Top 10 Ways to Stay Organized in College

Written by: Lindsay Shugerman

August 29, 2011
Filed Under Education, Self Help 

Tags: ,

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Starting college is exciting, scary, wonderful and confusing. And sometimes overwhelming, especially when it comes to staying on top of assignments, laundry and your social life.

But with a little planning and the right tools, you can keep it all under control. Here are our top 10 tips for staying organized in college.

10. Have a calendar in your room

Maybe it seems old-fashioned in these days of handheld everything, but an old-fashioned wall calendar at your desk is critical to organization in college. The size, location and viability of a wall calendar makes it the best tool for staying on track with projects, exams and big events.

9. Have a second calendar with you

This is where your smart phone or tablet can come in. Or you can use a paper planner. Either way, make sure it’s small enough to carry with you every day…and then do it!

8. Record it right away

One of the best ways to stay organized in college is to make it a habit to record every deadline, assignment, or event as soon as you learn about it. Jot it in your phone or planner, then copy major deadlines and such to the large wall calendar as soon as you get back to your room.

7. Use folders

Get a stack of file folders and use them to hold papers on your desk. Label one for each project, then tuck research, handouts and other items you need for that project into the folder.

This simple habit will save you from late night searches through stacks of papers – a huge time and stress saver!

6. Take a stapler to class

Many professors will give out papers during class. As soon as you receive that paper in class, staple it to the notes for that day. Not only will that prevent papers from being misplaced, the notes that go with the paper will be right there when it’s time to study.

If you use a laptop or tablet to take notes, keep one paper notebook with you to store handouts. Date the page, and staple the handout to it. That way you’ll know which handouts go with which notes on your computer.

5. Read the syllabus

All too many college students forget to read the syllabus in detail. That can lead to missed deadlines and forgotten assignments. A key to staying organized in college is to read it, enter the important dates into your calendars, and staple it into your notebook.

4. Record grades

As soon as you find out how your professor will handle grading, record it somewhere. If it’s four tests and two papers, note that and leave a blank space for the grade next to each. As you receive grades, record them. That way, you’ll always know where you stand, and when you have to address a too-low average in a class.

3. Work backwards from due dates

As soon as you know the due dates for your major papers and projects, sit down with a calendar, record the due date, then start working backwards. Figure out when your rough draft needs to be done, when your research needs to be done, and when your topic has to be finalized. That timeline will tell you when to start on each project.

This tip may keep you from ever having to pull an all-nighter!

2. Use reminders

Once you have due dates and dates for the steps in your projects, use computer reminders to stay aware.

1. Set priorities

Of course, you want to have fun in college. But you also want to be back next year. So set your priorities. Make sure you have time for social events, but take care that a last minute invitation to go out doesn’t override your study or project plans.

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