My 5 Best College Organization Tips
The 5 essential habits you need to adopt to do well in college (free printable planners included).
Photo by Emil Widlund on Unsplash
Between YouTube and other blogs, I'm sure you've heard how different college is from high school by now. It truly is a whole other beast. I feel like a lot of people agree that for the most part we didn't have to study too hard for tests in high school and we could take things day by day. Those habits will definitely not yield the same results in college. From high school graduation and up, life gets busier (but also more fun and fulfilling!) and you have to shift your habits accordingly.
I'd say I have a pretty good grip on organization when it comes to my academics. I made the dean's list for my college every semester so far with my GPA being a little over 3.7 and more importantly, I feel like I've produced the best work of my academic career in my past year at RIT. That being said, I hope this post is helpful not only for those of you who are going into your first year of college but also for the college students who haven't figured out habits that work for you just yet. I've included some free planners that I made for keeping track of your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that you can download if you'd like!
Here are my 5 best tips for staying organized and on top of your work in college :)
1. Utilize a calendar and a daily planner
This is my absolute most important tip. You'll get a lot of due dates in college via the syllabus that your professor may never bring up again in class. To stay on top of everything, you need to put every single assignment/due date from your syllabi into your calendar so that you can see the work you need to get done in at least the next two weeks.
Then, you can plan your work schedule backwards from there. This is a really important strategy for pacing yourself so that you're not staying up until 3 am to complete an assignment. Also when nonacademic things pop up, you have a calendar you can consult to see whether you'll be available or not.
On top of keeping your due dates in your calendar, make a daily or weekly to-do list of tasks that you need to get done so that you have a more nuanced idea of what you need to on a day-to-day level.
The planner I use by Recollections has both monthly calendars and a section for to-do lists for each day which is so perfect. You can check it out here. As I write this, there's a 30% off sale on them at Micheal's so I suggest you snatch one soon!
On that note, here are the planners I made that you can download for free! I've included 2 daily planners and 1 Eisenhower Matrix. You can download them and then upload them to any note-taking app that you use(ex. Notability, Apple Notes, or One Note) and write on them digitally, you could print them out and put them in a plastic page protector so that you can write on them in dry erase marker, or you could just print them out and write on them in pen/pencil if you'd like.
2. Take note of the grading scale
Not all classes are graded equally! You're gonna have classes where your assignments only consist of 3 exams or ones where participation and attendance are actually worth more than homework. Pay attention to the grading scale in your syllabus for all of your classes to see how much weight different kinds of assignments carry.
3. Don't do work in your dorm
You guys.... don't play yourself. Don't do work in your dorm. One second you'll be at your desk, then you're on your bed, and then all of the sudden you've taken a 3-hour nap when you had things to get done. And there are a million other variations of distracting things in your dorm room/building that will pull you away from your work.
If your university is anything like mine, there are probably a million cool places on campus where you can do work. For me, the second floor of the library and the seating area in my college are my go-to spots. I find that any place where there's a little bit of background noise and the surrounding people are also doing work is usually great for my productivity.
4. Do assignments with friends
Obviously, this can't apply to things like tests and quizzes, but when you can, organize study groups or just ask some classmates if they're down to tackle a few assignments together. Trust me, you'll have those classes where you genuinely won't have an idea of whether your work is correct or not (@Accounting). When you do it in a group you're more likely to have someone catch your mistakes before you hand it in.
5. Keep up self-care to avoid burnout
Of course, the fundamentals of self-care are widely known; take your vitamins, stay hydrated, eat well, and get enough sleep. But things like not procrastinating, saving your money, and practicing discipline are just as important for self-care.
Burnout is a serious thing in college. And for those who go to school up north like I do, seasonal depression is also very serious. You have to build sustainable habits that do will good for yourself and make your life less stressful in the long run. Don't make the mistake of thinking that things like sleep and eating habits are unrelated to your productivity.
So there are my 5 best college organizations tips! I really hope this was helpful to you! Please don't hesitate to download my cute little planners, they're completely free :) Personally, I know the Eisenhower Matrix is going to be a perfect addition to my daily planning. Leave a comment and tell me what you think of this post or especially if you have your own tips you'd like to share!