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Tips on how to stay on top of your college workload.

Updated on March 5, 2012

Organization is the Key to Success

I found as I go through my second year of college that the most important thing you need to be is organized in order to be successful in college. My first year I never wrote anything down and relied only on the syllabi given by the teachers. I found myself getting stressed out because I didn't plan ahead of time on how I was going to do my assignments. I would look at my syllabus and find that there is a huge assignment due the next day and I would end up literally having a panic attack because I was unprepared. My work ended up being sloppy and my grades suffered. As I started my second year in college I knew that something had to change. I decided that I needed to be more organized. Here are some tips that helped me out and I hope that they can help you as well.

Tip #1: White Board

The first thing I did was I went out and bought myself a white board also known as a dry erase board. You can find one at almost any store that sells school supplies. I personally got mine from Target. I bought one large enough so that I could see it from anywhere I was in my dorm room, so about 20in by 16in in size. I then drew a grid on the board that had five columns and seven rows (depends on how many classes you have). In the first row I wrote the titles of the columns, which were column 1: class, column 2: assignment, column 3: due date, column 4: exam content (or number), and column 5: date of exam. In rows 2 through, in my case, 7, in column 1, I wrote the titles of my classes and the time and days when they occurred. This way I would never be able to forget when and where I should be for those classes. I have yet to miss a class! The rest is pretty simple. Once you get a list of assignments and test dates you should write them in the appropriate spot. This way you always know when your next assignment is due and how long you have to complete it. This allows you to be ahead of schedule giving you time to do whatever you want with your spare time. Procrastination is your worst enemy in college, so don't wait too long to start those assignments! If you want to go the extra mile you can even choose a different color for each class and color coordinate your assignments. It might make it easier to see which assignment goes with each class.

Tip #2: Calendar

Another thing that might help you keep your assignments organized would be using a calendar. You can either buy a calendar or you could print one off the internet for free. You can do this by going to Google and typing in "free 2012 calendar" or whichever year you need. I personally printed one off because my school offers free printing services in the dorm. Once you have your calendar you can gather your syllabi together and write all of your assignments and tests on the calendar. This keeps you from forgetting an assignment. I found it extremely helpful to cross off the days as they pass and to also cross of the assignments that I have finished ahead of time. I can clearly see how many days I have until an assignment is due. It would be a good idea to display your calendar in clear view so that you don't forget that you have it. Right now mine is posted on my door. That way I see it every time I go to leave my dorm. Another helpful tip would be to use bright colors so that it will catch your eye.

Tip #3: Post-It Notes

I always found it helpful to use bright Post-It Notes to help organize what I need to do in order to prepare for my next test. I post them on my door so that they are in view. On each Post-It I write which chapters I need to read and all the other materials I need in order to study. Once I'm done reading those chapters I cross them off so that I know what is left to do. It might also help if you use Post-Its to remind yourself of other things you need to do that week, say "call work for next weeks hours" or "go to grocery store, out of milk". This can help you get your life organized as well as your school work.


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