Going Back to School: Time Management Tips

Going back to school is an adjustment for virtually everyone. You no longer have time to waste on mindless activities because utilizing your time poorly can severely affect your academic performance. Balancing academics with extracurricular activities is a challenge every student faces, and it makes managing your time effectively a critical skill to learn. Time management is something students of all ages can master with practice and discipline. Below are helpful tips and resources to get you on the right path to becoming a student who can experience all that school and life have to offer because you know how to efficiently manage your time.

Time Management Tools for Students

Making sure your time management and organizational skills are well-honed is key if you’re going to succeed at being a student without becoming overwhelmed. Keeping life balanced without forgetting deadlines or losing too much sleep is vital and there’s a lot of help available to teach you exactly how to do it. Use the tools and tips in this section to assess and improve your ability to prioritize, organize, and work as efficiently as possible.

Organizing Time Guidelines — This slideshow was created for adult learners at Pierce College in Philadelphia, but is available for anyone to view. While accompanying texts are available, they are not necessary to glean plenty of great strategies for time and task management.

Time Management by MindTools — This site is filled with page after page of free articles, advice, and self-tests all designed to help you train your mind to practice better time management skills. The idea is that working as productively as possible will become second nature once your mind has become disciplined enough.

Time Management and Stress Relief Tips From the Mayo Clinic — This is a short and informative article outlining proven tips to help you manage your many obligations – and to keep from feeling overwhelmed by it all.

9 Unconventional and Low-Tech Time Management Tips — This is an excellent article from Forbes Magazine listing some ways you can save time and work smarter that don’t involve downloading, upgrading, or plugging in to anything. These decidedly low-tech solutions may surprise you, especially when you find that they really work..

Helpful Websites and Articles for Nontraditional Students

If you are considering returning to school after a break, there are a lot of things you should take into consideration before starting school in order to make sure that you are making the best use of the time and money you’ll invest in pursuing your degree. From preparing yourself for what student life will be like to figuring out how to keep track of everything, there’s a lot of valuable information to be gained by visiting the following sites.

Adult Learner Survival Guide — This is a comprehensive article filled with advice to help you map out your educational course. By being aware of what kinds of situations and problems you’ll likely encounter, you can develop a strategy to proactively avoid some of the pitfalls of being a non-traditional student. — This site, while still awaiting a much-needed cosmetic makeover, is nevertheless a great place to start if you’re looking for support and advice as a nontraditional student. There are area-specific resource pages and an active community of fellow adult students.

College Preparation Checklist for Adult Students — From the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Aid website, this is a step-by-step list of everything you need to know and do before you go back to school. There are plenty of links to help you find financial aid and search through scholarships you may qualify for.

My School Log — MySchoolLog is an open source website created specifically for college students. It features calculators, schedulers, lists, and other helpful tools for students that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. It is free to use and is constantly being updated by its creators, who welcome user input for performance improvement ideas.

Printables and Downloads

Most information today seems to exist in digital form, but it’s nice to have a real ink-and-paper document to help track goals, tasks, and due dates. In fact, some people just work better this way. In any case, it’s nice to know where to go to get useful – and free – printable trackers, planners, and other helpful pages for busy students.

First Steps — From the University of New South Wales, this site has weekly and monthly planners in pdf form that you can print and fill out. They do have the school’s name and phone number on them but the cells are empty and can be used to help schedule your own tasks – and they are free to use.

Time Management for College Students’ Free Download Center — This site is a giant list of downloadable software designed to help students track and manage their time, and to improve their study skills and test-taking prowess. A great many of them are free, while others require either a software purchase or membership fee. This is a good place to start in researching some time management programs to see which one is right for you.

CollegeRuled — CollegeRuled allows you to create customized color-coded class schedules, which you can print or view from your mobile device for easy, on-the-go access. You can also connect with other friends who use CollegeRuled and see their schedules, too.

Things App for iPad — If you have an iPad, Things is a highly acclaimed app that helps you to consolidate all of your projects for work, school, and family life in one place. Its many features include alerts, tracking, and list-making

Study Skills and Homework Help

It can be easy to underestimate how much homework you’ll be expected to complete over the course of a college career. For every hour you spend in class, you’ll be expected to spend 2-3 more at home or in the library researching, studying, and working on assignments. If it has been awhile since you last hit the books, it’s probably a good idea to brush up on your research, studying, and test-taking skills. — A simple but comprehensive site, Academic Tips is filled with all kinds of resources to help you navigate the world of being a college student after years of living in the “real world.” There are study tips, research paper guides, links to academic format information (like MLA and ALA standards), and even testimonials and inspirational stories from other adult students, educators, and families of nontraditional students.

Study Skills Self Help Information — This collection of excellent resources is supplied by the Cook Counseling Center at Virginia Tech University. While the information was written for students at the school, there are plenty of valuable tools and lots of great information any student – including an interactive “where does time go” quiz that can help you to plan your day for maximum efficiency and productivity.

Study Strategies from UC Berkeley — This page has incredibly helpful guides for students. There are articles to help you improve study habits, test-taking skills, and more. There are guides for each major test type: problem solving, essay style, and objective.

Study Skills for Students — This page offers research-based advice for developing successful study skills to tackle college-level exams. Western Nevada College compiled the information for its students, and it is free for anyone to read.

Ten Steps to Better Web Research from Sweet Search — Since most research today is conducted online, it’s helpful to make sure you know how to get quality, credible information from the internet. This article gives a thorough explanation of how figure out which sources are okay to use for academic purposes, how search engines work, and even some red flags to watch out for when researching for a school project or paper.

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