How to Stay Organized in College - Bay Atlantic University - Washington, D.C. (2023)

Table of Contents
  1. Why You Must Stay Organized in College
  2. Tips to Stay Organized in College
    1. Use a calendar
    2. Use to-do lists
    3. Plan realistically
    4. Take notes and digitize them
    5. Organize by class
    6. Plan ahead
    7. Develop a routine/follow a schedule
    8. Declutter your study space
    9. Avoid distractions
    10. Organize your backpack
    11. Reflect on your week and plan for the following
    12. Take care of yourself
  3. Conclusion

College is not easy; that’s no surprise. It is truly a challenge to keep everything on track and balanced while having other responsibilities to take care of besides your studies. Attending lectures, keeping notes, doing homework, writing essays, and having exams are standard student responsibilities. But when there’s too much to fit in in a day, students start suffering from stress. And that happens more than you think. That comes as a result of not knowing how to stay organized in college.

Staying organized all the time is not an easy process, but applying the correct practices and tips will make a difference in your current lifestyle. Let’s learn more about the importance of being organized at college and how you can achieve it.

Why You Must Stay Organized in College

Strong organizational skills allow students to do better in school. Many of you can be good at grasping all the information presented during class, but what fails you is the time you should spend studying afterward. Not being able to prioritize assignments and organize time evenly for each project or simply your physical space is a sign that your organizational skills are failing you.

Being organized in college will help you maintain a healthy mind and body. Imagine how good it would feel not having to worry about a tomorrow-due paper because you did the brainstorming, research, writing, and everything else according to the right schedule. Now you would simply take the time to rest. All of this would be possible if you try to invest time and effort towards becoming more organized.

And most importantly, there is a bright future awaiting you after graduation. You will be thankful for investing effort in becoming more organized because organizational skills will take you as far as you wish. That pretty much answers why you must stay organized in college: for a better future.

Tips to Stay Organized in College

Becoming an organized person takes effort, that’s no doubt. But with the right plan on your hands, it will not feel as daunting as you might think. How do college students organize their day? Well, we have created a detailed list of steps you can take to help you stay organized and ultimately result in a better study journey. If you are still curious about the tips, read on.

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Use a calendar

How to Stay Organized in College - Bay Atlantic University - Washington, D.C. (1)

Students have a life outside their studies. There are family, friends, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and many other things you need to keep up with. And it becomes hectic when you don’t know what and when you should do something. There’s where the calendar comes in handy. You can use apps or online calendars such as Google Calendars or simply write everything down. Either way, it will free up so much space in your head.

Things you can add to your calendar are:

  • Classes
  • Work
  • Study time
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Meetings with friends
  • Meetings with colleagues (when you have projects)

Having a calendar does not indicate that you shouldn’t and can’t be spontaneous, but it will give you a clearer view of when you should do things. And, as you proceed with your days, you can delete or add events to your liking.

Use to-do lists

How to Stay Organized in College - Bay Atlantic University - Washington, D.C. (2)

If you are ready to take things to another level, then using a to-do list will be the perfect second step. To-do lists are good for managing daily tasks. You can either prepare a to-do list a day ahead or right after you wake up.

Again, many digital apps can help you keep track of tasks, or you can use your notebook. Whatever you choose, make sure to put a tick on the box after each completed task. This will help you get more control over your life, and you will feel a sense of achievement throughout the day.

Plan realistically

We know how good it feels to have every event and task written down, ready for us to complete, but sometimes we get carried away and keep adding more to our list than we can handle. This is a mistake you should avoid. Take your time and think before adding to your calendar or to-do list.

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Let’s say you have your to-do list ready and filled with tasks, but have you planned everything realistically? Did you write down “wake up at 7am and do homework”? If you are a morning person, that will work, but if you’re a night owl, you should stay away from putting such a goal when you know you will be up late. Instead, schedule your homework at night. This way, your late nights will have a purpose, and you don’t have to worry about homework when you wake up.

Take notes and digitize them

Note-taking is an essential skill in itself. Knowing how to take notes and keep them organized will save you so much time during revisions and finals. More specifically, digitalizing your notes will make your life simpler.

Sometimes reading your handwriting or going through pages to find something important becomes challenging. To make the most of your notes, you should digitize them and make them searchable. When you digitize them, you can simply search by keywords. Additionally, it is easier to carry them with you anywhere.

Organize by class

How to Stay Organized in College - Bay Atlantic University - Washington, D.C. (3)

There are many ways to organize your studying materials, and one of the best tips is to do it by arranging everything by class. You can use binders and separate each subject of each class by color.

And if you don’t like carrying binders around, you can create folders on your computer, name everything accordingly, and add your notes or sheets.

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Plan ahead

Those interested in becoming organized students should know that planning ahead is the key to staying organized. Planning for the next day is one of the most important things you can ever do. By identifying your plans early, you can put measures into place and change them along the way to help you reach the lifestyle you want.

