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Using Planning to Stay Organized in College

Steps you can take to help stay organized in college

  1. Keep a planner, or a planner app. During the school year, use a planner to track classes, assignments, remember passwords or social plans. Keep it with you. During the school year, always have your planner on-hand. That way, if you get a new assignment, make plans with friends, or have to schedule a doctor’s appointment, you can write it down immediately before you forget.
  2. Save all your syllabi. This is so important. If your professor gives you a guide to what your entire semester is going to look like, don’t lose it.
  3. Have a system for taking notes. It does not matter what kind you use – Cornell notes, color-coded scribbles, or Word Notebook – just make sure that you have a system and stick to it. It will make it easier to review notes later on.
  4. Set your own deadlines. If you have two essays due on the same day, vow to finish one of them on a different date; for example, a week or three days before it's due. This will mean that you have to get started earlier, but it also means you will not have to scramble to finish all your work at the same time when your actual due dates come around.
  5. Give each class a color. Each of my classes gets a distinct and separate color like blue, red, or green. Match all of your binders and notebooks for that class to that color, so that they are easier to find and grab when I am on the go.
  6. Keep binders, folders, and/or notebooks for each of your classes. Everyone is different, but binders are the easiest to organize papers for classes. Find out which one(s) work best for you and then do your best to keep them organized.
  7. Figure out your most productive time. Figure out what time of the day you are the most productive. For some people it is in the early morning before breakfast; for others, mid-afternoon, or late at night. Find when you get the most work done and try to optimize that time for productivity and work.
  8. Sleep enough. Sleep is so important! Try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a day, depending on your age and preferences, which will help you stay alert and happy during the day.
  9. Meditation/yoga/exercise/mindfulness/prayer. Find something that makes you feel connected to yourself or your spirituality. Mental health is so incredibly important, not just for being organized, but for being a balanced and happy person. Take care of yourself!
  10. Go easy on yourself. No one is perfect, and it can be incredibly difficult to stay on top of everything in your life. Do your best, but remember if you mess up, it is okay to make mistakes. All that matters is that you are trying.

The RI Educational Opportunity Center is a TRIO Student Support Services program funded by the US Department of Education. Send comments and suggestions about this website to ndkatzman@ccri.edu.

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Last Updated: 6/2/17