One of the biggest changes you will face going from high school to college is a schedule that allows you more freedom than ever before. This also coincides with one of the biggest challenges you’ll face, which is how to manage and adapt to a schedule that doesn’t necessarily hold you as accountable anymore. With good planning and time management, you can successfully make this transition.
In high school, students typically have 7 classes each day for approximately 45 – 50 minutes. You may get homework assignments each night, as well as multiple assessments and opportunities to earn your grade. College can be quite a bit different. Students typically take on average 15 course hours each semester, which is about 5 classes. Classes typically meet Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays for about an hour or Tuesdays and Thursdays for longer. Students may have only 2 -3 classes each day, but they are expected to read, study, and complete assignments in-between. Homework does not always count towards the final grade, and students may only be assessed on a few papers and a few tests to earn their semester grade. This can be quite shocking to students that rely on homework to boost their grades, so it is very important that you spend time preparing and studying on a regular basis. Usually the professor will lay out all the course requirements and due dates in the syllabus that you receive on the first day of class.
The first thing you should do, after receiving your syllabuses for each class, is write all the due dates for assignments and test dates in your planner. Make note of deadlines, especially those around midterms and final exams, as these are busy times when you will need to plan for studying. Using the planner to “backwards plan” can help you spread out the work. If you have three papers due in one week, but nothing due for three weeks before, it will help to space out the papers and finish some early so you have time to complete all the assignments on time. It is also important to keep up with reading and notetaking, as it will be nearly impossible to cram everything in right before a test.
Also, keep in mind that you do have more flexibility with your schedule in college. Maybe you are a night person that thrives on after-midnight study sessions in your dorm room. Maybe you are an early riser that prefers to study in the library. Maybe you prefer to grab a snack at the cafeteria and study in the afternoon. Whatever works best for you is fine, as long as you are giving yourself ample time each week to meet your deadlines.