An example that would make a change is to read the syllabus your professor provides on the first day. If you read it, you will have an idea of what will be covered in each lecture, and you can go prepared.

Develop a routine/follow a schedule

When integrating any tips to stay organized mentioned in this article, remember that consistency matters to succeed. Implementing some actions to stay organized one day and not keeping them up for weeks won’t get you anywhere. Planning ahead, having calendars, to-do lists, or digitizing notes are all helpful if you stick to a schedule and integrate those habits into your daily life.

Declutter your study space

How to Stay Organized in College - Bay Atlantic University - Washington, D.C. (4)

Most of the time, we hear people say that they get the urge to tidy up instead of study. That is because the untidy place calls for unfinished work, making it almost impossible to focus on other tasks, such as schoolwork. So, go ahead and try decluttering your study space from time to time. Clean and tidy study spaces will most certainly make you feel more productive.

Avoid distractions

Almost everything will get between you and the study session when you don’t feel like studying. Therefore, you should schedule a studying session when you are done checking emails, social media, or watching your favorite TV show. You don’t necessarily have to block yourself out of the world to study, but try to minimize using electronic devices when studying.

Organize your backpack

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Sort your school materials according to how often you use them.

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You can place smaller materials that you frequently use in the outside pocket of your bag. Then, beginning from the bottom up, stack your books, notebooks, and all your school materials according to how frequently you use them.

Of course, you won’t be able to sort everything in the right order if you are running late; therefore, keep in mind to organize your backpack the day before class.

Reflect on your week and plan for the following

Weekly reflections are an excellent method to look back on your week and consider what was learned, how you succeeded, what difficulties you had, and what goals you would like to set going forward. Weekly reflections allow you to drive and take charge of their education.

Remember that even if some tips didn’t work out the way you wanted them to, you could try new things out.

Take care of yourself

Don’t be hard on yourself. Make some time for yourself, relax, eat your favorite food or go for a walk. Find ways to reduce stress. Schedule time on your calendar for friends and family; it will help take your mind off school work and make you feel more relaxed. Remember that taking care of your mental and physical health comes first.

And if some of the tips above don’t work for you, you can always try out new methods. Don’t limit yourself.


Being disorganized in college might be dangerous. You risk misplacing important notes, forgetting classes, scheduling incorrectly, and suffering from an untidy workspace if you lack the necessary organizing abilities. But with the tips we have provided in this article, you will most certainly succeed in becoming a more organized student.

Planning things ahead will make your studying journey much easier, and you will be better prepared for work life.



What is the best way to stay organized in college? ›

10 Tips to Stay Organized in College
  1. Set up a calendar. Calendars are the perfect tool to organize everything and to help you manage your time as a student. ...
  2. Use to-do lists. ...
  3. Stick to a “realistic” schedule. ...
  4. Keep your notes organized–digitize.
Aug 2, 2022

How do I organize my college schedule? ›

General Scheduling Tips
  1. Research Your Classes and Professors.
  2. You Can Make Changes and Get Help.
  3. Schedule Classes With the Rest of the Week in Mind.
  4. Make Time for Yourself.
  5. Calculate Distance.
  6. Don't Forget to Plan for Finals.
  7. Happy With Your Schedule or Not, Connect.

Why is it important to stay organized in college? ›

The importance of organization not only reduces stress levels, but it also helps you save time, achieve success, and enjoy a clutter-free zone both within your physical environment and your mind. There are a variety of ways to stay organized as a student, and different tips will work for different people.

How do you stay organized? ›

Here are eight organizational tips that will help you reach your long-term goals at work.
  1. Focus on what's important. ...
  2. Make lists. ...
  3. Manage your time well. ...
  4. Use calendars and planners. ...
  5. Delegate tasks. ...
  6. Manage your mail and phone calls. ...
  7. Reduce clutter. ...
  8. Stay organized.

What are 5 ways to stay organized? ›

Consider the following ways to stay organized at work:
  1. Set goals. Achievable goals can help you stay focused and productive. ...
  2. Track progress. ...
  3. Use an agenda. ...
  4. Create to-do lists. ...
  5. Practice accountability. ...
  6. Limit distractions. ...
  7. Incorporate a timer. ...
  8. Keep a clean environment.
Sep 29, 2021

How do students stay organized? ›

Get Organized
  1. Organize your stuff. Everything is easier when you're organized. ...
  2. Organize your space. You need a good workspace — someplace quiet enough to focus. ...
  3. Organize your time. Use a planner or planning app to keep track of your schoolwork: ...
  4. Avoid distractions. ...
  5. Take breaks. ...
  6. Refocus yourself. ...
  7. Get started. ...
  8. Keep going.

What is the daily routine of a college student? ›

In many universities and colleges, the daily routine of a student is packed with classes, study time, campus jobs or an internship, spending time with friends, meals, extracurriculars, and more.

