think I will add more complexity and I expect my system to be able to manage that. Like I mentioned, I will also need a good way to present my data, and export them (to college specific checklists in a pdf) because I will need to share this data with other non-Emacs users.