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So, you’re looking for organization tips? We’re happy that you want to start your first semester with a bang. 

The key to a great first semester and reducing your stress is staying organized. Since we know college is very stressful, we put together some useful tips to help you stay on track. 

When I asked some of my friends for organization tips that have helped them since their first semester, the most common response was “planning things out” — and I couldn’t agree more.

Get a planner 

I know planners can be hard to keep track of, but it’s worth it! A planner from Walmart, Target, or even Walgreens will only cost you about $10 and can be a huge help. Plan ahead – jot down your academic schedule, assignment due dates, workouts & sleep hours, etc. Over time, this small habit will be one of the greatest attributes in your time management skills. 

Every minute counts

When midterms and finals come around, you’ll probably be running around trying to make time for everything. This is when setting alarms and reminders come into play. 

Use your phone’s alarm and reminder apps to schedule your wake up/sleep time, upcoming assignments, exams, and events. Similar to planning your day out, use your phone to remind you of social activities. Alarms/reminders are a great way of staying organized throughout your daily schedule, so you don’t forget your most important tasks. 

You can make your phone work alongside your paper planner to keep track of all of your responsibilities. Both things together will keep you organized and help you remember what’s coming up next. 

Organize your belongings the night before classes 

What better way to stay organized than to pick out your outfit and packing your bag the night before? Getting in the habit of doing this will save you time in the morning. Who knows? You may become one of the few people who have the pleasure of getting extra sleep!

If you’re having trouble following this tip, consider choosing a spot in your dorm room where you can place your backpack and outfit. Then, take 5-10 minutes to put all the things you’ll need for the next day of class there. Eventually, you will become an expert at organizing all of your belongings the night before class. 

Separate notes by class

This one is easier said than done. Many times when students start a new semester, they hold high expectations for how “organized” they’ll be during the new semester. However, eventually, they fall off the wagon. But if you stick to this tip, this won’t happen to you!

Separating your notes by class will give you a better chance at staying organized throughout, not only your first semester but your college career. Whether you prefer using notebooks, binders, or looseleaf — be sure to keep each class separated in some way. If you keep up with it, you’ll be an expert note separated in no time. 

After having your notes organized and ready, the next big tip is…

Take good notes

There are a ton of tips on how to better organize your notes. Nonetheless, two particular tips always worked for me: 

  • Tip #1: Add the date on the header of each page. This will come in handy whenever you need to study for a test or reference any notes. 
  • Tip #2: Highlight everything. Seriously, highlight everything. By highlighting key terms and phrases, you have a better chance of finding these notes when in need of them. 

Not everyone is the same, and what worked for me might not work for you. That’s okay! It’s just a matter of you being open-minded about making new changes until you find the method that works best for you.

Now that you know all about staying organized, we hope you feel more prepared and ready to take on your first semester. You’ll be an organized student in no time!

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.