Steps to Organization in College

One of the most important things you can do as a college student is to be organized. Organization is how you stay on top of your assignments, know when a test is coming up and to study for it ahead of time, and will overall positively impact your experience throughout your four years (and your GPA will thank you for it, I promise).


There are many things you can do to ensure your organization and keeping your life together. When you are disorganized, you are more likely to feel stressed often and study for your tests at the last minute. These factors obviously will take a toll on your educational experience and make you feel like you are drowning in school work or that you can never catch a break.


While the four years you spend in college will definitely be jam packed and always one thing after another, it does not always have to be so stressful and depressing! Here are ways to make sure you are staying organized in college and saving yourself unnecessary stress.


Buy a planner

  • I will swear by a planner until I am dead and gone. A planner will help you to keep track of your upcoming assignments and tests, and when you check it every day, you can be sure that you will not forget or miss out on homework or studying!

  • After every class, I write down any announcements that were made that day or if there is an assignment due for next class. If I know there is an exam coming up or a presentation, I will put it in the monthly calendar in the planner so that every day, I can keep track of things that are coming up throughout the month.

  • There is no better feeling that seeing there is a test coming up and having enough days ahead to study for it. Let’s face it, cramming never got us anywhere we truly wanted to be, and it is known that studying every day up until the exam will greatly increase your chances of getting a good grade.   

  • Planners are not only useful for academic reasons, but they are great for friendly dates, job interviews, birthdays, or whatever else you need to remember! If you look in your planner and see that your friends birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, now you have enough time to go buy a present or plan something for them rather than forgetting and remembering at the last minute when there is no time left!

  • Buy a good planner, the one with a monthly overview and agenda for every day within the month. Whether it is small or large, whatever works for you will help you either way! You will easily get into the habit of writing in your planner and checking for upcoming dates the more you use you, and you will see a difference in your educational experience.


Have a different notebook for every class (and use a notebook to take notes!)

  • Studies in research shows that a student retains more information from handwritten notes during class over typed notes. You will be more likely to remember the information without studying if you had taken notes by hand rather than if you had typed the notes on your computer during class. By typing the notes, your muscle memory is being used and the words you are typing are not being encoded into your brain, as they are when you handwrite your notes.

  • In terms of organization, you definitely want to get a different notebook for every class that you need to take notes for. There’s nothing worse than having the notes for all of your classes in one notebook and not being able to find certain topics because everything is so disorganized.

  • My recommendation is, for every class that you have, buy a notebook that is a different color for every class so that you are able to differentiate between your classes and over time, you will learn the colors that match with each class. This helps me greatly in knowing that I’m bringing the right notebooks to the right class and knowing that I’m taking notes in the notebook that is dedicated solely to that class. It will help you later to study easier and find notes that you’re looking for quickly!


Do not use one folder to store all your handouts

  • Everyone knows that one student in their class that, whenever they are looking for a certain piece of paper, pulls out a large, stuffed folder that they use to put every single piece of paper they receive in. Do not be that person! You will never find the paper you are looking for and anything remotely relevant to your studies will get lost and forgotten.

  • Although it seems like having a lot of supplies, the best thing to do to stay organized with sheets of paper is to have a different folder for every class. I recommend the note binders that contains several folders and note paper. I use this note binder for all of my classes since there are usually five folders that come in it, and it’s easy to have one thing to carry around that contains all the papers I need for classes, but separates the classes from each other. So I am still organized, but am able to condense the things I need.

  • It’s not difficult to stay organized once you adapt to different organizational skills, and you will start to see the changes in your lifestyle, your stress level, and your educational experience and performance!