Tips for how to make a college schedule

College dorm life, academics and social life collide for college students, so it’s often difficult to keep it all organized. Unless you lived at a boarding school during high school, coming to college and living on campus is going to be a big change for you.

A simple way to organize your schedule. (Credit: Preppy Premed)

A simple way to organize your schedule. (Credit: Preppy Premed)

Here are some tips on how to make a college schedule to keep your college life structured and easy to keep track of. There are several college apps that can help.

Freedom brings temptation

At college I was tempted by the new freedom I had, which meant I could easily stray if I wasn’t careful. I could eat at the café any time I wanted, go back to the dorm to take a nap, watch a basketball game, hang out with friends on the quad or go off campus. I knew that I wasn’t getting a consistent amount of sleep each night (mostly too little), and I was eating at odd hours. Classes weren’t offered every day at the same time, like in high school. No wonder it’s hard to know what you’re doing at any given time.

Why make a schedule?

A schedule keeps you focused on what’s important and gives you a consistent program to follow. A predictable schedule of meal times, classes, studying, exercise, part-time job, sleeping and free-time will help you function more effectively. “Some people may see scheduling their time as constricting, when in reality it provides a sense of freedom. Knowing what you have to do and when you will accomplish it, allows you to know that you will be able to get everything done. You can now enjoy your down time without feeling guilty!” assured a writer at Oberlin College in “How to Make a Schedule.”

Value of a making a schedule

According to Michelle Hattan, a student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, posted in “A Day in the Life of a College Student” by Katie McKoon on College Xpress, “Doing homework until midnight is not exceptionally glamorous or easy, but I love what I do and all that I learn. The best and worst part of college is the flexibility it offers. You are able to choose everything: your classes, extracurricular activities, friends, etc. A great deal of responsibility and time management is needed, but with a bit of planning and coffee you can be very successful.”

Sample schedule

Here is a broad example of a schedule you might want to write up for your day. Your experiences will vary, so feel free to tweak this schedule to fit your needs.

7:00 a.m. Get up.

7:15 a.m. Jog around campus or go to the gym.

8:00 a.m. Shower.

8:30 a.m. Breakfast in the cafeteria.

9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Intro to Chemistry class.

11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Library for studying or research.

12:30 p.m. Lunch with a friend.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Accounting class.

2:00 p.m. Meet with professor for extra help.

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. English Literature class.

4:00 – 6:30 p.m. Work-study job in the bookstore.

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Dinner with friends and hang out at dorm.

7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Music or sports practice.

9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Study at the library or dorm.

Apps that can help

Having trouble making a schedule? Laura Tucker offered tips on how to find the right app for your smartphone in the article “Top Time Management Apps for Students in 2015,” posted on on January 2, 2015. These three college apps specifically can help you organize your academic schedule, work schedule and social life.

  • Timeful – Both a calendar and a to do list, this app tracks your usage to make suggestions that will improve your productivity.
  • Focus Booster – This online app helps you break your schedule into chunks to manage it better.
  • Google Keep – If you’re already a Google user, this pin-board style app can draw information from your Google account to help you get organized.

If you made a schedule, would you stick to it faithfully?

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