In high school, you may have been provided with a list of required school supplies or even asked by your teachers to keep your papers stored in a certain way. College, however, gives you much more freedom in how you keep track of your notes and handouts, and it’s up to you to come up with a system for staying organized. After all, college is all about learning to be more independent!
Whether you prefer spiral notebooks, binders, or even your tablet, the following tips will help you stay on top of your classes as you adjust to your first year of college.
The first step in staying organized with your academics is to come to class with everything you need for success. Remember to bring a laptop or notebook to take notes and a folder or binder to store loose handouts. Being prepared not only means having a way to jot things down. You should be ready to listen and focus for the duration of the class, so get there on time, bring coffee if you need it, and try to get a good night’s sleep. All of this will help you be prepared so you won’t miss anything important said during class.
Create a Note-Taking System
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to taking notes, so figure out your own style. Maybe you prefer pencils over pens or your laptop over a traditional notebook. Make sure you date the notes from each class, and label them with the topic of that week or day so you can easily find them later. Some people like to listen more and write less, while others like to have a balance between the two. It’s a good idea to go over your notes after class to make sure you understand the key points, and you can also exchange notes with a classmate to see if there’s anything you missed.
Buy the Right Supplies
While you may not think it’s necessary to invest in a notebook for every class, don’t skimp on supplies and sacrifice your organization. It’s important to keep your class notes separate so that you have enough space for each set of notes and handouts. It can be especially difficult to find what you’re looking for as you try to study if you use the same notebooks and folders for all your classes.
Take Advantage of your Laptop
Your laptop can be for more than just taking notes. If your professors send you electronic versions of handouts or articles to read, use your laptop in class instead of printing everything out. You’ll save trees, but you’ll also be able to store all your files in one place, making them easier to find and much harder to lose. Many textbooks are also available in digital format. This means no more carrying heavy textbooks around campus or potentially leaving a book somewhere unintentionally.
Keep Track of Questions
One of the smartest things you can do in class is to keep track of things you’re unsure of. Whether it’s something you didn’t understand, want to know more about, or need further clarification on, write down your questions and save them to ask your professor or TA later. Not only does maintaining a list of questions help you keep track of the areas you need to improve upon, but it will help you stay engaged with your coursework.
Remember these tips during freshman year and every year of college, and you’ll find yourself on track to succeed academically!
This post is contributed by Skyo, an online site that helps college students save money with cheap textbooks and flexible rental options.