Whether it's keeping track of research materials or remembering to study for a test, you need to be organized to succeed in college. For many students, academic challenges are related more to a lack of organization than to a lack of intellectual ability.
Tips to help you get organized:
Keep track of all assignments in an FSW planner which is available from the Student Life Office. Copy dates from your syllabus to a master calendar. The first day in every class, you will get a syllabus. Within each syllabus there will, most likely, be specific dates that will tell you when chapters need to be read, papers are due and any important days off. Write each of these important dates down in your planner/calendar.
Stick to a study schedule. You don't have to be specific about what classes you study for at a certain time, but have a general study schedule. If you have classes until 1:00 p.m., try to study and do homework until 4:30 p.m. and then go out and have some fun.
Use your cell phone for reminders. Most cell phones have a reminder or calendar feature. If you need to be reminded of a certain event, set the phone to remind you of the event ahead of time.
Keep certain items in your backpack. To avoid leaving something behind, like a writing utensil, keep the basics in your backpack. Pens, pencils, highlighters, and post-its are always a good thing to keep with you. Also, if you can find a mini stapler, with staples, keep that in your bag as well. Sometimes you may forget to staple a paper and the professors don't always have one in their classroom.
Take your planner everywhere. It's easier to take note of the event notices around campus if you have your planner. When you see something you might be interested in, simply take out your planner and jot down the place and time on the appropriate date.
Avoid procrastinating. Just because a paper is due in two weeks, doesn't mean you have to wait to do it. If you get things done early, you have time to revise it to get a better grade. Plus, you don't have the stress that most students have when it comes down to crunch time.
Pay attention to what the professor says, writes down, or emails your professor may change dates around.
Learning to schedule enough time to complete an assignment may be difficult for you. Even when students have a week to do a project, many won't start until the night before it's due. Learning to organize time into productive blocks takes practice and experience.
Tips to help you manage your time:
Get -- and use -- a calendar. It can be a paper calendar. It can be your cell phone. It can be a PDA.
No matter what kind it is, though, make sure you have one.
Write down everything. Write down everything in one place. Having multiple calendars just gives you more to do amidst an already tight schedule. Schedule when you plan to sleep, when you are going to do your laundry, when you're going to call your friends. The crazier your schedule gets, the more important this becomes.
Schedule time to relax. Don't forget to schedule in time to relax and breathe. Just because your calendar goes from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. doesn't mean you can.
Keep trying new systems. If your cell phone calendar isn't big enough, buy a paper one. If your paper one keeps getting torn, try a PDA. If you have too many things written down each day, try color-coding to help simplify. Very few college students make it through their programs without some kind of calendaring system; keep trying until you find one that works for you.
Allow for flexibility. Things inevitably come up that you weren't expecting. You may not have remembered that your friend’s birthday is this week, and you certainly don't want to miss the celebrations! Leave room in your calendar so that you can move things around a little when needed.
Plan ahead. Do you have a large research paper due the last week of the semester? Work backward in your calendar and figure out how much time you need to write it, how much time you'll need to research it, and how much time you'll need to pick your topic. If you think you'll need six weeks for the entire project, work backward from the due date and schedule the time into your calendar before it's too late.
Plan for the unexpected. Sure, you just might be able to pull off two papers and a presentation during midterms week, but what happens if you catch the flu the night you're supposed to be pulling the all-nighter? Expect the unexpected so you don't have to spend more unplanned time trying to fix your mistakes.
Schedule rewards in. Your midterm week is a nightmare, but it will all be over Friday by 2:30. Schedule a fun afternoon and a nice dinner out with some friends; your brain will need it, and you will know that you're not supposed to be doing anything else.
Sometimes students fall behind in college and fail to hand in assignments because they simply don't know where to begin. Prioritizing tasks is a skill you will need throughout life, so it's never too soon to get started.
Tips to help you prioritize:
Write down all the things you need to do, including non-school-related activities
Decide which tasks will take more time to complete
Avoid over-committing your time. In order to get the most important tasks completed well, it may be necessary to make fewer obligations to campus organizations, friends, or other drains on your schedule. Learn how to say no.
To concentrate is to direct your mental powers or your efforts towards a particular activity, subject or problem. Whether you are practicing your practicing your speech you are about to give or studying for a trigonometry test, it's important that you work on schoolwork in an area with limited distractions and interruptions. Concentration strategies require practice.
Tips to help you concentrate:
Turn off access to email and games when you work on the computer
Create a working environment that is conducive to studying
Ensure that all materials you will need for your study session are present
Develop realistic goals for each study session
Decide the order in which you will complete the necessary tasks
Most students say they want to do well in school, yet many still fail to complete the level of work necessary to succeed academically. Motivation is considered to be one of the most significant factors determining success or failure in college or in any other undertaking.
Tips to help motivate yourself:
Produce some realistic, concrete career goals that are appropriate to your abilities and interests. Keep in mind that your short-term personal goals may often be in conflict with your long-range educational objectives.
Relate present academic work to your future career goals. Having meaningful educational goals is the key to having positive academic attitudes.
Spend time with others already in your profession to reinforce your plans. Find part-time and summer work that relates to your chosen field.
Decide what grade you want in each course and then record your progress. This makes your studying more purposeful and identifies which courses need extra study time.
Often what holds students back from trying is the fear of failure or the memory of a time they didn't do well. You can help break this cycle by celebrating your successes, no matter how small, and by giving yourself opportunities to succeed academically.
Personal Growth and Development
Besides doing well in your courses, Florida SouthWestern State College has many resources to help you change your life for the better. Through campus involvement, workshops, DVD’s, or personal mentoring, Florida SouthWestern will help you develop the skills you need to succeed in school and to succeed in life. Check your campus to see what resources are available.
Click on a link below to learn more about about the services available at each campus.