Going to college requires a lot of time and dedication. It can be stressful. There is just never enough time in the day but to be successful in college, you need to manage your time wisely. The key to success while in college is to never fall behind.
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Buy an academic planner with a monthly and weekly calendar. Record all important dates in the monthly calendar – academic, social, and personal. In the weekly calendar, plan daily homework and break up large projects into more easily managed tasks. When planning, always give yourself extra time to complete a task. If you have a large research paper due at the end of the semester, plan it in your schedule by working backward from the due date. Figure out how much time you need to write, research and brainstorm the topic.
Plan everything – when you plan to sleep, do laundry, go to the grocery store and remember to schedule time for yourself to have fun or relax. You should also leave room in your calendar to move things around in cases of unexpected events.
You don’t have to buy an expensive calendar, just make sure you get into the habit of using it. A cheap pocket calendar or wall calendar will suffice. Google Calendar is another great option because it’s online and accessible from anywhere you have access to the internet, even your smartphone. Try to use only one option so that you aren’t spending time managing your calendars and if one type of calendar doesn’t work, try a different one.
Pre-class Reviews and Taking Notes
By reading your books before class starts, you’ll get a better understanding of the topic the teacher will be discussing. This will allow you to concentrate on things that weren’t discussed in the book or give you a better idea of anything you would like the teacher to clarify. If you don’t have time to read the whole chapter, at least try to make time to read the chapter summary.
Take lots of notes while in class or when studying, highlight important information in your books, and/or get in the habit of regularly making note cards. Doing these things during class or right after will prevent you from wasting time trying to recall the information later when it isn’t as fresh in your mind
Study Time Management
Always plan study time. Planning a block of study time in your calendar is the best way to stick to your schedule. If you don’t plan it, it’s not as likely you will do it. Planning will also help you stick to the allotted amount of time in your schedule instead of doing the bare minimum.
When studying, remove all distractions. The school library is often a great neutral place to study. Also consider using tools to block websites that are common distractions, such as Facebook. You can use something like RescueTime to determine which sites you waste most of your time on and Leechblock for Firefox, which is a Firefox plugin that will let you create block sets of websites you want to block during specific times.
Cut Back on Your Social Life
As much as you probably don’t want to, you’re going to have to learn to say no to friends when they ask you to go out. Keep in mind how much school costs and what you risk by getting bad grades, or worse, failing a class. It’s not worth a poor academic record and lost tuition. Always keep in mind the “big picture” of why you’re in school in the first place. The short-term sacrifices you make now will help you better realize the long-term goal.