Whether you have a college student, or a college-bound student, organization to sort through all their assignments is incredibly important to foster college success. I want Kira, my daughter that just started college, to have the right organization tools.
I want her to focus on her studies, not on digging through her backpack trying to figure out what she needs to do, and where all her stuff is.
College success comes with preparation. If your student isn’t of college age yet, you can still introduce some of these tools to help them get acclimated. If you’re homeschooling high school, I still recommend Homeschool Planet above all else and the following list would be supplementary.
I love Evernote for so many reasons. I write all my blog posts in it, keep checklists, menu plans, recipes, web clips, receipts, etc. You can see how I use Evernote as a home management binder replacement, too.
For college students, they can keep their hand written notes (more on that next), web clips, checklists, and share notes with other students who use Evernote easily.
When I first started using Evernote, I didn’t really have much clue what I’d do with it other than to keep some clippings from the web. Now it’s intertwined in many areas of my life!
As my gift to Kira for getting in to college, I gave her a smart pen, hardly knowing what it was when I first started looking for it.
I just wanted something that would keep her notes in a digital format, so she couldn’t lose her notes if a page somehow went missing. I couldn’t believe that you could record the lecture while you’re writing, plus you can click on a word in your notes and replay from that point forward!
In truth, Kira stopped using the pen we gave her because it was a bit bulky, but I think the newest version is thinner (since you use your smartphone as the microphone instead of it being built in), so that’s an option if your student is bothered by that.
Does your student jot down assignments and then forget where they’re kept? Even if they don’t use a smart pen for writing notes in class, they can use a plain notebook (specially made for use with the smart pen, of course) as their college planner, and then all their information is also available on their computer or mobile device. (See full details of specific devices in how they are used)
It seems simple enough, but Google Calendar is so powerful for busy families. Each of us in our family has our own calendar that we share with everyone else. I can see when Kira works, when Hubby has to work from home, when Kira has a competition, and they can see when I have classes.
Since almost everyone has a Gmail account at this point, it makes it easy to send invitations for study sessions, reminders of projects due, and all other college organization needs.
Well Planned Day College Planner
I spent a crazy amount of time looking at planners for Kira when she began college. I wanted something specifically with check boxes, not necessarily a date planner (with times listed for each day). After my hours (and hours) of searching, I decided the Well Planned Day College Planner was the best for her. We aren’t Christian, but the quotes and verses include are more inspirational than doctrine-centered, so the Christian slant was not a deal-breaker for us.
My favorite part of the planner? The schedule breakdown where you are given boxes to add up how many hours you’ll spend on a given activity (homework, classes, work, sleep, etc.). Kira (and many of us) tend to fill up 30 hours in each day, then get stressed out or skip sleep because we are over scheduled. When you write it all out, you can’t go over 24 hours, so you can see quickly how much time you have, and to use that wisely!
When asked what Kira’s best organization tool is, she said it’s the College Planner, above all else.
We are still learning what works and what doesn’t, but now with almost a full semester under her belt (and lots of time prepping before that!), these are the college organizational tools that have been the most useful.