The Complete Guide to Effective Time Management for College Students

The Complete Guide to Effective Time Management for College Students

Proper time management for college students shouldn’t be underestimated. This is because often, it means the difference between success and failure. While good time management increases your chances of graduation, not having a proper schedule decreases it. On its own, college is time-consuming. But what if you’re working as well? What if you’re married or a single parent? 

Read on to learn tips and strategies that’ll help you better manage your time. But first, recognize the common obstacles making time management difficult.

Three Aspects that Make Time Management for College Students Difficult

College is intense, especially if your personal life is also hectic and demanding. Here are three factors that make it difficult to manage your time.

1. The Demands of Your College Courses

In order to graduate in four years, you need to take at least 15 credits per semester. Since one course gives you only three credits, you’ll have to take five courses each semester. That’s hours of lectures, studying, preparation for tests, and homework. 

2. The Job You Hold to Support Yourself in College

According to a Georgetown report, around 70% of college students hold either a part-time or full-time job. Since attending college is expensive, you likely work to help pay for tuition, room and board, transportation, and books.

Working more than 35 hours a week can seriously affect your studies. Even if you’re earning credits by going to community college, it’s not easy to handle long working hours plus your studies.

3. Your Spouse and Family

If you’re a married college student with kids, time management becomes nearly impossible. How do you juggle going to college plus changing diapers, setting aside time for date nights, and doing all of your housework? 

So if two or all three of these factors are present in your student life, how do you press on towards graduation? It’s simple. What you needWe’ve prepared is a guide to help you with effective time management.

The Ultimate Guide to Effective Time Management for College Students

The right tips for time management can make your hectic schedule easier to manage. Here are ten ways you can rise over the obstacles and schedule your time for more efficiency. 

1. Choose Your College Schedule Wisely

It’s tempting to choose a loose schedule that allows you free time between each class. However, doing this will make you less efficient. It’s not easy to get into the right vibe when you only have 50 minutes or an hour to study. Also, you’ll need to stay at focused on school longer, limiting your time for other activities.

When picking your college schedule, try to go for back-to-back classes. This way, you’ll be able to lump all of your classes into a few hours in the morning or afternoon. The rest of your time is free, and you can go home to study, relax, or do housework. 

2. Turn Your Schedule Visual

Don’t stuff your schedule into your head. There’s just so much you can remember, and there will likely be times you get caught by surprise by an exam or activity you forgot about.

To avoid this, plan your schedule visually from the start. You can use a planner and get creative with colorful pens and stickers. If you’d rather use your phone or tablet, download a college scheduling app. Don’t wait until the middle of the semester to form your calendar. As soon as the first day of college, get your syllabus, and start marking dates.

3. Create a Routine

Creating a daily routine has its advantages. For one thing, you’ll know what you need to do and when to do it. You’ll be less likely to miss duties or find yourself short on time for an important activity. 

When you create a daily routine, your stress levels go down because you no longer need to make decisions every day. Also, following a routine helps you create good habits. Soon enough, even a packed schedule will feel comfortable as you get used to it.

So plan your week wisely. Wake up at the same time each morning. Set aside time to study and stick to it. Make a schedule for housework, family time, and hobbies and follow it religiously. Sooner than you think, you’ll be less anxious and more efficient with your time.

4. Talk with Your Spouse

If you’ve been buried in schoolwork over the past few weeks, your spouse can feel hurt and neglected. To counter the problem, talk with them about your schedule. Setting aside an evening each week for date night will help strengthen your relationship. During your dates, you can both work on your schedule and figure out how you can evenly divide your time between school and family.

5. Don’t Skip Any Classes

While skipping classes will give you some extra time at first, you’ll find yourself in worse trouble later on. It’s not easy to go over class materials by yourself. The time it takes to cover the subject taken up in class will be longer than the one hour you need to sit through the lecture. 

What’s more, you’ll miss out on the chance to absorb the lesson in the best way. When exams come around, you’ll have a difficult time keeping up with your classmates. 
So no matter how busy you are, make it a point to attend every single one of your classes.

6. Study during the Best Time of the Day

For many, the best time to study is in the morning. After a refreshing night’s sleep, the brain is active and ready for action. Also, studying in the morning is great because the natural light will keep you alert and sharp.

For others, however, studying at night is the better option. Nighttime is quiet and peaceful, making it easy to focus on schoolwork. Students who are parents also find studying at night less difficult because the kids are asleep, and there won’t likely be distractions from them. 

Interested in taking credit-by-exam? Achieve can help you determine your chances of passing and give you guidance that’ll increase your chances of earning those college credits quickly and affordably.

7. Stay Focused as You Study

Staying focused can be hard if your life is full of distractions. However, once you dedicate a certain time to study, make sure you do nothing but study during that time. Here are three great tips that’ll help you make the most out of your study time

1. Find a Quiet, Comfortable Place to Study

The right location will bring out your study vibe. Again, this depends on the type of person you are. Some people prefer a completely silent place, while others like music or a slight bustle in the background. Before you settle down to study, clear your surroundings, and make sure you’re comfortable. 

2. Engage in Focused Studying in Short 20-Minute Bursts

While it seems a good idea to study for two hours straight, you’ll soon feel drained and become less efficient. Instead, it’s better to pour all your energy into 20-minute study sessions. Give your work all your attention. After 20 minutes, take a short break to recharge yourself. Go for a walk, eat a light snack, or talk to someone.

3. Divide Your Work into Small Blocks

When tackling huge tasks, don’t set yourself to take on everything at once. Divide the work into manageable pieces. Set a time limit for each. Every time you complete one small task, reward yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you complete your study goals.

8. Get a Job with a Flexible Schedule

Juggling work and college is hard. However, as a working student, college is still your number one priority. Your job only serves as a way you can support yourself and take care of your expenses as you study.

When you interview with a company, let your boss know the time you’re available to work. It’s a good idea to get your class schedule early, so you can inform him or her when you’ll be free. Don’t overload yourself with more work than you can handle.

9. Don’t Cram Everything into a Few Days of Focused Study

Don’t wait until finals approach to start reviewing material you went over in class. Instead, set a fixed schedule to go over what you learned. Start studying for finals weeks instead of days before the date. When you don’t have to cram, you’ll be more relaxed and enjoy a better study-life balance.

10. Consider Innovative Ways to Earn Credits Faster

If you’re struggling to make it to all your classes because work and family life are crowding out your time, you need an innovative solution to get you out of the rut you’re in. For example, it’s a good idea to consider credit-by-exam.

Credit-by-exam allows you to earn credits without having to take up a course at all. In a few hours, you can earn the three credits you’d normally earn for a whole course (and a whole semester). Here are three kinds of credit-by-exam you can take:  CLEP | UExcel | DSST

Credit-by-exam is also much cheaper than a whole college course. CLEP and UExcel offer exams for $85 each. You can take a DSST exam for $110. 

When you take credit-by-exam, you can eliminate one or two courses from your load. This means extra hours to work, study, and take care of your family. 

Need more information on credit-by-exam and how to pass it? We at Achieve can help you. 

How to Excel with Great Time Management 

You’re in charge of your own time. It’s you who gets to decide whether you’ll end up overwhelmed with your busy schedule, or rise above and achieve great things with your work, study, and family. 

If you ever find yourself lost on the path to graduation, we at Achieve can help you figure out the next step.