Why is being organized an important skill? ›

Organizational skills help you focus your time, effort, and resources on work that matters. Organizational skills also help to keep all stakeholders on track to meet shared goals. By doing so, you're not holding back team members from making progress on their deliverables.

What does it mean for a student to be organized? ›

Being an organized student means more than knowing where your materials are. It also involves developing a structured plan and detailed strategies for each of your classes. It means preparing for each exam in advance so you are not hurriedly reviewing the evening before.

What are the 3 S's needed to get organized? ›

Think of the three S's: supplies, space and same time. This means getting the right supplies ahead of time, keeping them around where they are easily accessible, maintaining a clean and organized work space, and checking your “to do” list or calendar at the same time each day.

What do college students do in first day? ›

The first day of class is usually a syllabus review day. You will probably receive a syllabus with important deadlines, assignments, professor office hours and textbook requirements. Keep your syllabus in a safe place as you will likely refer to this more than once.

How many hours a day do college students spend in class? ›

According to one survey conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement, most college students spend an average of 10–13 hours/week studying, or less than 2 hours/day and less than half of what is expected. Only about 11% of students spend more than 25 hours/week on schoolwork.

How many hours a day should a college student study? ›

The general rule of thumb regarding college studying is, that for each class, students should spend approximately 2-3 hours of study time for each hour that they spend in class.

What does a full-time student schedule look like? ›

“Full-time,” in this context, usually means a schedule of 12 or more semester or quarter hours. But if “full-time” is the number of credits it takes to complete a bachelor's degree in four years (eight semesters) or an associate degree in two years (four semesters), then 15 is the number required to be on track.

Is it better to take college classes in the morning or afternoon? ›

The time of day to take your college classes can impact your grade. Research shows that most students perform better in early afternoon classes. Students should individualize their class schedule based on their chronotype and habits. Students who plan out their schedule can help optimize their productivity.

Do you pick your own schedule in college? ›

As a college student, you have the freedom to create your own class schedule every semester. Once you've chosen a major, you can decide how quickly to complete the required courses, which electives to take, how early to start your classes each day, and when to leave yourself time for your personal life.

What makes a person organized? ›

The typical organized person is neat, prompt, and detail-oriented. They tend to show up to meetings on time (or five minutes early). They're able to keep track of complicated systems and large amounts of data.

Can you learn to be organized? ›

Being organized is a skill, and some of us are naturally more organized than others. But the good news is that organizational skills can be learned and developed. The more you practice good organization, the easier it will become as you start to establish new habits.

Why is it important to keep things organized? ›

For students, being organized is particularly important since it helps them learn how to prioritize activities, set and achieve goals and reduce stress. Having good organizational skills also makes it easier to collaborate with others and helps increase productivity and efficiency.

What is an example of being organized? ›

Examples of physical organization skills are keeping track of items as they're used, returning items to their places after use, and creating and developing sensible strategies and physical solutions for facilitating work flow, cleanliness, and efficiency in a work space.

What skills do you use to stay organized? ›

Some of the most important organizational skills include time management, physical and mental organization, and self-motivation. No matter where you work, being able to manage your time effectively and keep track of important documents and records will set your boss's mind at ease and set up your career for success.

What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized? ›

4 Techniques to Keep You Organized
  • Make lists. Writing everything down that's on your agenda for the day or week is a great way to prioritize everything you have to get done. ...
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Ever find it hard to concentrate when clutter surrounds you? ...
  • Learn to Manage Responsibilities. ...
  • Download an app.

Why do students struggle with organization? ›

Stress, anxiety, and trauma can also play a role. But as kids get older, the main cause of organization problems is trouble with executive function. This group of mental skills allows us to organize, plan, focus, and prioritize. People with ADHD typically struggle with executive functioning skills.

How can you improve your study skills? ›

10 Steps to Improve Your Study Skills
  1. Behavior modification can work for you. ...
  2. Do not study more than an hour at a time without taking a break. ...
  3. Separate the study of subjects that are alike. ...
  4. Do not study when you are tired. ...
  5. Prepare for your class at the best time. ...
  6. Use the best note-taking system for you.

Do organized students do better? ›

Organising their work, both in and out of school, will help children to develop time management skills such as learning how to prioritise tasks and deciding on the duration of each activity.

How important is it to remain organized in preparing for and registering for classes in college? ›

You feel less stressed. Generally, when your assignments and key dates are outlined for each class, you're better able to prepare and allocate your time accordingly, leaving you less stressed. When you're less stressed, you are able to focus your energy and attention on more important things… like studying!

How do I organize my day to be productive? ›

15 tips for how to organize your day at work
  1. Keep a to-do list. ...
  2. Keep a tidy workspace. ...
  3. Find a schedule and stay with it. ...
  4. Take breaks. ...
  5. Reduce multitasking. ...
  6. Identify distractions. ...
  7. Automate your job where you can. ...
  8. Tackle tasks in order of importance.
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