how to stay organized in college
Productivity and Organization

How To Stay Organized In College: 5 Simple Strategies To Adopt

Is your school life a mess? Sometimes you don’t know where your notes are or when an assignment is due or when your next class is coming up? Sometimes we tend to be like that, but the key to succeeding in college or university is being organized. We are not going to talk about how disorganized your closet is but you are going to learn how to stay organized in college.

For some people, it’s really easy, while others have a hard time trying to keep up. The key here is to just start and towards the end of the post, I’m going to share with you 2 habits to adopt that will make you consistent with your organization strategies.

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Why Must You Stay Organized In College

It might seem cliche, but you have to stay organized in college. Why?

stay organized in college

You’ll develop time management: You might not know, but being organized can help you save loads of time that can be used to do something else. You don’t have to search for your notes constantly because they are always kept in this place or in this folder.

You don’t feel overwhelmed: When all your tasks and events are all laid down on your calendar and to-do list. You’ll know exactly what to do each day, and once you’re done with all the tasks for the day, you’ll find time to sit back and relax.

It’ll reduce your stress levels: Organization drastically reduces your stress levels. If everything you need to do is all laid down, you’ll know exactly what to do next instead of having to constantly rack your brain about the deadline for a particular assignment.

It’ll improve your grades: While being organized is not directly linked to better grades. If you are the type of person who sets a study schedule and follows it religiously, you’re more likely to have better grades because you organize and prioritize your tasks and give time to studying.

How To Stay Organized In College

1. Use A Calendar

I cannot stress how important this is. It is very important to use a calendar to set events happening throughout the semester. Not only does this help to keep you organized, but it helps to know what time and days that you are free so you can set impromptu events that occur at random.

I use google calendar to keep all my classes, events, club schedule, assignment deadlines, mid-terms and any other event I have planned out for the semester. Here are some things you can include in your calendar:

  • Class times
  • Assignment deadlines
  • Club schedule
  • Meetings with anyone
  • Part-time job hours
  • Payment due dates

If you want to set recurring events in your calendar, like a class schedule, you can check out how to set recurring events on google calendar.

There are other calendars like Outlook and ical that you can use for your schedule.

Here is my google calendar schedule from a particular semester:

stay organized in college

2. Have A To-Do List

While having a calendar can help you keep track of events, to-do lists help you keep track of tasks. Examples of events are:

  • Meeting with professor 
  • Class schedule
  • Meeting up with Nosa at the coffee shop

Examples of tasks are:

  • Drafting an essay before the meeting with your professor
  • Checking out if all notes are up to date before going for a class
  • Writing down questions you want to ask Nosa at the coffee shop
  • Cleaning out your room
  • Taking out the trash
  • Preparing meals

I hope you get the point. Tasks do not really need a time and a place attached to them. They are just small things you want to accomplish that day.

You can use a to-do list app like “tick tick” to set to-do lists on your phone. Or if you prefer using the physical method, you can get a bullet journal or sticky notes (which are my favourite) to help you keep track of your tasks.

READ MORE: 10 Best Study Techniques For College Students

3. Organize Your Class Materials

If your lecturer gives digital PowerPoint notes or handouts, you can easily organize them into folders by having a specific folder for each class. You can use storage services like google drive, drop box, one drive and so many others. I use one drive to store everything that relates to school. This way I know exactly where to go if I’m looking for something.

You can also store these materials in your computer file so you can access them when you’re offline. If you have physical notes and handouts, a binder will come in handy to store everything or a file envelope.

4. Organize Your Backpack

You could be using a backpack or a briefcase or anything you feel like using when going to class. A good organizational habit to adopt is organizing your backpack a night before your classes the next day. 

You may need your calculator on Monday, but not on Tuesday. So it’s better to remove things you’re not using and put things you are using in your backpack. This helps to remove the unnecessary clutter.

You can also set the things you have to put in your bag as a to-do list, so you don’t forget.

organization strategies for students

5. Organize Your Notes

Taking notes in class is crucial for active learning. But how do you organize your notes? You can have one note for each subject, but I don’t see this as effective. 

Have one or two notes for your whole entire courses, then when you’re done, you can scan it and save it in specific folders in Evernote. All you need to do is create folders for each of your courses in Evernote, then after each class, scan the notes you’ve written and save them to specific folders.

You can easily read through these notes when doing an assignment or reading for a test, instead of having to flip through millions of pages. If you think this method might not be suitable for you, you can use binders or file folders to keep track of your notes.

READ MORE: 7 Simple Tips On How To Achieve Your Academic Goals And Dreams

organization strategies for students
How to stay organized in college

Stay Organized In College With Weekly Planning And Review

Starting all these organization tips listed above is easy, keeping it going is the hard part. There are two habits you need to adopt in order to continue these organization strategies for students.

  • Weekly Review
  • Weekly Planning

Weekly Review

After the week is over, take a look at all the tasks you said you would accomplish for that week, see the ones you completed and the ones you didn’t. Unexpected things are definitely going to happen, so you might have spent a long time completing your calculus assignment than you expected and because of that, you couldn’t go to the gym.

After pointing out these things, tweak your schedule. If you originally set 1 hour to complete assignments, but you find out that you spent 3 hours completing those assignments, tweak your schedule and see how you can rearrange the tasks you do depending on how much time you spend.

READ MORE: How To Start A Semester Properly: 5 Easy Tips For Good Grades

Weekly Planning

After observing where you need to tweak, set your schedule for the next week. You don’t have to assign time yet, you can just write down all the tasks you wish to complete by the time the week is over. 

These two habits can help you stick to your school organization schedule and it only takes less than 30 minutes!

Final Thoughts

When starting out a new habit or a new way of doing things, it is easy to fall out of place and go back to what your brain regards as comfortable. But if you really want to stay organized in college, you can try again and again if you fall out of habit.

How do you organize your deadlines, tasks and school work? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, share this post with anyone that might benefit from it

how to stay organized in college

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