How to Plan Your Time in College

Knowing how to plan your time in college can be one of the biggest challenges of your time in school. After all, with so much to do and experience, it can be hard to figure out where and how it will all fit into your schedule. So just where should you start?

1. Print out a weekly schedule.

You can make one yourself using Excel; you can print one out from Google Calendar or something similar; you can download one online. Regardless of what it looks like, make sure this weekly schedule 1) is blank, 2) has 24 hours a day, and 3) has enough room for you to write in small details.

2. Add your academics first.

First and foremost, prioritize your academics. Block off the time you have to be in class, in lab, watching required films, etc. In essence: If you’re required to be somewhere for a class you’re taking, add it to the schedule.

3. Add studying time.

In addition to actually sitting in class, you’ll also need to dedicate some time after class for studying, researching, doing homework, writing, etc. Making sure to allocate enough time per class, mark off study periods during the time your brain works best. (If you write better in the mornings, for example, allocate an hour or two a few days a week to work on papers.) Additionally, do your best to break down those study period into 2 or 3 hour sections instead of, for example, an entire Saturday.

4. Mark off time for your physical needs.

Sometimes, things like exercise and sleep get bumped to the bottom of the priority list during a student’s time in school. These physical needs, however, are incredibly important. Consequently, mark off time in your schedule for enough sleep each night and for at least a few workouts a week.

5. Mark off time for major obligations.

You might have an on-campus job, need to work in your family business, or have other major obligations that must be met on a weekly basis. Make sure to add these into your schedule, too, so that they aren’t forgotten.

6. Add time for your co-curricular involvement.

If you’re involved (or want to be involved) with certain clubs, with Greek life, with student government, or with any other kind of cocurricular commitment, mark off the time you’ll need each week. This can get tricky, as cocurricular involvement can change often, but routine things like club or house meetings usually happen at the same time each week.

7. Add time for your “life” needs.

There are, of course, things you have to do to just keep your overall college life operating smoothly. Consequently, add a little time throughout the week for basic but important tasks like grocery shopping, doing laundry, and managing your budget.

8. Take an overall look at your schedule — and prioritize.

Chances are, after filling out your weekly schedule, you’ll be surprised at just how little extra time you have. And while this exercise can help you see all that you have to get done each week, it can also help you prioritize now and throughout the rest of the semester. With so much to get done and so few hours to accomplish it all, it’s important to do your best each week to meet your obligations while also, of course, letting yourself have some downtime and fun along the way.