6 Tips for Taking Control of Your Time in College

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time management

For many of us, college is a time with more unstructured time than ever before. Having the flexibility and independence to design your schedule can be exciting but also a little daunting. Navigating this change in pace and responsibility can be done! We’ve put together a few tips that will help you take charge in managing your time while in college.

1. Have a Plan to Keep Track of Tasks

Whether you prefer a handwritten planner, using an app, or a combination of both, it’s essential to have a designated place to track tasks and dates that remains consistent. Here are some excellent apps that will help keep your task list organized:

2. Set a Schedule and Stick to It!

Make sure to schedule a time to study, get eight hours of sleep, and personal time to take care of yourself. Try to stick to this schedule as much as possible until it becomes a routine. 

Practice creating your own college schedule with our Time Management Activity!

3. Communicate with Professors and Supervisors Ahead of Time

If you know weeks in advance, there will be a time conflict (you have a doctor’s appointment at the same time as a class, for example), let people know. People are far more likely to be accommodating than you might think, especially if you give them plenty of time to make other plans! 

Use this Important Dates Worksheet to organize all of your important dates into one place.

There is no exact way to manage your time because everyone works differently but, figure out what works for you. Keep these things in mind, and remember not to take on more than you can handle. We are only human students and can only do so much!

Ashley G, College Forward Student

4. Minimize and Plan for Distractions During Study Time

Find ways to make sure you’re utilizing your study time free from distractions. Light exercise before studying, setting tangible study goals each session and finding a regular “study spot” where you can always go, and music can help focus. A proven method for effective concentration, called the Pomodoro Technique, is 25 minutes of focus followed by a 5-minute break.

Watch this brief video for more information on the Pomodoro Technique

Use this Tomato Timer to keep track of your time while using this technique.

5. Divide and Conquer

Creating a study group can significantly help your ability to study and retain the information from your classes. Utilize your professor’s office hours for more guidance and direction on assignments.

Check out these 7 Tips for Making an Effective Study Group from Stanford University.

6. Explore Energizing Ways to Use Your Free Time

What helps you feel refreshed? Is it exercise? Being outside? Hanging out with friends? Reading a book? Explore what activities during your free time help you feel the best and make time for those things. 

Try out some of these tips for Study Breaks & Stress Busters from Cornell University.

For more insights, check out our blog post on Managing your Time in College written by College Forward student and Summer Bridge Member, Ashley Garcia.

Next Steps

Now that you have learned some strategies for managing your time, let’s explore what professionalism in college looks like.

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