Looking forward to your freshman year of college can be thrilling. But don’t make the mistake of getting so wrapped up in your excitement that you forget to prepare adequately. Set the stage for a successful college experience by getting yourself organized now. Here are five organization tips that will set any soon-to-be college freshman up for success.
If you’re a procrastinator by nature, you’re more likely to get sucked into chaos when college application time rolls around. Different institutions have various application deadlines and admissions requirements. There are transcripts to send, recommendation letters to submit, essays to write, and the list goes on. Failure to keep all of this information straight could result in missed deadlines. If this happens to you, you may find it necessary to settle for a college that isn’t the best fit for your academic goals.
Fortunately, a college admissions consultant can enable you to stay organized and on top of things. They can help you track admissions requirements for the various educational institutions on your list. They can also assist you in identifying and meeting application deadlines for your preferred colleges, whether you apply early decision/admission or go the standard route. Many students reach out to an admissions consultant during their sophomore or junior years of high school. This gives them time to map out their academic future and boost their likelihood of getting into the college of their choice.
A college course catalog is a veritable cornucopia of knowledge, with intriguingly titled classes offered in all — or at least most — departments. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for college freshmen to be ultra-optimistic about how many courses they can handle per semester. It’s good to be confident in your academic capabilities, but not at the expense of your physical or mental health. If you overload your schedule, you’re more likely to get burned out, become disorganized, and suffer from poor grades.
Most academic counselors recommend that students sign up for no more than five three-credit courses per semester. A heavier academic load than this could pose a significant challenge, especially if you work while going to school. By creating a manageable course schedule, you will avoid biting off more than you can chew. You’ll have an easier time staying organized and devoting sufficient time to each course’s workload.
Procrastination, as the old saying goes, is the thief of time. It’s also a very common trait among young college students. After all, there are new friends to meet, social events to attend, and your campus to explore — homework can wait, right? Not if you want to keep your grades up, it can’t. Before you start pulling all-nighters to write last-minute papers, invest in a time management app to ensure you stay on top of what needs doing.
Fortunately, there are many such tools available to help you stay on track in college. Some of the best time management apps for college students are free, though many also include paid versions. When searching for the app that’s the right fit for you, consider what features you want. Some apps include only basic scheduling capabilities, which may be sufficient for some students. Other apps offer extra features such as digital notes organization, to-do lists, and task prioritization.
Juggling multiple class textbooks, assignments, and due dates can be challenging. If you don’t keep class information separated and organized, you could end up missing assignments and negatively impacting your grades. Stuffing class handouts, notebooks, and other pertinent information loose in your backpack is a great way to guarantee confusion and pandemonium.
One easy way to organize school materials by class is to create separate class binders. Do this at the beginning of the school year to get started on a tidy track. If you prefer to keep digital files on your computer, it’s easy to take that route, as well. Create a folder for each term and maintain subfolders for each class. Within your class folders, create subfolders for handouts, notes, due dates, and other documents so you can locate them easily.
Many overwhelmed college students tend to work on easy assignments first and save larger, more difficult assignments for last. The desire to tackle easier tasks first is part of human nature. The problem with the “quick wins” method is that those tougher tasks won’t simply go away. Undertaking behemoth projects at the last minute won’t give you sufficient time to give them the attention they require. And that can lead to unhealthy levels of stress and subpar grades.
If you prioritize easy projects at the expense of the larger, more time-consuming ones, it’s time to change your approach. Start by breaking your large assignments into more manageable chunks. This simple step will turn that monster project into a series of much easier tasks. Schedule time to work on those smaller chunks throughout the week. When your big assignment comes due, you’ll be relieved that you finished it piece by piece instead of trying to do it all at once.
Learning how to stay organized is an essential skill for up-and-coming college freshmen. When you master this skill, you’ll have an easier time making the grades you want and avoiding burnout. By using these organization tips, you can get the most out of your rapidly approaching college experience.