It’s the start of a new school year! You may be attending college for the first time and are feeling a little overwhelmed by the newness that freshman year brings. Maybe this isn’t your first semester, but it’s your first time buckling down and deciding to be the best you can be this semester in your classes.
Regardless of where you stand, you’ll realize rather quickly how important staying organized in your college classes is to your college success. Time management is key in managing your school work, social life, and everything in between. Being a college student is definitely different than being a high school student!
If you are not sure where to start, I’m here to help. I’m sharing 14 of the best tips that will help you determine the best way to stay organized in your college classes.
Why You Should You Get Organized
If you are not a natural organized person, you may not realize the benefits of getting organized. It’s a refreshing feeling to know that you are on top of everything when it comes to all your classes.
Here are some of the benefits of getting organized:
- Increased productivity/time management
- Reduced stress levels
- No missed assignments or other important things and due dates
- More time spent with friends and doing other things you enjoy
All of these benefits make the college experience much more enjoyable. Next I’m sharing my top tips that will help you get your classes organized.
14 Best Ways To Organize For Your College Classes
While at first glance some of these tips aren’t about organization for your college classes; staying organized in multiple areas of your academic life will help navigating classes, and much easier.
Use a white board calendar
This is a great way to see the monthly view of what is coming up. It doubles as a decoration and a needed organization tool. I really like the ones that have a cork board as well. I use that section to put any encouraging notes from friends or sticky notes with things I need to remember.
On the dry erase board you can put pretty much anything you want on it. Whether you just want it to be used for classes, or you want to make it a more general calendar.
One thing that I would recommend is to use color to distinguish between things like your academic life or university life and other tasks/events. This can look like separating your classes into different colors, or even separating academics and social events/commitments into two different colors.
Use a digital calendar and a physical planner
Two planners may seem excessive, but hear me out. What if there is a day that you left your paper planner in your dorm room on a day where you have a full class load. Having a digital calendar/planner helps in these situations.
Now if any of your professors announces any test dates or important dates for a project, you’ll have a dedicated space to put it. I would recommend reviewing both your digital calendar and physical planner at the end of each day to make sure they are both updated. It may be helpful to set an alarm on your phone.
Keep all of your notebooks separate
I know it may seem simpler to just buy one notebook and separate your classes throughout it, but it’s actually the opposite.
Doing it this way makes it easier to get classes and homework assignments mixed up. It’s a much better use of your time, and mind, to have a separate notebook for each class. It also helps in the long run because you won’t have to worry about running out of space and into another class’s section of the notebook..
Digitize your notes
It has been proven that writing down your notes helps with memorization. For this reason I believe it is best practice to hand write your notes, especially if you have different color pens.
The disadvantage of this is that it can be easy to forget your notes when you need it, or even easy to lose them. For this reason I recommend taking the time to digitize your notes. You can do this in different ways. Just find the one that works the best for you.
Keep your dorm room organized
This may seem unrelated to your classes, but it actually has everything to do with them. When your space isn’t organized the disorganization can seep into other areas.
Having a clean space makes it easier to locate your books and other course materials you may need for class or homework. This is essential on those days where you are running behind and need to find something at the last minute.
Pack your bag the night before
Along with keeping your room organized, packing your backpack the night before comes in handy on those late mornings and busy schedule.
At night when you are in study mode your mind is more focused and clear. This is a great time to get ready for the next day. Figure out what classes you are going to and what you’ll need for them, then simply pack your bag.
Use separate profiles on Google Chrome
This tip is also a great productivity hack. By using a profile for school and a profile for free time/other areas of your life it keeps both your digital space and your mental space organized.
By having a specific place for school work/study time you get into that focus mindset and are less likely to give into distractions. You can also put website blockers on distractions like social media and streaming sites.
Organize your to-do list by class
This is helpful for determining which assignments and exams are the most important for that day/week. If it’s Tuesday afternoon you’ll want to pay more attention to your Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes than your Tuesday/Thursday classes.
Creating to-do lists based on your classes will help you determine where to start.
Color code your notes
Color coding your class notes isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, it’s an effective way to stay organized in your classes.
There are various benefits to color coding your notes. One of the more obvious reasons is being able to locate something in your notes quickly. This saves time while you are studying for exams.
Block off study days for exam prep
As you have most likely found out, you find out when exams are at the beginning of the semester with all of your class syllabi. It’s a good idea to go ahead and mark the days before your exam for study time and exam prep.
This way you won’t get caught off guard when the exams come up. You’ll know not to schedule anything else on these days ahead of time.
Organize Your Digital Work Area
Much like having your physical space organized helps you with your classes, so does your digital space.
This book has great tips about digital organization. I recommend going through key things like your bookmarks, files, Google Drive, and downloads on a regular basis to stay organized and prepared for when you need to be on your computer.
Determine A Productivity System That Works For You
There are a plethora of productivity systems and tools that you can use to help with assignments and studying. The key is determining which one(s) works best for you.
Some examples of these productivity tools are the Eisenhower Matrix, Eat The Frog, and Time Blocking. Once you’ve determined the one that works best you’ll be able to streamline your time studying and getting assignments done.
Get Some Sleep
An organized mind is a rested mind. Sleep is vital for staying organized and focused in your college classes. College may be known for all nighters, but that doesn’t mean it has to be.
It’s recommended that college students get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This will help you stay alert when it comes to college classes, studying, and more.
Determine A Weekly Set Up Day
There is a lot that goes into having a successful academic week. I recommend having one day of the week, I usually pick Sunday, to review the upcoming weekly assignments, events, and more that will be happening.
This will help you go into the new week with confidence and expectation of how the week will go.
In Summary: What is the best way to organize for your college classes?
I hope that these important tips help you feel confident and ready to take on the new school year! The best way to organize for college classes is the most effective way what works for you. Try out these different methods in combination with each other until you find your flow.
When you start the semester all organized for your classes you are giving yourself the best chance of academic success throughout the year up until the end of the semester.
Are there any tips I missed? How do you get organized for college classes?