My daughter has a busy college schedule: 17 credit hours, the cross country team, work, and an honors college fall musical production. She has to do a good job keeping track of everything to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
When she was in high school, her teachers taught time management tips through a weekly planner to keep track of assignments and tests. We made sure to buy one for her to use in college.
If your student doesn’t want to use a paper planner, there are online appointment calendars, like the calendar function of Gmail, or a calendar app can help them stay on task, too. And while these are great, sometimes a concrete list or chart staring at them from their dorm room wall will create a sense of urgency a phone app can’t.
I work as a project manager, so I could give my daughter some additional time management tips to stay on top of things.
Here are some great tips to pass along to your new college student:
1. Set Goals.
This will help your student determine the things that are most important in his or her life. That way, when there are competing demands on his or her time, it will be clear what items should be prioritized ahead of others. For my daughter, studies come first, athletics come second, and earning money comes third. If other things come up, she knows she has to fit them in behind her class work, meets and practices, and her work schedule.
2. Use a Whiteboard.
If your student doesn’t already have one, purchase a whiteboard for the dorm room along with some colored dry erase markers. Your student can use this board multiple ways including as a daily calendar, as a weekly calendar, to keep track of homework assignments, or for a to-do list.
3. Use a To-Do List.
If your student has never used a to-do list before, suggest it to keep track of everything he/she needs to do. It’s easy — have him/her sit down and brainstorm about everything that needs to be done and add any due dates. Tasks like writing term papers will have due dates, while others, like laundry, won’t have actual due dates, but your student will want to know how soon it needs to be done to avoid wearing dirty socks! Let your student know that the to-do list can be prioritized any way that makes sense to him or her in order to make sure things get done when they need to.
Time management in college is an acquired skill. Students have a less structured schedule than they had in high school, and they often have more possibilities for filling their free time. With a little practice and a good system, your student can effectively stay on top of everything and make the most of the college experience.
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