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While in college, there will be times when you’ll have a lot of free time on your hands, and there will be times when 24 hours just won’t feel like enough. 

To find common ground, you’ll have to optimize your organizational skills. Whether that means planning everything in advance or simply color-coding your classes, it’s totally up to you. 

Read below to learn about the many ways you can stay organized throughout your college career.  

Turn each of your syllabi into a paper planner

One easy way to stay on top of your A-game is by putting everything in a planner. I don’t know about you, but when I use a digital planner, I barely open the planner to track my assignments. If you think you have the same problem, try using a paper planner. 

If possible, consider creating a poster-like paper planner for each syllabus. Title each poster (per class) and arrange it in a way that works for you. Be sure to include dates for quizzes, tests, homework, etc.  For a poster-like planner idea, check out the post-like planner example I created for you below.

If paper planners don’t work for you…

What works for me might not work for you, and that’s okay. Aside from using a paper planner, you can also take advantage of the many planning apps out there

Staying organized sometimes takes a village, especially if you have a ton of exams and assignments coming up. Many recognize the crucial impact staying organized has on students’ college careers.  For this reason, many people have introduced various tools students like you can use to track their class assignments and plan their daily schedules. 

You can use anything from google calendar to planning apps such as Planner Pro or Pocket Schedule Planner. Be sure to input your daily routines and class assignments/exams, and you’ll never miss an assignment. 

In little to no time, you’ll become a “planning pro.” Which means you’ll have enough time to get assignments done on time and watch at least one episode of your favorite TV show.

Trick your due dates

This one comes down to mind games. As students in general, we tend to procrastinate until we have to cram assignments at the very last minute, like submitting a 10-page essay at 11:59pm when it’s due at 12:00am. This tip might be easier said than done, but hear me out…

If you push back all your assignment’s deadlines to at least 3 days in advance, you probably won’t have to stress the night before it’s due.

Here’s where it gets a bit hard, you’ll ultimately know the real due dates. So, it’s up to you to “program” your brain into thinking the deadline is 3 days before. Consider entering all altered due dates on your mobile devices, and soon, you’ll get in the habit of getting things done way ahead of time. 

Color code your classes

Pick a color and run with it. Designate a color for each of your classes. For instance: Biology could be green, and math could be blue. 

Aside from color coding each class, consider using a highlighter to color code your notes from highest to lowest priority. The top priority color could be red, and symbolize test and/or project-related notes. You could highlight your lowest priority notes (for less relevant class topics) in green or whichever color you prefer. When you’re done taking notes, you’ll always be able to go back to it and revise what’s a high priority.

Why should you try this? Not only is it an excellent note-taking strategy, but you’ll also be able to find your notes easier. Finding your notes promptly will allow you to study concepts that require your immediate attention, such as high priority notes.

Mark the necessary pages to read in each textbook

Don’t forget about your textbooks. Many college professors take topics for quizzes and tests directly from textbooks. 

Please try to avoid becoming one of the many students who spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks, they’ll never open again. Get your money’s worth by using your books to study.

This tip is not really about avoiding missing an assignment, but more about being prepared when assignments and exams come around. 

Be on top of your game by marking the pages you should read after each class session. For example: Search and mark the pages that contain information related to the topics your professor recently covered. Although textbooks are unnecessarily expensive, you have the opportunity to go over each topic with examples that will help you better understand the content. There’s a good chance that what you study from the textbook will be entirely on your next quiz or test. 

Follow whichever tip(s) works best for you. This list of tips should help you stay sane when your daily schedule is all over the place and/or when midterms and finals come around. We don’t expect each tip to work for you, but it’s worth the try. We hope you never miss an assignment by using at least one of our suggestions. 

We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.