5 Tips to Stay Organized This Semester

As the weather gets colder and the semester gets rolling, homework, assignments, and projects start to pile up. It’s inevitable. Before you know it, it’s the end of October and you have not read a single chapter out of your textbook which your midterm is solely based off of, you have so many articles to read that you got confused and read all the wrong ones, and three papers for three different classes are due in the same week. This is why college students live off of coffee and no sleep. We have no choice, but we do have the ability to do our best. However, we can’t do our best if we have no idea what we are doing. So, to help you out, I put together five of my favorite ways to stay organized throughout the semester! 


1. Get an academic planner!

    It might sound a bit old school, but my planner is truly how I stay somewhat sane. Academic planners are a great way to keep organized by keeping important information about assignments all in one place. Plus, they almost always have extra pages where you can write notes and ideas, and you will always know where they are. Also, planners allow you to compare your work schedule or weekend plans with what is going on at school. I color code my planner so I can visually see what I have going on and stay on top of it the best I can. 


2. Keep all of your syllabi together

    Choosing a folder where all of your syllabi stay is a great way to know exactly where they are so you can utilize them to their full extent. I find it helpful to always have them with me so I can refer to essay guidelines, double check dates when signing up for due dates for other assignments, and know my professors’ office hours.


3. Use an accordion folder for readings 

I prefer to read articles on paper versus on a screen. So if you are like me-- a tree killer--having a folder where you can sort them is a great way to keep organized. When I print articles out I write what class the reading is for and the due date at the top. I keep readings for the week in one folder, and after class, I file them into my accordion folder. At the end of the semester, I recycle most of them (as you should), but having them all in one place until then is great for when you need to find a quote for a paper or review any notes you may have made while reading.


4. Organize your files on your computer

Every semester, I create folders on my desktop for each class I have. Within those folders, I make sub-folders for each week or unit, or sometimes per assignment depending on the class. If you hate printing hard copies of articles this is a great alternative. You can download readings or save documents in the folder that corresponds with its due date. It’s also helpful to put the date something is due in the title of the document, especially if you are consistently doing responses for a class every week. You could even store everything on Google Drive and make folders there. 


5. Create a due date calendar

    By far one of the best ways to stay on top of assignments is with a due date calendar. I use my academic planner as a due date calendar in a sense because I write when major assignments are due or when exams are, but I also keep track of appointments and my work schedule in my planner. So, having every single homework assignment written out would just make it look insane. Thus, I like to create a calendar each month where I only write due dates for classes and include all readings and small assignments due as well. It’s a great visual way to see what you have to do for each week, and it helps you prioritize. I highly suggest color coding it by class and creating a key so you don’t have to write out what class each assignment is for.