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4 Tips for Staying Organized in College

What is the Real Unemployment Rate? One thing about college is guaranteed: When you start, you’re going to be inundated with paperwork, emails, names, phone numbers, and a million other things you’ll never remember. Here’s the good news: You don’t HAVE to remember them, because we’re going to tell you how to stay organized in college.

1.) Keep Hard Copies of Things that Matter

Use a daily planner to keep organizedThis includes (but is not limited to) emails and any work that is submitted online. Technology is great, but it isn’t foolproof. If you email your professor your essay and he notifies you after the due date that he never got it, in addition to forwarding him the email from you “sent” folder, provide him with a hard copy of the email you originally sent.

This is also beneficial to do when you’re dealing with money online. Bank statements, student loan information and receipts, resumés, etc. should all be in your possession in hard copy, in addition to floating around somewhere in your computer.

2.) Organize Important College Paperwork in a File Cabinet

All of that important (and sometimes confidential) paperwork looks fantastic in a messy pile on your computer desk, right? Wrong! It’s also unsafe and could be damaging should you start to lose track of things. Clearly labeled file folders will keep your information secure and organized, just as you need it. This is perfect for receipts, scheduling information, student loan documents, and all of those other hard copies you’re going to start to keep.

3.) Buy a Calendar or Planner—and USE IT!

You may have been able to commit everything to memory back in high school, but college is a totally different game. You’ll have countless classes, study groups, appointments, meetings, important due dates and deadlines to have to remember. Write them down in an orderly fashion. Don’t just scribble it on a sticky note and slap it somewhere you may or may not notice it. Grab your calendar or planner and include the details—time, location, contact person, etc.

4.) Designate a Notebook for Contact Information Only

Get a small spiral-bound notebook and put all contact information in it. That means everything: the names, email addresses, street addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and whatever else for every important person you might need to be able to reach. Keep it with you at all times so that you’re never caught unprepared.

Need some examples of people you’ll want to include? How about your guidance counselor, professors, tutors, resident advisor, and financial aid office to start? There are also campus police, security, the nearest hospital, and on-campus health services. Although we hope you’ll never need these people, emergencies do happen.

Don’t let college eat you alive! It’s way easier to stay organized and tidy from the get-go than have to backtrack halfway through the semester and dig through piles of papers. Do yourself a favor and spend a few hours now getting settled so that you don’t have to spend days later trying to clean up the mess! Spend your time and energy wisely and you’ll eliminate a great deal of stress.

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Author bio: Gloria Pickett writes for educational journals. To learn more about higher education check out TopCollegesOnline.org.

Photo credit: Personal organizer with metallic ring binder by Horia Varlan, on Flickr