Changing Lives, Transforming Communities
The tnAchieves Blog

Staying Organized in College

August 25, 2020

Hear tnAchieves students explain the importance of staying organized and how it will help you excel in college!

Staying organized in college is a crucial component to being a successful student! When you are organized you are more productive, waste less time and can easily stay on top of your busy schedule. At the start of each term, your professor will provide a course syllabus. This document will outline all assignments, test dates and other important information about the course. Use your syllabi as a roadmap for the term. Take the time to look ahead and plan accordingly. Here are some action items for starting the semester strong and staying organized!

  • Read through each syllabus entirely.
    Highlight any test dates, due dates for assignments and policies set by the professor. The first day of class is a great time to ask any questions that you have about the course syllabus.
  • Purchase the right planner or calendar for you.
    There are lots of planners out there so pay attention to how they are set up (i.e. daily, monthly, weekly). Check out websites like, and for affordable options.
  • Once you have chosen the right planner or calendar, add all relevant dates and information. Here are some key things to include in your planner:
    1. Important due dates from your syllabus (tests, papers, projects)
    2. Your class times and the method of class (virtual, in-person, hybrid)
    3. Meetings with professors, tutors, advisors and more
    4. Your work schedule
    5. Payment due dates (financial aid, rent, credit card)
    6. Scholarship deadlines and requirements
    7. Holidays and trips
  • Check your planner regularly.
    The most important part about using a planner is to check it and keep it up to date. Make time at the start of each week to add any new items to your planner!
  • Takes notes on everything!
    Color coding can be a great way to keep your notes clear and concise. It can help to have a separate notebook for each course you are taking.
  • Keep a to-do list.
    Writing out your to-do’s for the day or week is a surefire way to stay organized and remember everything you need to do. Keep the list in your planner or on your phone for easy access and editing.
  • Keep your workspace clean.
    If you are taking classes from home, make sure to keep all of your textbooks, notebooks and other school materials tidy. A happy workspace makes for a happy student!
  • Ask for help! 
    If you are struggling with organization, check in with your tnAchieves mentor or coach for guidance. They will be able to help you with tips and tricks for staying organized and having a great term.