College Organization 101: 4 tips for organizing in college

Leaving for college is a really big change. Your surroundings, your responsibilities, and your schedule get completely altered. Moving on from high school to college is intimidating, and for most, the approaches taken in high school won’t work in college. Not everything that works for some will work for all, but here are 4 tips I use that help with some general organization in college.


1. Write down your professors’ office hours and keep them in eyesight:

If you’re an incoming freshman, you’ll soon learn that every professor will give you a course syllabus which includes topics you’ll cover throughout the semester and important dates for things like assignments and exams. However, these syllabi will also list your professors’ office hours. I go to school with 30,000 other people and some of my lectures are hundreds of students, so making a one-on-one connection with my professor can seem difficult. So, if you want to make that connection, or if you have a question that needs answering, office hours are the place to do it. More often than not, professors are excited to talk with you because they’re passionate about the course! I know it can seem intimidating, but your professors want to talk to you, it’s their job.



2. Visualize your tasks with planners:     

My cousin taught me this last year and I still use this approach everyday. Using a wall calendar is practically sacred to me. Every year, I buy a large wall calendar (Target and Staples usually have some affordable ones) and I hang it on the wall above my desk. So, a second tip is to take all of the dates from your course syllabus, and write them on your wall calendar. Sometimes it’s hard to think to look at your daily planner if it’s stored away in your bag, so having a big wall calendar kind of makes it hard to not see what you have to do.


3. Color coding is basic, but it helps:

For me, biology is green, French is pink, politics is blue, and English is orange. Life in college is already really stressful and complicated, so it’s easier to decipher between courses if you assign each one a color. It’s also easier to mentally switch between subjects when they visually look different. For example, when I study politics, I always edit with a blue pen. Writing a due date on your wall calendar in the color you assigned it helps a lot. It is somewhat hard to explain, but colors evoke a mental feeling about a course and helps you prepare to study.


4. Check. It. Off.

At the end of each day, crossing out that date on the calendar helps me track how far I’ve come through the month, what tasks I’ve finished and how many days there are until I have another task to complete. I find that checking things off when I finish them takes the weight off my shoulders and I can feel proud of what I have accomplished.


A lot of these things may seem obvious, but it helps to know that there is someone out there that these approaches work for. College is a stressful, intimidating, but most importantly, it’s an exciting time! It only helps to have one system of organization to make some things feel constant.

Sources 1, 2, 3, 4